For enhancing lower-body strength, power, and stability, it’s tough to beat the lunge. Between the forward lunge, curtsy lunge, reverse lunge, and a handful of other iterations, there are enough versions of this always-tough move to challenge beginners and gym vets alike. Want to really turn up the intensity? There’s no better choice than the running lunge.
“Adding a single-leg vertical jump to the reverse lunge makes the classic strength exercise more challenging,” says Openfit Director of Fitness and Nutrition Content Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S. “A running lunge also gives the exercise a plyometric element that can help build explosive power.”
As its name suggests, the running lunge makes an ideal warm-up move for runners, helping strengthen key muscles like glutes and quads while improving single-leg balance and lengthening stride. All of which helps you run faster and more efficiently.
But even if you don’t run regularly, running lunges are a great go-to move for your workout mix. Here’s how to do them safely and effectively.
How to Do a Running Lunge
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Keeping your chest up, step back with your right leg into a reverse lunge. Your left thigh should be parallel to the floor, knees bent 90 degrees, right knee hovering an inch or two above the floor.
- Simultaneous with the reverse lunge, bend your arms at the elbows, raising your right arm in front of you and your left arm behind you in a runner’s pose. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your back straight, shoulders back, and core engaged, drive through the ball of your left foot to jump straight up as you pump your left arm forward and your right arm back, raising your right knee to at least hip height.
- Land softly on your left foot, immediately returning to the starting position to begin your next rep.
- Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other leg, performing equal reps on each.
How to Make the Running Lunge Easier
If you have a knee injury or you want to focus on form, take the jump out of the move, advises Thieme.
“Instead of jumping, simply come up into a high-knee position,” he says. “You’ll still build power, but without as much impact on your joints, especially your knees.”
Other modifications may include dropping into a shallower lunge, and pausing between each rep.
How to Make the Running Lunge Harder
If you’re looking to increase intensity, increase reps and/or tempo. You can also bring your knee higher at the top of the move.