In this fourth week of providing exercises that are common in our athlete’s programs, we’re going to start talking about important variations of the fundamental movements that were discussed earlier. Mastery of the bodyweight squat and forward lunge is very important in developing balance and stability in a loaded, ready position. Head and chest are up, knees bent, hips down, feet flat. Only when athletes can demonstrate the ability to perform this movement for several repetitions with correct posture and balance of the entire body do we progress to more advanced movements. With any exercise, make sure you check with a qualified personal trainer and your physician before implementing into your program.
The side lunge is a great movement to introduce lateral movements into a workout program. Lateral movements (and rotation movements) are rarely included in common exercise programs, yet in hockey it is critical that they are included as much as possible. Hockey is a multi-directional sport; you should train in multi-directional when ready to do so.
The Side Lunge begins with a standing, ready position. Head and chest up, knees bent, feet flat. Keeping your right foot on the ground, take a comfortable step directly to the left with your left foot, maybe 2 or 3 feet, and load the left leg, keeping the head and chest up, dropping the hips towards the ground and allowing the knee to bend in the direction of the left toe, staying above the foot. You don’t need to go into a deep lunge, go as low as you comfortably can while maintaining good posture and technique. Slowly absorb into the lunge position, then push back with your left leg and return to the original starting position. Repeat with the right side to complete one repetition.
Typically I’ll start athletes with very shallow side lunges, instructing the players to not go very deep. As they feel more comfortable with their flexibility, balance and technique, they can start loading the outside leg more and more.