Heard of this?: Lunge with Reaches Progression

Merry belated Christmas everyone! 

I don’t know about you, but I just had an all-around amazing holiday weekend.  For part of the weekend I went to Newburgh, NY (right near West Point) to visit my 94-year-young grandmother, “Granny” Cornish.  I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like to, and let me tell you, this woman is a true inspiration.  She lost her husband two years ago at the age of 94 (she was 92 at the time) and has still managed to thrive- completely on her own!  She still has the same house that my mom and her siblings grew up in, and she takes care of everything!  Sitting back while she told stories this weekend I actually listened to her recall details, names, places with amazing clarity, even filling in the blanks as my mom talked about different things!  I think we can all agree that we would love to live a long life, but even more so, I hope to live a life of such prosperity.  I don’t mean riches, but love, great company, family, and “completeness” as my Granny has.  Seriously amazing inspiration…

Okay, so I know I’m coming in a little late on this one, but she didn’t have internet, and I wasn’t about to leave to go find some.  So here goes- for installment number 3 of “Heard of this?” we are going to talk about a pretty cool lunging pattern you can use in your warm-ups:  a lunge with reaches progression.  The reaches are to your instep, a t-spine rotation, and a posterolateral reach. 

When teaching this exercise, I have found that most people have trouble stabilizing at first (if the back knee is off of the floor).  As a result, I use a three part progression to teach this exercise that you’ll see in the video below.  It’s not as exciting as some of the stuff that Todd and I have uploaded to Youtube and/or presented on here in the past, but I think the resuts we’ve experienced from using the progression are pretty cool.  While I started off using the progression as a means to learn the drill, we have since begun using it as a warm-up, moving through all three stages at one time…

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*tip: squeeze your glutes like CRAZY to stabilize!

The other thing that we typically precede the exercise with is a modified “captain morgan” drill that I learned while working in physical therapy.  You can see a regular “captain morgan” here:

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What we do for the modified version is stand with our side directly against a wall (the side that the leg and hip are flexed to 90 degrees).  Rather than just raise the leg, we want to try and actively raise it to above 90 degrees while fully extending the hip and knee on the base leg.  All the while you want to drive the flexed side outward, into the wall.  When done correctly, your base leg (mainly the glutes) will be on fire!  I will try and remember to add a video for this tomorrow.  In the meantime, here is a picture of Johnny Bedford and Dustin Pague (TUF 14 cast members and current UFC fighters) performing the drill.

Dustin, pictured left, is performing the drill with closer to optimal form than Johnny, pictured right (it was Johnny’s first day). 

 The combination of these exercises does a great job of activating the hips through both static and dynamic contractions in multiple planes of movement.  Plus, it’s a little more fun to do than your typical walking lunges, or whatevern it is that you might be doing to warm up now.  And if not, well then you’re just too cool…

Until next time,




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Chris Merritt

Strength Coach/ B.S. Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University/ FMS/ Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist/ Certified Kettlebell Instructor/ Owner of Beyond Strength Performance and Beyond Strength Performance NOVA

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