Jackie Wright: Lunging fundamentals, part 3
Third in a three-part series
Front and side lunges have been featured during the past two weeks in this column and this week the back lunging fundamentals will be highlighted. As mentioned previously, it is important to train 360 degrees around the hip joint (i.e. anterior, lateral and posterior). Consequently, a well-designed exercise program, should include the front, side and back lunge where possible. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Dynamic Back Lunges – Perform 8-12 repetitions of the front, side and back lunges on two-three non-consecutive days/week. You may add external resistance such as dumbbells held at the sides, medicine ball forward presses, barbells on shoulders, etc. once you have mastered the fundamentals of each of the lunges.
• The back lunge concentrates on strengthening and stabilizing the hip joint. However, the entire lower body as well as the corset core muscles are engaged either as stabilizers or mobilizers during the dynamic back lunging action.
• The legs begin shoulder distance apart.
• The shoulders/hips/knees and toes are all facing the same direction. Make certain to check the foot/ankle positions to ensure each are straight and that the hip is not rotated externally or internally.
• The pelvic floor is pulled up and inward. Pelvis position is critical in a back lunge. The pelvis must remain in neutral. Therefore, avoid shifting the hips/pelvis forward or backward which may cause the entire hip joint to shift placing a significant load into the knee joint and lumbar spine.
• Step back with the right foot, keeping the majority of the body weight in the left heel as you are stepping backward and lowering the body downward. The right foot steps back far enough so that the left knee tracks over the left heel and the right heel remains elevated. Each leg should form a 90-degree angle at the knee joint as you attain the terminal back lunge position.
• Then, pushing off the ball of the right foot, bring the right leg back to the beginning position and repeat the sequence.
• It is essential that the left knee never moves forward over the toes and remains over the left heel during the back lunge.
• Avoid dropping the torso forward or backward.
• Perform 8-12 repetitions leading with the right leg, then repeat the same sequence with the left leg.
• You may also perform the back lunge with a Gliding Disc.
• Place the disc under the ball of the right foot and rather than stepping back with the right leg, allow this leg to glide back until the left knee flexes 90 degrees at the knee joint. The right heel remains elevated, keeping a light amount of pressure in the ball of the right foot on the disc and the right leg remains extended.
• Then, using your left leg, particularly the hip extensors, to pull the body back to the beginning position. The stationary left leg is the one bearing almost all of the body weight. Driving through the left heel will enable you to bring the right leg back to the beginning position without transferring weight into the right foot.
• Perform 8-12 repetitions with the right foot on the disc and then repeat with the disc under the left foot.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness LLC in Granby. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at firstname.lastname@example.org and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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