Lunging can be used beneficially as a foundational exercise in your mobility & strength practice. I believe that lunging daily can help promote hip health, mobility, and lower body balance & stability. The hunched-forwards posture that's common of elderly folks is always related to poor hip extension, so lunging can be used as a tool to promote physical longevity.
In the following video, I'm demonstrating the High Lunge. Note that the back foot is supported by the ball-of-the-foot and is not flat-footed, like the warrior lunge in yoga.
The high lunge promotes flexibility in the hip flexors on the back leg. We are trying to target hip extension, so it's important to have the hips squared forwards and the back foot on the metatarsal heads (ball). This type of lunge lengthens the ilopsoas musculature which, when mobile, contributes to hip and lower back health.
The Low Lunge is similar to the High Lunge, only now you are sinking deeper. This variation increases the stretch and load on the hip flexors.
Key Points for the High and Low Lunge:
Front knee tracks towards the baby toe.
Aim for a sense of lower-body stability.
Distribute the weight evenly between both legs and feet.
Relax the upper body; try to eliminate unnecessary muscle tension.
Lengthen the spine by pressing the crown towards the ceiling.
Perform on both sides to equilibrate the training effect.
The two arm positions shown in the video are arms at side and arms overhead.
3-5 breaths on each side can be a great starting point; with practice, it's possible to hold for longer durations, such as 10 breaths.
Lunging in your Movement Lifestyle
Lunging can be practiced beneficially throughout the day, and not only in your exercise sessions. I encourage you to think about your movement not only in terms of exercise, but also about how you can move more within your lifestyle. This is the bigger picture: your body is constantly adapting to movement or lack of movement, so it's valuable to distribute more range-of-motion throughout your day.
For more information about The Movement Lifestyle, please visit this article.
Here are some example of how you could use lunging in your daily life:
As part of your exercise routine or yoga practice.
First thing in the morning after your Isolated Joint Mobility routine.
When you step out of your car or out of a chair, do a lunge on each side.
In between emails, do a lunge on each leg to promote hip health.
If you observe dogs and cats, you’ll notice that they generally stretch every time they get up from resting. They'll do a downward dog and a lunge!
Stretching is a part of nature’s wisdom: stretch everyday, throughout your day, especially after getting up from resting.
Take care and keep moving