It may seem hard to believe but side lunges could be your secret to powering your spring training. Find out why lateral exercises are an often overlooked but very critical training move.
By Pamela Mazzuca HBSc. Kin, Athletic Therapist
Running is very linear in nature. Your body only moves, and thus only strengthens, in the sagittal plane (backwards and forwards). This one-dimensional strength of the quadriceps, hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings, can lead to muscular imbalances, which will require strength training to help offset.
Runners should strengthen in the frontal plane (from side to side) to improve muscular imbalances and to strengthen weak hip adductor (inner thigh) muscles. Strong hip adductors will help improve your biomechanics by helping improve the stability of your pelvis and knees when you run. When your muscles are strong enough to maintain a neutral alignment of your knees and pelvis, you become a more efficient runner, which helps you maintain your power, improve your athletic performance and it decreases your risk of injury.
A great exercise to train your body side to side and to strengthen your hip adductors is the side lunge. You should try and integrate three sets of 12-15 repetitions per leg of side lunges two to three times a week for optimal results.
How to: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Take a large step to the right with your right foot, your toes should be turned out slightly on both feet. Shift your weight over your right foot and bend your right knee until your right thigh is almost parallel to the ground, while keeping your left leg straight. Step back to centre and repeat with the left leg.