Lunge Technique Breakdown & Corrections
There are so many lunge variations, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Most people assume the standard lunge should be a straight up and down motion with the weight evenly distributed on both legs. This works with a deconditioned client where you’re trying to get more general strength. However, that’s not a functional movement. In everyday life, you’ll lunge down ward to pick something up off the floor. When you do this, you’ll reach forward and hinge at the hip. This is a more natural way to do lunges. Additionally, the forward hip flexion and hip hinge allow you to get more glute max activation. In this type of lunge, the majority of the weight is on the front leg, with the back providing mostly balance.
Joint Motions In Exercise
If you’re becoming a certified personal trainer or just love working out, the first step is to know the joint motions during exercise. Here we break down the different joint motions of the body and some key tips on how you can remember them. We also translate them to common exercises like a cable row so you can see what’s happening and what muscle work during these exercises. Learning the joint motions should be one of the first things you do in order to understand how the body works during exercise. From there, you can more easily learn the different muscles and understand when they’re being activated. It’s a great way to learn anatomy because all you have to do is perform the different joint motions on yourself and you’ll be able to feel specific muscles activating. This will then teach you what’s happening.
Glute Bridge With Abduction
Performing a glute bridge with abduction is one of the best ways to fire up your gluteus medius and gluteus maximus before a more intense lower body workout or as part of your main workout. As you lift the hips up, the glute max fires and engages as you go into hip extension. With the band around your knees press the knees outward, increasing tension on the band. This adds in glute medius activation. As you return to the starting position, keep some tension on the band the entire time.
This exercise will not only help your squat form but will also allow you to grow stronger and bigger glutes as you’re able yo handle more and more weight during your squat.
Battle Ropes- Stage Coach
The common stage coach exercise on battle ropes gives you shoulder strength and power in the lattisus dorsi. Slowly raise the arms up, activating the anterior deltoids, pectorals major, and upper trapezius. Then, in one explosive motion slam the ropes down for power in the lats. Repeat this, moving closer or farther away from the anchor point to adjust the intensity.
Battle Ropes- Snakes
Snakes on the battle ropes are the ultimate test for chest and shoulders. This exercise will target the anterior and posterior deltoids, while also activating the pectoralis major. This makes it a great upper body exercise. You can use bigger motions and close to the anchor point to increase the intensity. Or, you can move further away from the anchor point to decrease the intensity and allow you to do more reps faster, a great way to do upper body cardio.
Battle Ropes- Slams
Slams on the battle ropes are a total body maximum strength exercise. They require all out effort through the legs, shoulders, lats, and core. The legs allow you to prep for a jump, using the momentum and the shoulders to lift the ropes up. Then, you quickly activate the latissimus dorsi and rectus abdominis to slam the ropes back down. Allow yourself to get steady and reposition in between each rep, performing six to eight reps per set.
Battle Ropes- Outward Circles
Another great battle rope exercise is outward circles. This exercise focuses on explosive strength through the shoulders and back. You can do the movement with one arm at a time, for max strength. Or you can do them both at the same time for power or cardio.
Battle Ropes- Inward Circles
Inward circles on the battle ropes is a great power movement for the chest. After the arms extend out, the shoulder flexes up and then goes in toward the midline of the body (horizontal adduction). This is exactly what the pectoralis major performs! You can use this exercise as part of a power training program, functional fitness program, or weight loss program for cardio. Change the difficulty level by how far you extend your arms outward before explosively circling them inward.
Battle Ropes- Alternating
Battle ropes exercises improve strength, endurance, and lean body mass. Alternating waves are a sagittal plane movement, which means the pectoralis major and anterior deltoids do most of the work. Other muscles involved include the upper traps and pectoralis minor. You can do this exercise independently for strength or cardio. Or, you can superset it with anterior raises or a shoulder press to increase power outcomes.
A box jump is an explosive squatting exercise that requires not only lower body strength but also good range of motion at the foot and ankle, knees, and hips. As your box and jump get higher and higher, you’ll be landing into a deep squat. To start working your way up to a box jump, make sure you have good squat form. Then start with an elevated level you feel comfortable and confident with. The starting position should be as you would with a squat. You should allow your knees to track over your toes. And, when you land, make sure the weight is evenly distributed throughout the foot. Upon contact of the box, brace your core and allow flexion at the knees and hips. This exercise is great as part of a cardio workout, weight loss workout, max strength workout, or functional fitness workout.
The band walk exercise involves stopping laterally for one side to the other. You can also do the exercise with resistance tubing as long as all resistance comes from the outside, trying to push the legs together. This is a great gluteus medius activation exercise to help with hip stability and also improve your form during all other squat variation exercises. This, in turn, keeps you better able to activate the gluteus Maximus during squats. Keep the hips level and tension on the band, preventing the legs from snapping together. Use this as part of a lower body workout, total body workout, or dynamic warmup.
A drop squat is a progression of the standard squat and focuses on the downward motion (eccentric phase). With a great emphasis decelerating the motion, you’ll put greater tension on the glutes and hamstrings. Use this exercise as part of a lower body super set, strength training workout, or cardio training session. Try to get the downward motion as slow as three counts down with an explosive one count up. As the feet come together, quickly separate them again for the downward phase.
Forearm Plank Technique
The forearm plank is a great core exercise common in workouts. But, most people do it with bad form and try to progress to quickly, either holding it past the point of good technique or making the exercise harder. Here, we break it all down from the top of the head all the way down to the feet to see what the body should be doing during this exercise. Even with the most in shape exercisers, this is a good one to go back to the basics and get it right.
During a walking lunge, you alternate legs moving forward. The forward motion keeps the focus and weight on the front leg rather than the back. Let the body tip forward slightly to allow for maximum glute activation. Drive through the heel as you extend through the hips and return to a starting position. Then alternate legs and continue.
The back squat requires good range of motion at the ankles, knees, and hips. Once form is perfected, add weight or speed to increase strength or lean body mass.
Abdominal Crunch Variations
Increase the intensity of an abdominal crunch by changing the arm position from across the chest, to behind the head, to extended overhead, and then to adding resistance.
Front squats place the load at the front of the body and usually involve lighter barbells under 50 pounds. It’s a good alternative for a back squat for people with neck pain but proper core engagement must be maintained to prevent low back strain.
Butt Kick Jump
A plyometric and power move, the butt kick jump works fast twitch fibers in the lower body. Pair it with a strength squat exercise for a super set designed to increase strength, power, and lean body mass.
A curtsy lunge is a variation of the traditional lunge. Because of the hip rotation and forward flexion, it increases stress placed on the glute medius and glute maximus. Perform alternating or all on one side. To increase intensity, add weight, increase the tempo, or make it plyometric.
A Decline pushup is a progression from a standard pushup. The feet are placed higher than the hands, shifting the weight from behind to more distribution at the upper body. Starting in a standard pushup, slowly progress my several inches at a time.
This is a variation from a standard pushup where the hands are placed on the floor closer together, with the thumb and index fingers of each hand touching to create a “diamond” gap. It increases the focus on the shoulders and triceps.
A jump squat is a plyometric version of the basic squat. It builds power and strength, while burning plenty of calories. Use it as part of a power workout, an interval in HIIT, or part of a functional fitness workout. Get the full squat technique breakdown here: