Lunge with side stretch
Despite the similarity in the pose itself, the lunge with side stretch is a completely different exercise than Yoga's High Lunge as it is performed dynamically.
Unlike the yoga pose, dynamic stretch has no holding time during the dynamic movement, maybe for a split second, but no more than that.
When you stretch dynamically, you are moving fluidly through the exercise, and that's the whole point of dynamic exercises.
The idea behind dynamic stretching is to get a specific group of muscles and joints to move fluidly through a full range of motion to increase blood flow to the area. This promotion of more blood flow is greater in dynamic stretches than static stretches or as general warm-ups like running on the treadmill or biking etc..
University of Virginia recommends performing them before sports events or more vigorous activities such as your workouts.
They add "Stretching out muscles by using movements similar to those that occur during [workouts] accustoms the body to those movements and oxygenates muscles to improve strength, balance and overall performance."
A well planned dynamic stretching routine can reduce injuries, muscle strains, improve flexibility, and have both immediate and long-term performance benefits.
According coreperfromance.com, lunge with side flexion stretches the hip flexor of the back leg, in the glute and groin of the front leg.
By flexing torso side way, you are also stretching the lateral muscles of your torso.
One thing to be mindful when performing this lunge with side stretch or any other dynamic stretches for the matter is, dynamic stretching is about controlled leg and arm swings that gently take you to the limits of your range of motion and that you should be gentle and perform the side torso stretch with control.
A stretching article published on MIT.edu warns the difference between dynamic ballistic stretches.
Unlike dynamic stretches that take movements within your range of motion, ballistic stretches attempt to take a part of the body beyond its range of motion. They are faster in tempo and tend to be more "jerky", MIT adds.
|10 reps on each side||2-3||Easy||Gym or Home|
This stretch is not one of ballistic stretches. Take it slow (but no holding!) and treat the movement as a "controlled" movement.
How to perform the stretch:
- Stand tall with your chest up, shoulder blades back and down and arms at your sides.
- Step forward into a lunge with your right foot in front, knee bent (as close to a 90-degree angle as possible) directly over your right ankle, hips square to the front.
- Raise your left arm overhead, and bend to the right, using your right hand against your hip (or wall) for support as needed.
- Breathing naturally, feel a deep stretch in the front of your back leg and on the side of your left torso, pause 1 seconds.
- Lower the arm back down, and come back to center, then push and forward into your next lunge with your left left leg. Bending to your left side. Continue alternating for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Tips: keep your glute engaged and fully contract, in the bottom position specially to enhance the stretch in your hip flexor. Also keep your front knee behind your toes.
Originally published February 2014. Updated August 2015.