Exercises You Should Be Doing: Band Lateral Lunge with OH Driver

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I wish I were more like Ben Bruno. Sure the guy is a freak of nature when it comes to feats of strength, but even more admirable is the uncanny ability he has when it comes to thinking of cool and innovative exercises that I’ve never seen before. It’s like the guy has a perpetual light bulb above his head 24/7.

Just check out his Youtube page (HERE) if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

It’s almost like he lives in his very own evil strength and conditioning lair doing nothing but 1-legged squats and stroking his evil strength coach beard while he conjures up exercises that will make people hate life.

Okay, that’s unfair to Ben.  He’s actually a much more well rounded person than that, and  probably one of the most decent hunan beings I’ve ever met.

But dammit, two can place this game. I’ve been coming up with a few of my own diabolical exercises, too.  Albeit instead of a lair, I work out of  an evil strength coach volcano. That’s surrounded by sharks with freakin laser beams on their heads.


Take that Ben!

All tomfoolery aside (and yes, I just used the word tomfoolery in a sentence), one of the exercises we’ve been using a lot lately at Cressey Performance is something I kind of haphazardly came up with when discussing both the Pallof Press Band Squat and Split Squat HERE.

Band Lateral Lunge with Overhead Driver

What Does It Do:  This is one of those exercises that provides a lot bang for our training buck.

1. There’s a definite Pallof press “vibe” going on, so it’s safe to say that we have a strong rotary stability component in the mix.

2. Simultaneously there’s also a decent anti-extension component coming into play as the arms reach overhead.

Which is to say, with both elements combined, it’s an awesome “core” exercise that plays very well into what the core’s actual role is:  stability and subsequent transference of force between the lower and upper body.

3.  Too, there’s a fantastic lunge pattern involved that helps increase adductor length (something most people woefully lack), which in turn helps improve hip mobility in the frontal plane (but I guess you could argue the transverse plane as well when you factor in the pull of the band).

4.  I could probably come up with a few more benefits, but those are the ones that pop out at the moment.  It’s still up in the air whether or not doing this exercise increases the chances that girls will want to hang out with you.

Key Coaching Cues:  It’s important to note that those with limited shoulder flexion (whether it’s due to stiff lats or an overly kyphotic upper back) may not be the best suited for this exercise as they’ll inevitably compensate by going into excessive lumbar extension.

Another thing to consider is the lunge pattern itself.  Many trainees will make the mistake of lunging with more of a “quad dominant” pattern (knees translating forward over the toes) rather than sitting back into the hip and keeping more of a vertical shin angle.

This isn’t to say that it’s wrong (or bad) that the knees go over the toes; it’s just not ideal in my book. Especially when we’re trying to place more of an emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings anyways.

Lastly, it’s important to not allow the rib cage to flair out at any point – especially during the overhead portion.  Try to think about “locking” your rib cage down throughout the duration of the set.

And that’s about it. I usually shoot for 6-8 reps per side for a total of 2-3 sets.  Try it out today and let me know what you think.


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