Lunges are often left out of strength and hypertrophy programs because they’ve gotten a reputation for being lower back and knee killers. The non-alternating walking lunge with pauses at the bottom usually results in more pain-free training, less pissed off joints, and more size gains:
Walking Lunge with Pause, Non-Alternating
- While this movement can absolutely be loaded heavy, be careful not to lose the feel of it as the dumbbells get heavy.
- Stay strict on your tempo and technique for sets of 8-12 reps with pauses, and don’t forget to train both sides equally.
- Lead with your weaker leg first, then finish off each set with your more dominant side.
The goal here is to train unilaterally and get a metabolic stress-based pump in the lower body while sparing the knees. So another method we can use is adding short pauses at the bottom of each rep.
Don’t rest your back knee on the floor, but rather hover over the floor with full tension for a half second before driving up with the front leg, lead by the glutes and hamstrings.
Why Not Alternate Legs?
While the forward lunge theoretically places more of an emphasis on the quads (due to the more vertical torso angle), this isn’t necessarily a good thing when it comes to longevity. More quad emphasis usually leads to more external loading and more front-sided knee pain, especially with harsh changes of directions in and out of the bottom position.
Why? Because it leads to momentum and compensation. You can limit this by using a non-alternating step pattern. It places constant muscular tension on the lead leg.