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Reverse Lunge Analysis and Breakdown

The reverse lunge

The reverse lunge begins in a standing position with both legs together. To perform a reverse lunge, we need to take a step back. So your first goal is to create momentum with one leg with a pendulum swing. So we take a step.

To begin the swing phase of a limb, your body must first shift its weight to one leg. That is, standing up you have 50% pressure on one leg and 50% pressure on the other leg. You shift a percentage of this pressure from one leg to the other. This is the definition of the phase of change. The switch phase is complete once the body has transitioned to single limb support (SLS). SLS is characterized by 100% of the pressure transferred to one leg.

Once the weight or pressure has been transferred to a single limb, the body accelerates the leg without pressure and thus begins the swing phase. This acceleration is created through synapses between our brain and our muscles. Thus we have the neurokinetic force. The oscillation phase is characterized by its acceleration.

For the reverse lunge, the swing phase is through hip extension or behind the body. As the leg gains acceleration, neurokinetically, it gains enough acceleration to carry our HAT (head, arms, trunk). The acceleration in our HAT comes from the acceleration of the lower limb, making this limb a musculoskeletal system. It is also important to note that movement here is measured by the change in the center of gravity (COG) of the body, which is located approximately in the pevicular region in the lower part of the trunk.

We have completed the step once the moving (swinging) limb touches the ground. The moving limb then enters the initial contact phase which is the beginning of the deceleration process. The pull of deceleration for our rocket scientist. The initial contact phase is also characterized by an increase in our base of support, so the body is more balanced. (Also due to the fact that you have more limbs on the ground!)

Now that the rear leg is in contact with the ground, the body begins to transfer pressure or weight to the rear leg (weight acceptance phase). For a reverse lunge, the full body weight is NEVER fully transferred to the back leg. {Side note: Full weight transfer would occur in dynamic reverse lunges aka walking backwards}

As the body transfers weight to the back leg, it slows down (decelerates) the momentum it previously created to take the step. The SAME limb that sped up is now trying to slow down!

PAUSE

So if you wanted too, you could stop all your momentum here. However, he would have simply taken a step back. The reverse lunge is a continuation of this back step, so all of your momentum doesn’t stop with the back step.

RESUME

Introduction Training Axis

+X: forward

-X: Forward

+Y: UP

-Y:Down

+Z: Right

-Z: Left

So I’ve stepped back, finally, and I have momentum in the negative X direction (backward). I accept the weight on the back leg or on the swing leg, thus slowing down by the momentum of the body. For the reverse lunge, I continue this -X deceleration as I lower my center of gravity. My COG is lowered (expressed as -Y) through flexion of the knee joint.

In knee flexion, the hamstrings contract as the quadriceps stretch. The hamstrings are loaded like pushing a spring down, while the quads are stretched to decelerate the force. {Muscle as described through deceleration phase}

-X’s momentum decelerated completely once my knees reached 90 degrees. This grade is the most mechanically advantageous for your muscle to produce force. And also slow down force. This is why heavy squatters go 90 degrees in the elevator.

You have now successfully lowered your COG once you have slowed all momentum. This is halfway there! Now, to complete the move, you must accelerate back into position. Remember our spring loaded hamstrings and stretched quads? They are downloaded to create acceleration. Therefore, the acceleration of this movement comes from the contraction of the quadriceps and the stretching of the hamstrings. Therefore, these muscles accelerate your loaded limb to create momentum to lift your HAT back into position (moving in the +Y direction). This is standing up. Note that the standing position easily slows down the momentum of the lunge.

muscle function

In the first acceleration phase of the reverse lunge (step back), the main hip extensors are activated. These are your glutes (all fibers) and hamstrings.

During the deceleration phase, your COG is lowered by flexing your knee. Thus, the hamstrings contract and the quads stretch. This is a common loading position and will create dynamic stability in the swing limb. Also, due to the unilateral loading of the front leg, you will develop stability in the hip, knee and ankle.

The return phase of the movement is motivated by the acceleration due to hip flexion. The quadriceps stretch is unloaded and the hamstrings jump and stabilize the flexion. {Much stronger acceleration than our previous hip extension}. The COG rises and we return to our standing position.

It is because of these muscular functions that the reverse lunge is said to be a unilateral exercise that works the decelerating function of the glutes and hamstrings. Or in the gym talk. Work your glutes and hamstrings!

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