October 01, 2006
In last month's dumbbell article, we explored the effects of different loading positions for the bilateral squat. As I mentioned there, squats are a must for anyone seeking functional fitness. While squats are a heavily practiced movement for my clients, we also incorporate unilateral and contralateral single-leg support movements in the form of variation on the weighted lunge.
This set of exercises serves a couple purposes. First, it is rare that an athlete comes to me with a perfect balance of bilateral strength. Lunges address that difference with a functional, gait-oriented movement. Second, the lunge involves the kind of single-leg support, bilateral transfer of force, and trunk stabilization that are required for most sport, so it has broad carryover.
In coaching a naked lunge I ask the athlete to step as far forward as possible while maintaining an erect torso. The knees, toes, and eyes track forward at all times. Next I ask them to sink the hips. Many will have tight hips and the trailing leg will be perpendicular to the deck.