Walking LungeWe’re down to our last Primal Pattern® movement pattern (the seven most important movements for optimal human functioning) today – the lunge.

Climbing stairs and stepping over an object, or stretching to get the vacuum under a table are everyday examples of the lunge (or variations of the lunge). All commonly accepted muscle chains or systems, such as the deep longitudinal, anterior, posterior and lateral, are important in the lunge  and weakness or dysfunction in either will lead to instability in the spine, pelvis or hip, pronation patterns and potential injuries to the ankle, knee, hip and sacroiliac joints. Balance issues and medial rotational instability are also common issues in the lunge pattern, as in the squat, among those with incomplete infant motor development.

For our last Primal Pattern® movement, enjoy some deep breaths before focusing on the mechanics for the Walking Lunge.

Walking Lunge

Starting Position: Take a deep, diaphragmatic breath (full belly, then full chest) and draw your belly button inward toward your spine. This will activate the transversus abdominis muscle, a key stabilizer of the spine.

Action: Hold an upright posture and step forward into the lunge. If your step length is correct, your front shin will be vertical.

Descend into the lunge as deeply as possible, or until the trailing knee is just off the floor. Do not let the knees drop inward. Push off with your back foot and step straight into a second lunge. Continue in a straight line.

Suggested reps: 10-20 lunges.

Make it easier: Perform a split squat; step into the lunge position described above and lower down and up as many times as is possible holding good form. Then switch legs. (One step below Primal Standard)

Make it harder: Try the backwards-walking lunge or hold a dumbbell in one hand, straight overhead to add an asymmetrical load.

Purpose: Requires activation of all the muscles surrounding the hip joint, so is excellent for improving general strength and stability, as well as toning the butt and legs.

Perform each exercise with a moderate tempo. Although I’ve suggested repetitions for these exercises, remember that it’s more important to follow the Form Principle – only select the level of exercise that can be performed with the perfect technique and stop each set before your form breaks down.

Love and chi,