Tip: Lateral Lunge Hold with Spinal Rotation

This targets the adductors, and it'll help you maintain a neutral lumbo-pelvic complex.

The adductors are a forgotten muscle group, and targeting them is often the "magic antidote" to lifters' problems.

How To Do It

Since this multi-movement drill is dependent on your ability to open up the groin to achieve a deep lateral lunge with the maintenance of a neural-ish spinal position, that's where you should start first. Here's how to open up your lateral lunge pattern the way it's supposed to be executed:

  1. Start in an athletic stance with feet under the hips, toes facing forwards, and pre-tension through the glutes, core, and shoulders.
  2. Slowly step your right foot directly lateral to your starting base and keep the toe pointing forward.
  3. Smoothly descend into the movement by allowing your right hip to hinge back while bending your right knee.
  4. Don't let your right knee fly forward. You'll need full control of the movement to go deep.
  5. While maintaining full body tension, actively pull your right side deep into the lateral lunge range of motion while your hands move forward to counter the movement's center of mass.

Warning: Relearning the stability and mobility required to execute a perfect lateral lunge is the first step here. So if you're going to half-ass the next component of the drill without mastering the lateral lunge, stop. Master it by getting depth without rounding your lower back. Your focus should be on moving deliberately and keeping full body tension with an emphasis placed on the contraction of the glutes and core.

Many times it's not your "tight adductors" holding you back; it's your lack of hip and core stability that send apprehensive signals through your body to lock down movement. So before you drive your car straight through the parking brake, work hard to let the parking brake off and drive forward freely.

The Next Steps

If you've mastered the lateral lunge, progress to the next steps below, spinal rotation:

  1. Out of the right lateral lunge position, maintain full body tension with your hands in front of the body countering your center of mass.
  2. Slowly place your right hand down flat on the ground right next to the arch of your right foot, and bring the left hand along next to the right.
  3. Start to rotate your left hand up in an arcing-like motion, allowing your thoracic spine, shoulder blade, and rib cage to move alongside the shoulder leading the movement.
  4. Follow the rotating left hand with your eyes and head, moving the spine as a unit from the neck to mid-back.
  5. Once you've achieved an end range rotation overhead, come back down through the same range of motion and repeat.

When To Program This

Add this into any type of dynamic warm-up. I've used this drill before deadlift and box squat days to mobilize and activate the adductor group, which is a primary stabilizer in both of these lifts (especially sumo-style deadlifts).

Since the static hold of the bottom of the lateral lunge can be challenging on its own, limit the amount of shoulder rotations to 3-5, and alternate between sides between rotations to avoid falling into compensation patterns that cause a loss of position at the spine or lower body. Start with 3 sets of 3 reps per side, focusing on quality and smoothness of movement.