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When I do lunges or when I run, when I have one leg in front I cannot get back into a standing position. I have actually fallen down running because I couldn't get my leg to straighten up to move my other leg forward. It's really hard to explain. I do a lot of biking and have no problems with that. I can do squats with no trouble. I know I need to strengthen certain muscles. When I was going to a gym the trainer was explaining how the wrong muscles were trying to do the job and the muscles that should be doing it were weak.

My questions are:

  1. How can I strengthen the correct muscles when other muscles keep taking over?
  2. How do I get back to a standing position when lunging or running?
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It sounds to me as of you have weak glutes. This is a common problem for runners. What tends to happen is the hamstrings take over. You need to do exercises that activate them. Dead lifts are quite good for this. Or balancing on one leg and touching the floor in different positions. These 2 exercises exercise the maximus glutes. You can also, stand on one leg, keeping hips in line squeeze buttocks muscle and raise other leg to side(foot slightly turned in. This will engage the glutes medius. As will good mornings, and kb swings(when performed properly)

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I'd probably need more information on how exactly you're falling here (I'll admit that I'm getting all kinds of amusing mental images of someone running just fine, then flopping over at the end because they can't get to a standing position), but my suspicion is that your body weight isn't over your bent knee. For a front lunge, I know of two ways to more or less rise directly up. One is the shift all of one's weight over the bent knee and then to slide up the back leg, turning it essentially into a slightly staggered squat position from which you can rise. The second is to rock backwards so that you've got both legs straight, one staggered in front of the other, than choosing to move one or the other up (or, optionally, pushing up and jumping, then bringing the legs together. Frankly, if you're not used to either motion, it will take some practice.

Another option which I learned when doing capoeira was to avoid going straight in any direction or to rely on just your balance. For example, if you put the hand on the same side of your bent leg down, that gives you two points of contact to bring your back leg up and in. Or, alternately, you can do the same and swing the back leg in a quarter circle to go into a straddle position.

But ultimately, the most important thing, in my mind, is to be aware of where your balance and body weight are.

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