You can never do enough unilateral work in your training. One of the reasons I enjoy this alternative to traditional sagittal plane lunges is because you work your adductors and lateral stabilization of your pelvis. If you ever watch somebody run or walk, you’ll see a lot of tilting and shifting of their hips side to side. This can stem from several postural patterns, though it can typically originate from a lack of lateral hip stability. Using these lunges you can address abducting strength, as well as adduction control.
First establish a sound front rack position with lighter than usual kettlebells. I advise anybody I’m training to first do this without any weight so that they can better understand their mechanics and feel precisely what I want them to feel. Doing this unloaded is going to teach you two important factors when it comes to lateral lunging: decelerating your bodyweight in space to land in an efficient position (shoot for the same spot each time), and secondly- how to produce a reciprocal push-off that is effective and powerful. If you’re still unsteady on your feet, forget the dynamic version of this exercise, and instead do a static or stationary variation moving through the range of motion.
You want to feel your hips hinge back in space, and focus your mind on feeling your intrinsic core muscles engage. Your straight leg needs to adducting into the floor, while simultaneously keeping the outer heel grounded down, preventing eversion (collapsing of the medial arch of your foot). You can adjust this by changing the degree to which your foot is planted. When you land the stepping leg, stick the heel down first, flex the hip back, reach your torso about 30-45 degrees forward, and track that bent knee with the toes. Your extended leg side should have the adductor working to stabilize and control that side of the pelvis. When it is time to explode up, drive through your heel and pull with the inner heel of the extended leg. There you have it, the lateral squat / lunge.
There are many small steps toward ‘core transformation’, that is, evolving your core to stabilize and function in a different multi-planar plane. At first this exercise will feel foreign, though it’s going to work your brain and your body to develop heightened awareness of your body in space. Not only that, but it is going to build lateral and medial strengthening to the tendons of the knee, ankle, and hip. You’re going to develop improved reflexivity in the coronal plane, as well as address your obliques which are essential to creating full core awareness. Do this for 2-5 sets of 3-8 reps per side and take your time! Remember that speed hides need- so if you’re doing them fast it does not necessarily mean you’re doing them as optimally as you could be. Tune in to the precision of the exercise and feel your muscle systems work. Balance your body out and incorporate more frontal plane work into your routine! Let me know how it goes.
Train with purpose, move with mindfulness.