Traveling Posterior Lunge
Pattern Practice Warm Up
Improving and or maintaining movement skill should be a primary goal of any fitness program. Pattern practice is the term we use in physical therapy to describe training to improve movement. Ongoing dedication to many repetitions of a beneficial movement pattern builds the neuromuscular hardware that keeps the body graceful and injury resistant. The best pattern practice activities require a level of mental engagement. You most focus on the movement or you will not be successful. Read the article and watch the video for a demonstration of the traveling posterior lunge.
Physical therapist Gray Cook uses the term “loaded yoga” to describe mindful movement training. The traveling posterior lunge is a drill that demands reciprocal hip mobility, core stability, balance, and single leg strength. Pattern practice becomes more demanding with vertical or horizontal displacement, adding resistance, or a balance challenge. You get all three with ongoing devotion to the traveling posterior lunge.
You need a 30 foot, clutter free runway. Stand with your back to the runway. Step back with the right leg and let the left knee bend. Plant the right foot and push back up to standing with the left leg. Repeat with the left leg reaching back and push up with right. Travel down the runway, rest and then return.
I teach the left hand forward as the left leg moves back and the right hand forward as the right leg goes back. In the event of a fall, the more automatic “getting the hands up” becomes the better. Sports performance programs teach an arms overhead movement to improve thoracic spine mobility. Choose the one that feels more comfortable.
As you get better at the traveling posterior lunge, you may want to add a medicine ball to the routine. I like the large fourteen inch diameter balls. Start with a light ball and reach it forward with every posterior lunge.
Watch video of the exercises here.
Work on becoming more graceful in your movement practice. Slow the movement down and focus on how your body feels during the exercise. Hold the portions of the movement pattern you find challenging. Train away right versus left movement restrictions.
Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS