The Best Lunges for Runners


When it comes to running, not all lunges are equal.

As a physical therapist, I typically find that runners bias themselves to the standard lunge. The one where they step forward and drop the back knee to the ground.

While the standard lunge has its place, there’s a far better way for runners.

Using a runner-specific lunge allows runners to turn on their glutes, protect their knees, and use an exercise that will directly help them fix & prevent injuries.

If you’re looking to run injury-free, then give these lunges a try!

Twisting Lunge

Drop into a lunge with your right knee forward and your left leg back. Bend the back knee some but keep the leg mostly straight. This position looks more like running than the traditional lunge.

Holding your arms at your chest, twist toward the right as you drop down into the lunge. Return to a standing position facing forward. This lunge will really loosen your spine and hips.

Do 10 on each side. You can alternate sides, or do all one side, then the other. Want to make it harder? Try holding a medicine ball.

Overhead Reaching Lunge

Drop into a lunge again, keeping your back leg mostly straight. As you bend your right knee, reach over your head to your right side with your left arm. You’ll feel the lengthening through your trunk.

Double Overhead Reaching Lunge

Put your hands together and reach them over your head between your shoulder blades as you lunge. Bring your arms back down with hands still together as you return to a standing position.

This is particularly good for runners who feel stiff through the mid-back or tend to slouch. It really works on your shoulder mobility and loosening your spine.

Key Takeaway

If you want to fix & prevent injuries, traditional lunges won’t get you there. Instead, try the runner-specific versions above and start running & feeling your best.

Doing these lunge variations will loosen your spine and hips so you stay flexible and injury-free!

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