How to do a Perfect Lunge – Guaranteed!

Perfect Form Lunges – “The Paper Plate Technique”

Lunges. We hate them. We love them. We do them wrong the vast majority of the time.

To really nail that lunge, there are three things you’ll have to check-off the “lunge perfection” list. If you can do all three actions when in the down phase of the lunge (not while you’re standing with legs straight- that’s cheating!), I’d bet my bottom dollar that your form is simply fantastic.

  1. You can lift up your toes.
    1. All of your weight should be in the heel of your front foot, not your toes or back foot. You get the most out of the exercise because it really targets your hamstring (back of the leg) and glute (the booty) muscles. If you’re going to do the exercise, make sure you are truly working those muscles! So, if all the weight is in the front heel, you should be able to lift your front toes. Test it. If you can’t, push your hips towards the back of the room, causing more weight to be transferred into the heel. This takes some practice to really get a feel for it, but you WILL be able to do it.
  2. You can see the tip of your shoe.
    1. When doing a lunge, the knee should not extend beyond your front foot. Too much weight is being pushed forwards instead of transferred evenly and then targeted in the front heel. Ideally, if you have a mirror, look and make sure the knee is over the ankle. This protects your joint by alleviating pressure. Your knee shouldn’t be doing all of the work. That’s what causes injuries. Now, there is a lot of debate about whether you should be able to see your shoelaces or the tip of your shoe. I personally have found that if I can see my shoelaces, I’m leaning my torso forward too far, which puts pressure on my back. But, for those people who are very tall or have a long torso, looking for those shoelaces could be the way to go. My best advice is to do what feels comfortable for you and look at the side view of your lunge in the mirror to make sure the knee isn’t our over your toes.
  3. You can see both feet in the mirror.
    1. Don’t want one foot directly behind the other. You want a stable base so that you can lift your toes and see your shoelaces. Without a stable base, these can be compromised because you are putting too much weight into the front foot to try and balance/prevent from tipping. I tell people to pretend they are standing on railroad tracks with one foot on each side of the track.

Special secret tip: The Paper Plate Technique

Watch my video below where I explain each of the three key components of a perfect lunge and how to effectively use the paper plate technique!

A great way to practice perfect lunges is by using a paper plate. I know it sounds odd; but let me explain. Take a paper plate and put 2 pieces of duct tape, gorilla tape, or athletic tape right in the middle to make a “+” sign. With one leg, step onto the plate with the ball of your foot. The heel should be off the plate. From a standing position, push the plate back. It’s just as if you were stepping back into a lunge, except you’re sliding instead of stepping. Feet are still on railroad tracks. Keep pushing the plate back until you can see the tip of your forward shoe (or shoelaces if you’re tall), but making sure you’re not leaning over and throwing weight into your back. All of your weight is in the forward HEEL. Keep your core tight! If you’ve pushed the plate far enough back, can see the tip of your shoe, and feel that all of your weight is in your forward heel, lift up your toes. Can you lift them off the floor without losing balance? If you can, then you know your weight is distributed correctly and that your knee is over your ankle at a 90 degree angle. Using the plate technique is so great for practicing form, but it also optimizes your workout by targeting those key muscle groups, the glutes and hamstrings. These muscles really work hard because the plate forces them to!

Click on the video to watch me demonstrate and teach all three key components of a perfect lunge and how to do the paper plate technique TODAY, right in your family room! Get to workin’ it!

Yours in health & resiliency,

~Dana

Nutrition is the King. Exercise is Just a Pawn.

  • Some people think exercising for three hours a day will get them the body they want. First of all, who has the time to do that? Second, if the person goes home and eats a large pepperoni pizza, that workout was sort of a waste of three hours.

  • If you want to lose weight, tone your body, and create definition, nutrition is key. 80% of your physique is dependent upon your nutrition, and only 20% is dependent on exercise. So, no matter how many hours of exercise you pack into one day, it’s still not going to dismantle the harmful effects of a poor diet.

