to lunge or not to lunge, that is the question
March 1, 2010 10:23 AM   Subscribe

what are replacement exercises for the legs that do not require hyper-extending the toes?

I have arthritis in my big toes (hallux rigidus) and so I can't do proper lunges or any other exercise that requires bending back the toe (the way you do with the rear foot in a lunge) without pain.

Anyone have ideas for a replacement exercise or way to modify lunges so I can keep my toes from hurting?
posted by canine epigram to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Any of the leg press machines where you push on a flat surface?
posted by bitdamaged at 10:35 AM on March 1, 2010

Stick to the king of core/leg exercises. The back squat.
posted by ShootTheMoon at 10:41 AM on March 1, 2010

Check out your shoes. Squats, deadlifts, and calf raises can all be done without too much stress on your toe. But Having shoes with lots of support can shift your weight to your toes.

While I love how bootylicious lunges are, variations on the above three will hit just about everything.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:45 AM on March 1, 2010

posted by BlahLaLa at 10:54 AM on March 1, 2010

Squats and leg presses.
posted by jckll at 10:55 AM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: Side-to-side lunges. Squats. Knee raises. Back kicks (holding on to a chair if you need to, for balance).
posted by misha at 11:17 AM on March 1, 2010

Ball squats: Put an inflatable exercise ball against a wall and lean your back against it. Baby-walk your legs out and scooch down like you were sitting on a chair. Roll up and down. You can hold dumbbells for added resistance.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:43 AM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: Modify the lunge? That's easy. Put your back leg up on a swiss ball or bench and do one legged lunges.
- Take two and a half steps out from the bench, starting with the lunging leg.
- Kick the back leg onto the bench. The top of your foot and shin should be resting on the bench.
The exercise is performed almost exactly the same way. You'll realize quickly that more balance is required and almost all the weight is bearing down on one leg. Head up, back straight, dumbbells in hand or barbell on shoulder. The knee over the toes bit is not as important as people make it out to be, you do this every time you walk up stairs.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:01 PM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks! Already doing the squats and presses.
posted by canine epigram at 1:30 PM on March 1, 2010

Do you specifically mean quads or is there some other reason you seem to like crazy lunge variants over adding a nice simple deadlift to your routine? Lunges are hardly a necessity in leg training but it's hard to imagine a good routine that didn't involve deadlifts.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:54 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I do mean quads (I have tight hamstrings, and as a runner, need to strengthen my quads) - I like the stretch I get from a lunge... just can't deal with the toe thing.

I'm just starting to get into doing deadlifts.
posted by canine epigram at 6:14 PM on March 2, 2010

Ah, in that case, might I recommend front squats? They're quite quad-intensive.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:42 PM on March 2, 2010

Lunges are a fantastic exercise, and a one legged lunge is hardly a "crazy variant".
posted by P.o.B. at 3:42 AM on March 3, 2010

Well, where I'm from we call them bulgarian split squats, but they are hardly a workout staple as compared to deadlifts, mostly because the fact that you have to do so much balancing limits the amount of weight you can put into them.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:13 PM on March 3, 2010

I could name about six neuromuscular traits other than strength that everyone should strive to imrpove in a workout, balance is one of them. Strength is not the be all and end all that some people erroneously think it is.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:16 PM on March 3, 2010

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