Exercises You Should Be Doing: KB Lateral Lunge with Pulse

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Some of you may recall an exercise I featured a year or two ago that I stole from Dan John called the Goblet Squat with Pulse.  For those who may need a gentle reminder you can click HERE to get the gist.

Similarly, today’s exercise takes the same “pulse” concept yet adds a slight modification in the form of a lateral lunge (and some pretty sweet techno in the background).

KB Lateral Lunge with Pulse

Who Did I Steal it From:  Well I guess by extension Dan John, but given I haven’t yet seen this tweak anywhere else on the interwebz, Cressey Performance is calling dibs on this one.


What Does It Do:  I love this exercise for people with short or stiff adductors for obvious reasons, but really this is a fantastic exercise for just about anyone as it gets them out of their comfort zone in the sagittal plane. Moreover, the pulse component adds a significant anti-flexion flavor into the mix that Ben & Jerry can’t touch, not to mention, by association, helps encourage people to maintain more t-spine extension which is never a bad thing.

Key Coaching Cues: First of all don’t be a hero and automatically reach for the 24 kg kettlebell, because that ain’t gonna happen. As far as weight selection goes, I’d start on the conservative side – the lighter the better.

One major point to dive into is how to perform a lateral lunge.  Many people make the mistake of stepping to the left or right and allowing their knee to translate too far forward over their toes.  Now I’m not one of those alarmist who feels that the knees should never go past the toes (try walking up a flight of stairs without that happening, or play a sport), but in this scenario I coach people to make their step/lunge to either side and to SIT BACK into the hip.

The knee is obviously going to come forward slightly, but the heel should stay DOWN and glued to the floor at all times. If anything, the tibia (lower leg) should stay a bit more vertical, but if you’re making an effort to sit back into the hip this shouldn’t be an issue.

Once in the bottom position, press the KB out in front of you until your arms are fully extended (elbows locked out), and pause for 1-2 second count.

Bring the KB back towards your torso, return back to the starting position and repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

I generally shoot for anywhere from 6-8 reps per side.

For those who don’t have access to kettlebells, you should still be able to perform this exercise with a standard dumbbell.  Except in this case you’ll have to hold the DB with both hands wrapped around the handle.  It’s a bit more cumbersome, but doable.

And there you have it.  Try it today and let me know what you think!

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  • DB instead of KB ok? yes, no? o.O

    • TonyGentilcore

      Read the entire post, Matt (ie….check out the last paragraph)….;o)

  • Adam

    great exercise, love this for hockey players with tight adductors and weak single leg core strength. legit description too!

    • TonyGentilcore

      Excellent exercise for hockey (and soccer) players.

  • Gimlet

    I’ve got dibs on Cossack Squat with pulse. The toe up makes it like totally different. Seriously, though, I will definitely try this out.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Let me know what you think when you do!

  • R Smith


    I started programming lateral lunges in last month. Ouch! Three sets of 8 could not come to an end fast enough. However, it was good to rock an exercise that I used to butcher (stiff, tight) sans weight. The pulse addition will make it even less fun, which means I’ll love it.


    • TonyGentilcore

      hahaha. Let me know how it goes. I think the masochist in you will definitely have an appreciation for it.

  • Russell Demczak

    Great exercise Tony, one we have been doing for a couple of years in our facility. One tip from experience – you will eventually come across a trainee who despite how much you coach them up believe the end goal is to get the bell by the knee by any means necessary. They’ll rotate their torso and shoulders. Reach and extend their arms laterally. Just about everything you don’t want them to do, they’ll do it just so they can get that darn bell by their knee and give the illusion that they have actually shifted their weight. I’ve found if I just let them hold the bell in one hand at their side like they would for a loaded carry and reach for the inside of the foot around the arch or ankle it cleans things up almost immediately. I can’t explain why – but it works. All the sudden they no longer have the burning desire to rotate and they actually shift weight and hip-hinge. You lose the pulse here, but still a valuable exercise. On a side note – my G/F and I are visiting Boston this weekend and are hoping our schedule permits visiting both Cressey Performance and Coach Boyle’s facility – so we may see you Saturday morning.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Thanks for the insight Russell – really appreciate it! Hope to see you at CP this week!

      • Russell Demczak

        Sorry we missed you this weekend, weather/flight delays threw our itinerary for a loop. At least I made it to Mike’s Pastry and Regina’s. I try to get to Boston a few times a year so we hope to catch up with you guys soon.

        • TonyGentilcore

          No worries Russell. Maybe next time!

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  • Rees

    Nice Tunies

    • TonyGentilcore

      HAHA. You can always tell the time of day I film these videos because once Eric leaves, and the coast is clear, it’s techno/house city up at CP!!!

  • Nick

    Hi Tony,

    may I ask how much forward lean you consider ‘okay’? I seem to struggle with keeping more upright in this exercise. Have you experienced this with clients and how have you addressed this?

    I’m currently doing a lot of upper back band work throughout the day to help but would be interested in your ideas.



  • Paul Bruce

    When you program lateral lunges, are they more of a knee-dominant or hip-dominant exercise? Can’t tell…

    • TonyGentilcore

      Well, technically, because I prefer to cue people to “sit back into their hip,” it’s more hip dominant.

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