Building The Lunge
Lunging is one of the 7 primal movement patterns and even though lunges don’t get the same attention like squats or deadlifts lunges are pretty unique because of the instability of these exercises and more importantly because they have directions. When we understand how these different directions play a role in one’s movement programming gets more effective. Using the DVRT System and all the options that the Ultimate Sandbag can provide a whole new world of training opens up.
One of the main reasons that lunges get so difficult for most people is lateral stability. Being in that split stance position the body often gets ‘wobbly’. Depending on how we place the load upon the body it could make the exercise harder or easier. Within the DVRT System we prioritize these variables and program them accordingly. Without running ahead too much the Half Kneeling position is such an underrated body position to be in, however it is the best way to teach people to integrate their lower body and upper body and getting more familiar resisting the frontal plane (lateral motion) and build the lunge progressively.
Half Kneeling Press Outs
This fundamental exercise is where most people would start how to integrate their body and learn how to resist force. If you’re looking at the position you can clearly see that the Half Kneeling position looks like a lunge except the knee rests on the floor. The devil is in the details and how we use the hands and feet here is paramount. Especially the back foot is what often gets missed by many and even though many exercises are great in that Half Kneeling position, pushing into the floor with the back toes creates so much more stability in the core. Imaging lunging without using the back toes? It would be impossible and dangerous too… so why not take advantage of that and be much more stable? At the end of the day training is about being more efficient.
What the hands are doing is equally important as they’re pulling and gripping the Ultimate Sandbag apart engaging the core and lats and connecting them to the hips. That’s why even the tool itself is key here. The classic Pallof Press is a great exercise with the cable machine however you can only really use one hand effectively. The other hand would be on top of the working hand. This is true for using a resistance band or cable machine. Whereas the Ultimate Sandbag has that unique ability to enhance the grip using both hands at the same time. This grip will translate into better core and lat activation on both sides.
Attaching a resistance band to the Ultimate Sandbag is definitely an option not for necessarily just going harder on this exercise but more so to learn’ teach how to use the feet, hands more efficiently and to ‘feel’ more stable. Resisting force gets much more meaning when the band is trying to pull you over. My recommendation is NOT to go too crazy with the resistance. Usually less is more, we don’t want to get fatigued on this rather learn how to create tension at the right places.
Half Kneeling Arc Press w Band
Following the previous exercise the logical progression is to move the weight to the shoulder and this will increase the lever, however still need to be aware of the feet and hands. We don’t really want too much resistance but at the top of the movement it needs to be challenging and still doable so the lifter feels his/her obliques kicking in along with other muscles such as the gluteals, deep core stabilizers, lats and quads in the kneeling leg. This exercise clearly highlights the concept of lateral stability as the Ultimate Sandbag goes from the shoulder to over the head and the lifter needs to resist against the band.
Worth noting the way we position the legs can also make a difference. The closer leg (from the band) forward makes it easier to resist as opposed to the keeping the further leg forward.
Half Kneeling Arc Press (Side to Side)
Even though there is no band to work against I would consider this exercise a progression compare to the previous one. The Ultimate Sandbag now goes from one side of the body to the other side. This means a Frontal Plane movement and many people find this challenging only just realizing how much force they need to fight against. In addition there is a Push and a Pull on the opposing side wit both hands are gripping. With the right intention (slow pace: 3 sec up/3sec down) fatigue quickly accumulates during the Half Kneeling Arc Press. What happens in the lower body is far more important than how quickly one can go through this drill. Often times people rush when they feel uncomfortable. However this great drill set the foundation for both lunging and overhead pressing.
Drop Lunge Arc Press with Band
Strength training should be about making incremental changes in one’s training program and even though this series is about foundations, it’s good to highlight how and where we can progress our movement and training program.
As the Half Kneeling positions are predominantly lunge patterns, the next progression would be a drop lunge where the lifter needs to lunge backwards and perform a half Arc Press with the Ultimate Sandbag. The resistance band again is optional however it does give such a feedback on what’s going on in the lower body and core which is difficult to replicate with anything else. This elastic resistance could be very useful to correct the pattern of the step and it is also great feedback mechanism. Keeping the closer leg forward makes this exercise easier than the legs the other way around.
Hover Split Squat Arc Press
I think it’s safe to say that this final progression truly highlights what lateral stability means when it comes to lunging. Looking at how the load moves from one side to the other side while the lifter needs to stay stable in the split stance. When we can make such a fine tuned progressions the body is going to adapt and work smarter and more effectively.
Going through these progressions takes time and lots of practice. Depending on individual abilities use these for warm ups, corrective exercise and most importantly building foundational movement.
Greg Perlaki / Master Trainer