The lunge with forward reach is a versatile exercise that can be used as part of a warm up or cool down.
- This exercise improves mobility in the thoracic spine in a standing position, and is ideal for those who have posture related stiffness and/or shoulder problems. It is also a great exercise as part of a general spine health routine.
- The movement focuses on thoracic flexion in a standing position, coupled with a forward lunge.
- Stand upright with arms overhead. Keep the core slightly engaged.
- Begin the movement by taking a small step forward. As you do, bend the upper back (thoracic spine) forwards, whilst keeping the arms straight.
- Try not to bend at the hips – keep the core engaged, and imagine you are reaching up and over (like casting a fishing rod). This action will ensure you bend from the thoracic spine, and not the lumbar spine.
- Hold the end position briefly, before returning to a full upright position. Repeat for time or reps. Be sure to alternate between legs.
Training tip: Try not to lunge too deep, just a small step is required. This will allow you to stabilize the core and focus on bending the upper back. Initially, the range of. I’ve meant may be small, but will Increase as you get warmer.
- Adequate thoracic mobility is essential for spinal and shoulder health. When the thoracic spine becomes too stiff, the shoulder blades can become misaligned, often favoring a forward position that can contribute to rounded shoulders this position places the upper trapezius and levator scapular in a strained position, placing further stress on the small rotator cuff muscles. Restoring mobility in the thoracic spine should be a long term strategy for those with rotator cuff problems, as well as for general spinal health.
- From a performance point of view, stiffness in the thoracic spine can significantly inhibit overhead movements, such as pressing, handstands, etc. during the lunge with forward reach, the forward bend is just as important as the return to an upright position. During the return, the focus should be on extending the thoracic spine, and not pulling the arms back.
- The ability to extend the hips is an essential skill daily function and sport. From bending and lifting to running and jumping, it not only moves the hips forward and upwards, it provides a stable base for the spine and shoulder girdle. When hip extension is performed on one leg, there is an increase in torsion through the hip joint and spine.
- When performed mindfully and in a controlled manner, this movement is a powerful alternative to traditional static stretching, and is best permed immediately foam rolling the upper back.
- The lunge with forward reach is best combined with other joint mobilizations, such as those found in the EVO App warm up workout titled ‘Dynamic Mobilization’.