When I first was drafted to my team, I literally knew nothing about skating for speed or power. I was a true rookie, learning everything from page one. My captain said this was a gift. She said that I could learn good form first then skill would come with ease afterwards. Most veterans who didn’t learn this way ended up with bad habits and found it harder to fix form after doing it a certain way for many years. Bad habits are truly hard to break!
So after a week of working with a few clients, I noticed a particular form fix that I had to address with those who were both new and old to exercise. As easy as it sounds, it is not as easy as it looks. Today’s fix is focused on the lateral lunge.
There are tons of articles that go over proper squatting form (like this, this and this) and it is surprising how a basic strength move is so elusive to tame. But, as difficult as it can be to tame a wild pegasus, that beautiful beast will later help conquer a princess-hungry krakken. All mythical creatures aside, if you have learned from proper squatting technique that the squat comes from the hips and NOT the knees, then you will quickly learn that the lateral lunge uses the same principal.
To execute a lateral lunge in proper form, there are a few points on the body to pay attention to:
- First, the hips. Remember that like the squat, the hips initiate the movement, as if sitting back in a chair. Keeping the chest upright, hinge the hips back and keep the knee and ankle in alignment with weight in the heels. Be sure not to hunch those shoulders and arch that back just to get closer to the ground, only go as far as the lower body will support the weight and in time the lower the lunge will become.
- Secondly, keep in mind where the foot falls in the lunge position. The tendency is to step the foot out and leave it pointed in that direction. Instead, keep both feet pointed forward, in the same direction that the rest of the body is facing. This exercise is focused on the upper leg and not the lower, so leave the lateral movement focused there.
- Lastly, try not to lunge so far that the legs are overextended. We aren’t trying to do the splits or Van Damme it between two semi trucks. If it is too difficult to stand back up without having to hop out of the lunge or wiggle awkwardly back to the center (or end up failing to Van Damme and pulling a Channing Tatum), then adjust for a shorter distance so form (and groin muscle) doesn’t suffer.