 Think about it this way:

  • Your physique will look like and your body will feel like the food you consume. So, if you want to look like an egg roll, greasy pizza, or one of those KFC fried chicken sandwiches, go right ahead. But, keep in mind the ramifications poor nutrition has on your body, your confidence, self-esteem, and overall wellness. If, in a day, you make a healthy choice 8/10 times, you are on the right track. I think that is a reasonable goal, don’t you?

A Report Card You Don’t Want to Bring Home

The very first U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth was recently released, and let’s just say the grades weren’t something you’d want to show your parents. Overall, the grade for “overall physical activity” was a D-, a barely passing grade. Four out of the ten categories were given “incompletes,” indicating there wasn’t even enough data to give a grade. The report card stated that only 24.8 percent of 12-15 year-olds get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day. A “D” was given for “sedentary behaviors.” To me, this wasn’t really a huge shock. But, the fact that kids between the ages of 6-19 spend 424 minutes EACH DAY sitting was utterly startling. After spending so many years as a school psychologist, it makes me wonder if there is a correlation between this and the number of students diagnosed with ADHD? Maybe they’re just not given enough time to MOVE! So what happens? They act out, can’t sit down, and can’t focus. With the constant barrage of information they are hit with day after day, that lack of movement makes it difficult to learn and retain information. But, that’s a whole other blog post (or a book 😉 ).

 

Children and youth spend over 7 hours per day engaged in sedentary activities, and children become more sedentary as they get older. No wonder the report card grade for “sedentary behaviors” was a D. The only plus I saw on the report card was that more elementary schools, since 2010, are requiring physical education classes. However, that is at the elementary level, not high school. PE is still not a requirement for all four years in the vast majority of high schools. Fewer kids are walking or biking to and from school. Most either ride the bus or are picked up and dropped off.

 

The report card gave an incomplete in the area of “active play”- the proportion of U.S. children and youth participating in daily unstructured, unorganized active play. I think there is an incomplete in this area because they know the data collected would be unbelievably terrifying. How many kids and teens do you see outside engaging in active play with peers? There are barely any. Why? Well, because they can play Xbox games with friends while sitting on the couch! There’s really no need to walk down the street to see a friend when there’s Face Time, texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and they can communicate with dozens of friends at once, right in the convenience of their own home.

 

I don’t know when playing stopped being fun. Isn’t that the meaning behind the word “play?” Adults, we are doing such a disservice to our kids. This needs to end NOW. We need to step it up and stop taking the easy way out. 17 year-old teens are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. One-third of children are now considered overweight or obese. If they are overweight or obese as children, what is going to happen to them as adults? Then, the pattern will continue with the next generation, and the next, and the next. Bottom line, we as adults are the ones that need to change the fate of our kids and teens. Now is the time.

 

 

Energy Is A Decision

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“No one has ever drowned in their own sweat”- probably one of my favorite workout tanks 😉 It reminds me to push harder and that I can always do more. I’m not going to stop just because I’m tired or think it’s hard. You won’t “drown” working out, listen to that inner voice that says you can do it. See. I’ve learned that you choose how to speak to yourself and you have the power to say to yourself “I’m not tired, I can do this; I’ve never felt so strong; I’m amazing and I’ve got this!” Your brain is a powerful, and whatever you tell yourself mentally reflects what you do physically. If you say you can’t, you won’t. If you decide to tell yourself you are unstoppable, your body will believe you. So what will you decide to tell your body today? 🙂 ….. Your mind is a brilliant teacher, so listen, and do what that positive inner voice says. It has a more powerful impact on your life than you could ever imagine. In order to adopt new habits, a new normal, the brain has to be rewired. It’s simpler than you think, but you have to give your brain the positive fuel it needs to power your body and ignite your soul. That’s how change happens, for life. ❤️www.resiliencyfitness.wordpress.com❤️

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