Substitutes for Lunges

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    Substitutes for Lunges

    Hello!

    I'm on Day 5 of Hero's Journey and it's leg day. Trick is, I have bad knees and they've been acting up over the last month or so. I actually had to stop 30 Days of Strength because of it. Typically, it's the lunges that do me in. I hear a sound that's kind of like crinkling plastic as my joints pop, it takes one or two sets to actually be able to lunge with good form, and I start hurting the day after. I'm looking to replace lunges in general for a while and am looking for suggestions. This day in particular has lunges, jumping lunges, and side lunges. Squats don't seem to bother me as much, so I was thinking of just subbing in those. The Exercise Alternatives page doesn't have a section on lunges, so I'm not sure if straight squats are going to hit my body the way the program is looking for. What would you replace a lunge with?

    #2
    Lunges target the glutes and quads, as do squats. So, if you are comfortable with squats, go ahead and substitute. Just make sure to maintain good form, because bad squats can damage the knees too. You could try lunge degressions like archer-lunges. For a more explosive substitute you could try box-jumps (with a moderate height box) or box-step-ons (not so explosive, but they still bring something to the table) and see how your knees get along with those.

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      #3
      I personally do the lunges with yoga blocks in hand, so that I don't land on the knee (which is the main danger for me if I lose control of the down motion) ; so far so good. And yeah, quats - same thing, if there are enough squats in a workout, I put a yoga block between my knees to make sure to activate my quads. Hope those adaptations help you!

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        #4
        Thank you both for the advice! It sounds like squat variants might be my thing (no large box to jump on).

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          #5
          If we have squats then lunges, is it good to just double the squats, or another variation could be done? Asking for me..!

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            #6
            As an inbetween, reverse lunges are easier on knees than forward.

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              #7
              Also - there is no shame in holding onto a chair or stick for balance during lunges, as long as you are not pushing against it instead of using your glutes and quads to stand up. I also have TERRIBLE knees and I find having something to aid my balance really helps - even if it is just holding my finger on top of the chair next to me.

              For awhile I was taking functional fitness classes and we used sledge hammers a lot. There was one move where we would start the hammer over our head (one hand near the head of the hammer and the other further down the handle) and swing down into a lunge. The move looked a little like paddling a canoe (unfortunately I can't find an example online that fully matched what we would do). But that was the EASIEST I have ever found lunges - I think having the hammer as a counterweight was really beneficial.

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                #8
                There's a youtube video called bulletproof knees in which a guy (very fit) describes the workout he did to overcome patellar tendonitis and a torn meniscus. I'm 53 years old. I included his routine in my pre-ski workout for the last 6 weeks. It's been brilliant. No more pain with squats or lunges. You just enter a name and email...

                https://www.strengthside.com/bulletproof-knees

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                  #9
                  Here's a link to the Bulletproof Knees Youtube version (lite version)

                  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9B...?pbjreload=101

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