Are you venturing out of sagittal plane enough?
If you’re an athlete, human being, or I don’t know, ninja, I hope you answered ‘yes.’
You see, the frontal plane improves agility, mobility, and strength. It needs to be attacked way more.
Oddly enough, I’ve had to catch myself a few times as a strength coach and tweak some programs due to lack of lateral strength movements.
Which brings me to lateral lunges.
They’re awesome for many reasons:
– Improved hip mobility
– Improved agility
– Improved single leg strength
– Improved deceleration in frontal plane
What’s more is, there are a bajillion ways to spice up this simple movement to progress athletes in the frontal plane.
Let’s do this.
1. Lateral Lunge Mobility
This is how I like to begin when teaching lateral lunge technique:
Though it may look graceful, it’s tough. And my guesses are, most clients/athletes cringe on the inside when they take that first step to the side and go down. Their response, ‘oh shit, I feel a stretch in my groin.’ Yep. That’s normal.
And yep. We need to work on this.
Alas, this drill allows athletes to lever themselves and ensure their chests don’t collapse, and they’re able to sink their hips back. It will be uncomfortable at first, but after each rep, the hips feel more grooved.
2. Lateral Lunge with Pulse
Funny enough, I’d consider this more of a core exercise too.
Pushing the kettlebell away from your body increases the lever arm which fires the anterior core a ton.
And again, you can leverage yourself more with the added load.
3. Manual Lateral Lunge
I call this “the grizzly bear knocks down a pine tree” exercise:
In fact, key coaching cue here: find the burliest man in the gym to push you. Thanks to Scotty Rodgers, my awesome colleague for the external load here.
I love this progression because it hones the eccentric phase and puts extra force on the deceleration component.
And all athletes need to learn how to control deceleration in the frontal plane for knee and ankle injury prevention.
The best way to incorporate this? Maybe a team practice. In fact, a lot of soccer coaches lost their minds over this exercise. I’m sure I’ll be meandering down the fields this week seeing people pushing people over in the name of lateral lunges.
Very good stuff.
4. TRX Suspended Lateral Lunge
This is my fav:
It’s the same exercise, except with your moving foot suspended in the TRX. This one allows you to play with depth and hip mobility further, as well as hone some balance. <— the balance portion is fucking tough.
The full video of this progression is on my instagram: fitsoccerqueen.
Happy lateral lunging. And happy adventuring in the frontal plane.