Using The Anterior Lunge To Screen An Athletes Lunge Pattern

I was recently reading the article titled “Using the Body Weight Forward Lunge to Screen an Athlete’s Lunge Pattern” that was published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal in 2009 and thought I would highlight some of the key take home messages as the lunge is something that we regularly use within our movement screening processes at Principle Four Osteopathy.

Key Messages

  • The lunge is one of the fundamental movement patterns that we perform in both sport and everyday life and therefore assessing it has relevance within both the injury prevention and management strategy.
  • The forward lunge is probably the most commonly performed lunge pattern performed.
  • The lunge is simple biomechanical terms could be described as a forward step that involves flexion of the forward hip and knee and dorsiflexion of the ankle whilst maintaining trunk stability.
  • The following factors can affect ones lunge pattern: anthropometrics, handedness, previous injury, lack of coordination, range of motion and balance.
  • The ankle is typically seen as a mobile joint and therefore poor control and lack of mobility can impact on ones ability to perform a lunge.  Common dysfunctions in movement can include turning the feet out, poor control of the foot arch, raising the heel on the front leg.  Poor movement patterns at the ankle can therefore result in increased forces through the knee and hip.
  • Common movement errors in the knee during a lunge include excessive mediolateral or anteroposterior movement.
  • Common movement errors seen at the hip/spine include posterior movement of the pelvis and lumbar extension during the lunge.  The desired movement through the hip should avoid mediolateral rotation or lateral dropping of the hip.
  • The lumbar spine/trunk should remain vertical throughout the lunge.  Common errors include excessive lumbar spine extension and rotation or side bending.
  • Whilst there has been little research into the head position during the lunge, a review of the head position and eye gaze with a back squat has shown that a downward head position or gaze can result in an increase in hip or trunk flexion.  A neutral head position is desired when performing a lunge.
  • When it comes to progressing ones lunge, adding stability to allow the individual go through a greater range of motion is one strategy to have them explore a full range lunge movement.
  • Progression can involve the individual performing a bodyweight lunge, followed by external loads.
  • When assessing ones lunge pattern we should assess from all three directions (anterior, lateral and posterior).

From an osteopathic point of view movement assessment and competency point of view for strength and conditioning.  Should there be any movement limitations, stability or motor control issues, your practitioner should be able to assess and identify where and which of these might be a factor for your lunge movement.  Based on these findings, appropriate movement progressions, mobility/flexibility and stability exercises will be prescribed to help you improve your lunge movement.

This blog was written by Osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.


Principle Four Osteopathy

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics.

The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.