Monday, March 30, 2009

Lunge Basics 101

I have always found that the lunge is the most difficult exercise to teach to general population clients. It is the most important exercise to teach athletes, because of the dynamics of balance, coordination, and strength into one executed movement. However, the GPC has a tougher time digesting this movement because of a host of factors including:
ankle restriction
glute inhibition
IT band adhesiveness
reciprocal inhibition

Not to say athletes may not uncover the same obstacles, however, in my experience I have found that most do not present as many of these factor, or possibly not as pronounced.

This is usually due to younger ages, enhanced function, and better coordination & flexibility.

So, I use a drill to begin teaching clients how to go about what a lunge should "feel" like. I coined it a "Kneel to Stand" drill. It has been a success because it promotes single leg strength, single leg/hip stability, and front leg power generation--without worry about balance and flexibility of the back leg (where most clients have trouble with).

There is an element of "balance" in the drill. In the kneeling position, when the first foot is raised, you have hip flexion whereas the opposite hip needs to stabilize the pelvis. If this doesn't occur, the client cannot "clear the front foot". This can be due also to simple strength/coordination issues (which is normal), hip flexor issues (psoas function), or lumbo pelvic control. Clients are not expected to get it right the first time. We practice the drill over and over, until a level of coordination/strength/and comfort is reached. When they give me the thumbs up...we move to my next progression.

If you move someone too quickly into a lunge (which I see trainers do ALOT)...clients experience pain/discomfort and lots pain is exploited (ie: knee/patella, lower back, foot). Guess what? The lunge didn't "cause" the simply uncovered it. If you progress them from simple to difficult in increments, they will develop the proper movement pattern.

How long it takes is on an individual basis.


  1. Hey Juan! (lol, for some reason i'm in Spanish mode!) :)

    Like i've said before, I dig this exercise. Thank you for bringing it to the table. I have had several clients try it. One realized just how weak her left hip was b/c of this drill! Her mobility issues were blatantly obvious with the drill as well. So...with her, i'm going to actually come back to this after a little more boring, focused glute/hip work!

    Keep it up!
    Yours in Health,

    PS - you're posture looks great in the vid, btw...I never did get that craziness!

  2. I am with Fitpro Sarah! Great exercise, been very effective with a couple of my clients! Cheers John!

    TOM Godwin
    Foresight Personal Training
    Manchester, UK


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