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Beginners Guide to the Lunge

One of the best exercises you can do, especially if you're an athlete or Martial Artist, is the Lunge. Learn the progression of the lunge evolution with this article.

Lunge

What the lunge can do

If you want to gain functional strength, muscular endurance and quicker first step reactions, something all athletes and Martial Artists need, you’ll start adding lunges into your routine.

There is no other group of exercises that packs as much punch for training as the Lunge Evolution. Nearly all traditional bodyweight and traditional weightlifting exercises are one-dimensional, you are locked in place in a stable atmosphere. With squats you stand in one place, with the bench press you lie on your back, with pushups you are stationary on your hands and feet.

Lunge Movements

Lunges are the exact opposite. They are multi-dimensional, and as you’ll soon discover, the last stage of the evolution packs all the punches of Proprioception, teaching your body where it is in space. When your body has a better understanding of where it is when you’re not fully balanced, they benefit are quicker movements, reactions and faster movement patters.

Breaking down the Lunge into several of the movement patterns that take place in the exercise, you can see:

1. A squat
2. Running
3. Throwing a punch
4. Rotational trunk movement
5. Controlling an unbalanced load with one leg in the air, as in a punch or kick
6. And on and on…

The gains of lunging have to be seen and felt to be fully appreciated.

As with any exercise, you should start at the conservative level and gradually up the intensity. When a stage becomes easy, and you’ll know when this happens, you move on to the next stage. You’ll do yourself no good jumping into the hardest part of the evolution, that will only lead to your frustration and inability to get the very most out of the training.

The Lunge Evolution

The stages of the Lunge Evolution are as follows:

  • Lunge
  • Weighted Lunge
  • Weighted Lunge and Rotate
  • Proprioceptive Weighted Lunge and Rotate

The Lunge The Lunge is done with no weight and begins to get the body use to using its’ lunging muscles. When starting out, repetitions should be very conservative, even in the single digits as you begin to get those hamstrings use to the work.

1. From a normal standing position
2. Take a long step with the right leg…
3. As the left knee barely touches the ground…
4. Take your next step with the left leg
5. Keep your torso straight

The Weighted Lunge

The Weighted Lunge increases the challenge by forcing a body using forward momentum and stepping to manipulate a weight. This is akin to teaching the moving weight of the body’s limbs to stay within the body’s balance plane and use efficient movement patters. When the body throws a punch, if the hand gets out of the body’s balance plane, all bets are off. This is something that happens when you throw one punch too many on a punching combination.

1. Lift a medicine ball, or weight, only light weight is needed
2. Take a long step with the right leg…
3. As the left knee barely touches the ground…
4. Take your next step with the right leg
5. Keep your torso straight
6. Maintain balance as you continue to hold the weight over your head

The Weighted Lunge and Rotate

The Weighted Lunge and Rotate now adds in the rotational movements of the torso. Every strike in the Martial Arts contains rotational movement. This is also true of a jab and front kick, there is just not as much rotational movement in those strikes, but it is there.

1. Hold a medicine ball or other weight above your head
2. Step with the right foot while bringing the left knee to barely touch the ground
3. As this is done, rotate the medicine ball to the side of the forward leg, in this case, the right one
4. Step with the left leg forward, right knee barely touching the ground, and medicine ball having traveled up above the head and over to the left side
5. Continue until finished, using distance in place of repetitions for this exercise

The Proprioceptive Weighted Lunge and Rotate

The last piece of intensity added in is forcing the body to balance itself from the ground up. This is accomplished by wearing Proprioception footwear. I’m seen in this picture wearing Jumpsoles with the Proprioceptor Plug inserted in the bottom, it’s like walking on two mini stability balls.

When you can do this exercise for 20 yards, you’ve arrived.

1. Wearing Proprioceptive footwear, hold a medicine ball above your head
2. Step with the right foot while bringing the left knee to barely touch the ground
3. As this is done, rotate the medicine ball to the side of the forward leg, in this case, the right one
4. Step with the left leg forward, right knee barely touching the ground, and medicine ball having traveled up above the head and over to the left side
5. Continue until finished

Increased Athleticism

When I work with athletes, many feel the effects of lunges sometimes after only a couple of training sessions. Their feelings are always the same as they tell me they feel stronger and more athletic.

The reason for the increased athleticism is the Proprioception training that’s taking place. With the Lunge Evolution, the smaller micro-muscles of the spine become engaged, and essentially are woken up by this exercise and told they are needed. I refer to these muscles as the “athleticism muscles”.

No matter what sport you play, when you start adding Lunges to your training, you’ll be amazed by the gains you produce.






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