Yes, I think the short lunge would be harmful to the patellofemoral joint, and the quad would be the most responsive muscle used whereas a long lunge would integrate the hamstrings/gluteal muscles along with the quads and the knee and ankle joints would be lined up in an angle that would provide more support throughout the movement.
It is all about the back – how back “behave” during short and long lunge.
During long lunge back tend to be “in place”, during the short lunge we are forced to bend forward quite far, bringing lower back very strongly into exercise.
Full LONG LUNCH are exercises for developing all four heads of the quadriceps.
The SHORT LUNGES targeting more the outside sweep of the quadriceps.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Oct;42(10):1932-42.
Cruciate ligament forces between short-step and long-step forward lunge.
Escamilla RF, Zheng N, Macleod TD, Imamura R, Edwards WB, Hreljac A, Fleisig GS, Wilk KE, Moorman CT 3rd, Paulos L, Andrews JR.
Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561, USA. [email protected]
The purpose of this study was to compare cruciate ligament forces between the forward lunge with a short step (forward lunge short) and the forward lunge with a long step (forward lunge long).
Eighteen subjects used their 12-repetition maximum weight while performing the forward lunge short and long with and without a stride. EMG, force, and kinematic variables were input into a biomechanical model using optimization, and cruciate ligament forces were calculated as a function of knee angle. A two-factor repeated-measure ANOVA was used with a Bonferroni adjustment (P < 0.0025) to assess differences in cruciate forces between lunging techniques. RESULTS: Mean posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) forces (69-765 N range) were significantly greater (P < 0.001) in the forward lunge long compared with the forward lunge short between 0 degrees and 80 degrees knee flexion angles. Mean PCL forces (86-691 N range) were significantly greater (P < 0.001) without a stride compared with those with a stride between 0 degrees and 20 degrees knee flexion angles. Mean anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) forces were generated (0-50 N range between 0 degrees and 10 degrees knee flexion angles) only in the forward lunge short with stride. CONCLUSIONS: All lunge variations appear appropriate and safe during ACL rehabilitation because of minimal ACL loading. ACL loading occurred only in the forward lunge short with stride. Clinicians should be cautious in prescribing forward lunge exercises during early phases of PCL rehabilitation, especially at higher knee flexion angles and during the forward lunge long, which generated the highest PCL forces. Understanding how varying lunging techniques affect cruciate ligament loading may help clinicians prescribe lunging exercises in a safe manner during ACL and PCL rehabilitation.
That is the same study I was going to write about, however, the date is
November 2008, Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, volume 38, number 11, pp 681-686.
Studied conducted by Escamilla, R, Zheng, N, Macleod, T, Edwards, W, Hreljac, A, Fleisig, G, Wilk, K, Moorman, C, Imamura, R & Andrews, James conducted the study,
They were not looking at the forces on the ACL and PCL but the forces applied to the patellofemoral joint. Which is very relevant because I have seen in my career while working out at gym and when working as a trainer in gyms, that clients’ of personal trainers knees going past their toes.
The methods of the controlled laboratory study that examined 18 subjects using their 12 RM while performing a short and long step forward lunge with and without a stride.
Results: Patellofemoral joint forces and stress increased progressively as the knee flexion increased and decreased progressively as knee flexion decreased. Between 70 and 90 degrees of knee flexion patellofemoral joint force and stress was significantly greater when performing a forward lunge with a short step compared to a long step.
Conclusion: When the goal is to minimize patellofemoral joint force and stress during the forward lunge, it is important to watch not only a clients’ form but that their knee does not track past their toes. Due to the biomechanical demands supported by this study and other studies in the present literature.