Last updated on November 3rd, 2022 at 04:47 pm
Anyone else who can’t balance when doing lunges?
If so, don’t worry you’re definitely not alone.
In fact, a lack of balance is probably the most common complaint about lunges.
We all know that lunges are a fantastic exercise, but they don’t feel so great when you have an inability to stand up.
So, allow me to explain the main reasons why you’re unable to balance during lunges, and how to fix these issues.
Can’t Balance When Doing Lunges
The most common reason you can’t balance when doing lunges is because you haven’t engaged your core. You provide the body (as a whole) additional stability by doing this. An inability to balance during lunges could also point to a muscle weakness, most specifically the gluteus medius, or the transverse abdominals, or even both.
1. Ensure You Keep Your Core Tight
Regardless of the exercise, I always feel that you should engage your core when performing any movement.
In fact, I’ll go as far to say that many of us could have a much better looking midsection (without the need for ab-specific exercises) if we kept our core tight during every exercise.
This is even a great way to avoid injury with a wide variety of movements.
Keeping your core tight is probably even more important whenever you perform single-limb exercises, whether using your arms or legs.
Basically, you will have some form of instability whenever you do a single-limb exercise
So, even though lunges are predominantly a leg exercise, your core is also getting a pretty good workout.
Therefore, by activating and tightening your core during lunges you will in effect be providing more stability to the movement.
2. You Have Weak Gluteus Medius Muscles
Muscle weaknesses can often impact your balance during lunges.
One of the major muscles that can affect your lunge form is the gluteus medius.
The gluteus medius is located in the posterior hip and on the outer surface of the pelvis.
It’s primary function is during hip abduction, while it also has a role in rotation and flexion of the hip joint.
You may initially think that there isn’t much in the way of hip flexion, rotation, and abduction during lunges.
However, the gluteus medius definitely plays an important part during lunges.
Basically, the gluteus medius prevents the opposite side of the pelvis (to the leg bearing the weight) from dropping.
So, if a weakness in this area is forcing one side of the pelvis to drop it’s easier to understand why balance is such an issue.
The exact same principle is applied whenever you walk or run.
The gluteus medius also happens to be a muscle that doesn’t get much of a look in unless you specifically target it.
One of my favourite ways to activate and strengthen the gluteus medius muscles is by placing a band around my ankles, sidestepping for a few reps, and returning back again.
With that being said, this will only specifically work the hip abduction side of things.
Top 5 Gluteus Medius Exercises
3. You Have Weak Transverse Abdominal Muscles
Another potential muscle weakness that can affect your balance during lunges is the Transverse Abdominals (TVA).
The transverse abdominals happen to be one of the core muscles.
However, they probably don’t get as much attention as the “sexier” rectus abdominis, which are the visible ab muscles that form the “six-pack”.
The transverse abdominals is a layer of muscle on the front and side of the abdominal wall.
But, they are deep inside the abdominal wall and layered below the internal oblique muscle.
I guess as they’re not such a “show” muscle as the rectus abdominis they sometimes get left behind.
And this of course can lead to a specific weakness in this area.
Personally, I like to activate the TVA as part of my warm-up routine.
And I do this irrespective of the exercises or body parts that I’m training.
I personally believe that just about every exercise you ever perform originates from the core.
So, it makes perfect sense to have strong core muscles.
This of course also includes the transverse abdominals.
TVA Activation Exercises
4. Check Your Lunge Form
The lunge may well be a fantastic exercise, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t regularly massacred by many.
There are a number of extremely common mistakes made with the lunge.
Firstly, there is the problem of not aligning the ankles with hips and knees.
Basically, you’ll often see people performing a standard forward lunge, but their front foot goes out at an angle.
This means that the knee isn’t directly over the ankle
Plus, this also means that the back leg is almost twisted to compensate, and the hip isn’t directly over the knee.
Something else that affects balance during a lunge is taking too far a step forward.
You see this literally everywhere you go.
For some reason it seems that people equate a longer step meaning the exercise is now more effective.
However, it is actually the complete opposite.
The further you lunge forward, the less distance your back knee has to travel towards the ground.
So, you’re actually reducing the range of motion of the back leg, thus making the exercise less effective.
I will also say that when performing lunges your eyes should remain staring at a fixed-point ahead of you throughout the movement.
Many people have a tendency to watch their feet or their eyes are darting around throughout the entire set.
This can definitely cause further instability during lunges.
So keep your eyes fixed firmly ahead throughout your entire set.
You can also add trying to do lunges too fast to the list.
The vast majority of exercises, whether performed with weights or your own body weight, should be done in a slow and controlled manner.
Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but in the main just slow it down when doing lunges.
5. Try Lunge Variations
If I’m being completely honest I never actually perform what is typically viewed as the standard lunge.
I guess the forward lunge is what the vast majority of the people do.
However, for me, this puts a great deal of stress on the front knee.
Plus, there is a tendency to have a jerky movement when pushing back.
Once again, more stress on the knee.
I’m just not a fan of the forward lunge.
I always perform the reverse lunge as my “standard” lunge.
With that being said, there is so much variety when it comes to lunges, I just don’t think you should limit yourself to one.
Plus, if I am going to forward lunge I much prefer walking lunges.
Definitely better for strength, muscle, and fat-burning in my mind.
I would even put side lunges way ahead of the standard forward lunge.
Okay, if you have specific weaknesses in the gluteus medius and transverse abdominals then balance could still be a problem.
However, you will be working these muscles a lot better with a bit of lunge variety.
15 Must Do Lunge Variations
So, hopefully you have a better understanding of why you can’t balance during lunges.
In the main, this will be due to not activating your core.
However, a weakness in the gluteus medius will definitely play a huge role in balance.
Plus, the same can be said for the transverse abdominals.
With that being said, if you work on these specific aspects you should find that you’re performing lunges much more effectively.
Next, I’d like to introduce you to the 5 main reasons you can’t balance during lunges and how to fix this.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.