Last week I showed Landmine Reverse Lunges as a knee-friendly lunge variation.
I like that exercise quite a bit, but I think it might be even better (and knee friendlier) adding in the Valslides or a slideboard to the reverse lunges.
Whichever hand you hand the barbell in, that leg goes back. Like this:
If you watch the video, you’ll notice that the shin of my front leg hardly moves at all during the set, which takes a lot of pressure off the knee.
You’ll also notice that I’m able to slide WAYYYY back—further than I can step in a regular reverse lunge—which increases the recruitment of the posterior chain and again limits stress on the knee. That’s possible because the barbell helps to serve as a counterbalance.
Furthermore, you’ll notice that there isn’t as much knee flexion in the rear leg as there is with a regular lunge, which again is good for folks with knee pain because often it’s the rear leg that’s painful.
At the same time, the offset contralateral loading forces the glute to work harder (my glutes were fried after doing these) while you also build core stability and grip strength.
So basically, there’s a lot of good things happening.
Do the reps slowly and under control and make sure you’re keeping your shoulders level and not dipping to one side. When you reach the bottom position, think about pulling through the glute of the front leg rather than pushing through the quad.
I don’t like loading the bar too heavily (I use just one plate), but if you have weighted vests you can wear those to make it tougher. That being said, it’s actually quite difficult as is, so bear that in mind.
If you’ve been experiencing knee pain from regular lunges or want an exercise that really emphasizes the glutes, this is definitely worth a try.
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