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The Lunge, Part II

June 2, 2010

By Gerard Bochese

To progress the lunge and increase the complexity of the movement, begin doing multidirectional lunges. To perform the multidirectional lunge, imagine you are standing in the center of a clock face.  You will perform the following directional lunges:

Multidirectional lunges:

With your right leg:

1)   lunge to 12 o’clock

2)   lunge half way between 1 & 2 o’clock

3)   lunge to 3 o’clock

4)   lunge half way between 4 & 5 o’clock

5)   lunge to 6 o’clock

With your left leg

1) lunge to 12 o’clock

2) lunge half way between 10 & 11 o’clock

3) lunge to 9 o’clock

4) lunge half way between 7 & 8 o’clock

5) lunge to 6 o’clock

To perform these, begin with the forward lunge.  Next, lunge forward at a 45 degree angle (half way between 1 & 2 o’clock).  Keep your head and eyes looking forward and your shoulders and pelvis square to the front.  Allow the trailing leg to pivot naturally on the ball of your foot as you drop into the lunge.  A common mistake is to turn the whole body 45 degrees and lunge, which is no different than a front lunge.

Next, step laterally into the lunge to 3 o’clock. Keep your leading foot pointing forward (same direction as your eyes) and do not open the lead foot. Keep your torso upright and your head and eyes looking across the horizon.

Next, step backward 45 degrees between 4 & 5 o’clock and keep the same form as the forward 45-degree lunge.

The backward center lunge is next.  It is performed the same as the front lunge but stepping backward to 6 o’clock.  Avoid the natural tendency to lean forward as you lunge backward.

Skater’s lunge:

The skater’s lunge is a true butt blaster and also is great for conditioning the adductors (inner thigh muscles).  To perform the skaters lunge:

Take a wide stance with the feet parallel and squat down until your thighs are a little above parallel with the floor.  Shift your weight laterally, while keeping your pelvis at the same height above the ground throughout, until you are bearing 70% to 80% of your weight on one leg. After a short pause, move back to the center and across to the opposite leg.

Walking lunges:

Begin with a forward lunge.  Instead of pushing off the front foot and returning to the start position, push off with your back foot and step straight into a second lunge.  Continue in a straight line.

Jumping lunge:

The jumping lunge is an excellent exercise to develop power and explosive speed. To perform the jumping lunge:

Start with your feet together.  Jump into a split stance so that your back knee and front knee are both at 90 degree angles.  From this position jump straight up and switch your stance so that you again land in the lunge position with the opposite leg forward.  Continue with a fast tempo.

For those people challenged by the forward lunge, it may be helpful to regress the lunge pattern to make it easier for them to master.

Split squat:

This is performed much like the forward lunge, using only the up-and-down movements and no stepping movements. To perform the split squat:

Step forward into a split stance, with your weight centered between both feet.  Lower into the lunge then rise up to the starting position. Repeat the movement.

Split squat with one or two pole support:

Those with poor balance, strength, or coordination may perform a split squat holding a pole in one hand or both hands.  Using a pole is a better option than holding onto a fixed object because a pole allows some support, yet requires activation of the individual’s stabilizers systems, improving the functional carryover.

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