How to do lunges 5 ways that wake up your body AND your brain

I have a teaching strategy I call What’s the WHY. 

A simple exercise like a lunge actually has a lot of components to it.  Let’s explore how to do lunges so they really zero in on a bunch of different benefits.

Follow along with the 20 minute video above for a delicious hip and core session!

You’ll do all 5 What’s the WHY versions:

  • Fascial Flow
  • Pelvis level in rotation
  • Stable pelvis, supple psoas
  • Focus: lower abs
  • Pelvis level on a horizontal line
  • And then a bonus challenge: can you get your leg vertical AND your pelvis level? Woo, that’s a hard one! (Here’s a pelvic listing video that will make a huge difference to getting this to work well)

And here’s an important note: you probably won’t be the same from side to side. And that’s ok! 

As a mover, thinking about a specific WHY gives you the freedom to move past a presumed outcome. Maybe you think you’re “supposed” to do a lunge so it’s a big, stretchy motion. And it certainly can be! But it doesn’t have to be. There are no rules about what your outcome has to be!

What if you want to know how to do lunges that target your hip joints? Or your balance? Or the combined actions of stabilising your pelvis while allowing your upper body to be fluid and mobile? Those are all really different WHY’s, and they aren’t easy to do all at the same time.

Focusing on a specific WHY gives your brain the chance to let go of other distractions and put value on one specific part of a movement. And that means you get to learn more about your own body and how it moves, how it works, what your patterns are.

As a movement teacher, having a What’s the WHY approach means you can breathe life into any motion, exercise or pose. You can take the same move and keep cycling through the different Why’s for a whole class. 

You can use it to match different WHY’s to different students, so they all get a benefit from the move that serves them best.

For instance in this series, a student with joint hyperlaxity might feel unstable in the fascial flow version, but learn how to do lunges that feel strong and amazing with the pelvis level in rotation version. Or the focus on the lower abs version.

A student with arthritis in their hips might find the a gentle version of the fascial flow eases and lubricates their joints in a way that feels wonderful. Or maybe it’s a bit too much, but the stable pelvis/supple psoas gives them the stability they need AND some freedom to move in their torso.

Regardless of your WHY (and of course there are lots more than 5!), this kind of focus not only builds strength, balance and mobility, it adds variety and novelty to your movement patterns. And for a final benefit, it wakes up your brain and helps to brighten your connection to the wonder that is your body. 

Alison Crouch

I’m the owner of Boomerang Pilates and creator of the Move SMART program. I teach teachers how to incorporate sustainable movement and authentic teaching in their classes.

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