Lunge Pattern Posted on November 26, 2013, 0 Comments

85% of gait takes place on one leg. Whether you’re pedaling perfect circles or in squares like most novices, you’re deriving most of your power from alternating legs while on the bike. Even swimming works the legs unilaterally. So while the squat pattern is a foundation for many movements in triathlon, the literal next step is the lunge. Performed correctly, it strengthens the hamstrings and the glutes—muscles often underdeveloped and underutilized on triathletes—as well as the quads. Additional benefits, from improved balance to ramped-up core recruitment, make this movement a critical one to master for the competitive triathlete.

NOTE: All of the lunge movements described below can be made more neurologically challenging and sport specific by adding arm movements such as bicep curls or shoulder presses. When doing so, always follow a cross-crawl pattern where the arm and the opposite leg work together. This will stimulate biomotor integration as well as help establish more connections in the corpus callosum, the part of the brain which connects the right hemisphere to the left hemisphere. Additionally, the Twist pattern can (and should when proficiency allows) be integrated into any of the lunge patterns below so that the legs learn to work in a coordinated fashion with the spine—as they should in the sport of triathlon and the sport of life!

First Descent—1 dowel-rod support
Second Descent—2 dowel-rod supports
Third Descent—Smith Machine

EXAMPLE EXERCISES

Lunge
1. Standing with Good Posture, take a step forward with the non-dominant leg so that the shin is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and the trailing leg should be bent with the knee almost touching the floor (as flexibility/strength allow) while ball of foot stays in contact with the ground.
2. Pushing through the heel, return to start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Backward Lunge
1. Standing with Good Posture, take a step backward with the dominant leg so that the shin of the forward/non-dominant leg is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and the trailing leg should be bent with the knee almost touching the floor (as flexibility/strength allow) while ball of foot stays in contact with the ground.
2. Pushing through the heel, return to start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Side Lunge
1. Standing with Good Posture, take a step to the side with the non-dominant leg.
2. Once in this straddle position, continue the lateral motion by bending the knee of the non-dominant leg. Feet should remain relatively square or externally rotated slightly. Torso will naturally incline forward, but chest should stay upright. Go as deep as possible without the dropping the chest, lifting the heel of the non-dominant foot off the ground, or bending the knee of the opposite leg which should be straight with the foot flat on the ground.
3. Pushing through the heel of the non-dominant leg, return to start position and repeat on the opposite side.

45° Lunge
1. Standing with Good Posture, take a step forward at a 45 degree angle with the non-dominant leg so that the shin of the forward/non-dominant leg is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and relatively square. Trailing leg should be supported by the ball of the foot with the knee angled at 45 degrees to maintain the integrity of this hinge joint.
2. Pushing through the heel, return to start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Clock Lunge
1. Standing with Good Posture, take a step forward with the non-dominant leg so that the shin is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and the trailing leg should be bent with the knee almost touching the floor (as flexibility/strength allow) while ball of foot stays in contact with the ground. Pushing through the heel, return to start position.
2. Take a step forward at a 45 degree angle with the non-dominant leg so that the shin of the forward/non-dominant leg is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and relatively square. Trailing leg should be supported by the ball of the foot with the knee angled at 45 degrees to maintain the integrity of this hinge joint. Pushing through the heel, return to start position.
3. Take a step to the side with the non-dominant leg. Once in this straddle position, continue the lateral motion by bending the knee of the non-dominant leg. Feet should remain relatively square or externally rotated slightly. Torso will naturally incline forward, but chest should stay upright. Go as deep as possible without the dropping the chest, lifting the heel of the non-dominant foot off the ground, or bending the knee of the opposite leg which should be straight with the foot flat on the ground. Pushing through the heel, return to the start position.
4. Take a step backward at a 45 degree angle with the non-dominant leg so that the shin of the forward/dominant leg is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and relatively square. Trailing leg should be supported by the ball of the foot with the knee angled at 45 degrees to maintain the integrity of this hinge joint. Pushing through the heel, return to start position.
5. Take a step backward with the non-dominant leg so that the shin of the forward/dominant leg is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and the trailing leg should be bent with the knee almost touching the floor (as flexibility/strength allow) while ball of foot stays in contact with the ground. Pushing through the heel, return to start position.
6. Repeat all movements with the dominant leg.

Lunge Walk
1. Standing with Good Posture, take a step forward with the non-dominant leg so that the shin is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and the trailing leg should be bent with the knee almost touching the floor (as flexibility/strength allow) while ball of foot stays in contact with the ground.
2. Pushing through the heel, move forward to a standing position and repeat on the opposite side

45° Lunge Walk
1. Standing with Good Posture, take a step forward at a 45 degree angle with the non-dominant leg so that the shin of the forward/non-dominant leg is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and relatively square. Trailing leg should be supported by the ball of the foot with the knee angled at 45 degrees to maintain the integrity of this hinge joint.
2. Pushing through the heel, more forward to a standing position and repeat on the opposite side.

Run Pose
1. Standing with Good Posture in lunge position with non-dominant leg forward, push through the heel as you move into a standing position supported by the ball of the foot of the non-dominant leg. Knee of the dominant leg should be driven toward chest. Support leg’s knee should track over foot throughout the movement, and the torso should remain upright. Arms should work in a cross-crawl pattern so that the left arm moves forward when the right leg is forward and vise versa.
2. Perform all repetitions on one side before repeating on the opposite side.

Backward Lunge Walk
1. Standing with Good Posture, take a step backward with the dominant leg so that the shin of the forward/non-dominant leg is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and the trailing leg should be bent with the knee almost touching the floor (as flexibility/strength allow) while ball of foot stays in contact with the ground.
2. Pushing through the heel, return backward to a standing position and repeat on the opposite side.

Bosu Lunge
1. Standing with Good Posture, with the non-dominant leg in the center of Bosu, take a step backward with the dominant leg so that the shin of the forward/non-dominant leg is perpendicular to the ground when the thigh is at parallel. Knee should track over foot throughout the movement. Torso should remain upright and the trailing leg should be bent with the knee almost touching the floor (as flexibility/strength allow) while ball of foot stays in contact with the ground.
2. Pushing through the heel, return to start position and continue with the designated number of reps before repeating on the opposite side.