LUNGING AND STEPPING

These movements have a very strong crossover with one of the most important areas of human movement, known as gait. Gait is the term that refers to movements on foot such as walking, jogging or running. Just as when we walk or run, lunging and stepping are exercises where the body works first one side and then the other, rather than both together. These are also movements we see in many sports, for instance when reaching for a forehand at squash, or an off-drive in cricket.

In a similar way to the squatting and bending exercises, these movements target the lower body. They have a high degree of crossover with modern life and human movement, and strengthen the muscles around the buttocks and legs. They can also be equally effective as a cardiovascular exercise, particularly if done in a circuit with other exercises.

Always make sure that you maintain a good posture when lunging, ensuring that you keep your hips and shoulders level, and your knees in line with your feet.

The complex nature of these exercises challenges the core muscles, but it is the hips and legs that are required to do most of the work. Make sure the movements are controlled and pay attention to keeping good form throughout.

Basic lunge

This simple exercise is the basic starting point for the rest of the lunging movements.

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and the hands held at the hips.

Keeping your trunk upright, lunge forwards, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart.

Lower your hips towards the floor under control.

Do not let the rear knee touch the floor.

Return to the start position and repeat with the opposite leg.

Twisting lunge

This is another variation on the basic lunge movement.

Perform this exercise as for the basic lunge.

Hold your arms out in front with your fingers interlocked at shoulder-height.

As you lunge forwards, rotate your upper body towards the lead leg.

Alternate movements on each leg.

This exercise simply combines the basic lunge, shown earlier, into a sequence of movements based on an imaginary clockface drawn on the floor.

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.

Lunge straight ahead with the left leg first (to the 12 o’clock position).

Return to the start position, then lunge to the side (9 o’clock).

Lastly, turn and lunge behind you (7 o’clock).

Repeat on the right side (12, 3 and 5 o’clock).

Reaching lunges

This movement is one of the most functional exercises you can do. The reaching action gives added challenge to the hips and core muscles. The movement should come mostly from your hips, not your upper back.

Face ahead with your feet around shoulder-width apart.

Lunge forwards, keeping your knee aligned over your toes.

Reach forwards with your opposite hand towards the lead ankle.

Repeat on the other side.

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