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The Best Exercise for Strength & Mobility

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for us as we’ve had programs from Tokyo to Chicago to Baltimore and Knoxville. All the time spent traveling is worth it when you see fitness professionals become excited to learn solutions they can use right away! Especially when it comes to building better strength while also working on mobility.

sandbag training

Most examples of these ideas on social media are cool, but they are more demonstration of strength and mobility, they don’t teach you much how to improve them. I hear the frustration that fitness professionals have in the fact in many of the ideas they see aren’t practical in helping clients.

strength training

The best ideas come from both simple things done exceptionally well. Thinking a bit differently, the answer to one of the best exercises for both strength and stability is performing a crossover lunge. I often joke that women love to call it a curtsy lunge, while most guys will call it a dragon lunge. I find crossover both description and appealing to both;)

When I started in fitness I was told that this type of lunge is a transverse (rotational) lunge. As I thought about it the past few years, that isn’t really accurate. The goal of the crossover lunge is actually RESIST rotation to build hip stability, mobility, and strength.

sandbag workouts

The crossover deadlift is a bit easier to introduce as it doesn’t take the same level of mobility as the lunge. 

If we look a bit deeper it makes sense that the crossover lunge is a frontal plane lunge. We know we lunge forwards or backwards and that has our body moving both directions in the sagittal plane. It stands to reason then that if I can lunge out to the side and that is frontal plane, then I can also go the other direction. Except we are less stable and have even greater demands of mobility and strength.

Fitness pro, Jon Erik-Kawamoto shows a great hip hinge and lunge combination that takes your strength training far more 3-D

In the past, I dreaded trying to teach this great exercise. Because I didn’t know how to get clients to be successful with this exercise. What made the exercise great also made it challenging to help people achieve their performance.

That is why in DVRT we think what are the best ways to help people learn how to create success. One of the biggest aspects is the use of the feet. Since our body is challenging frontal plane stability, we need to really use the front foot to create that stability as much as possible.

The biggest area of the foot to cue is the big toe. If the big toe grabs the ground it provides stability all the way up the body and give control over the knee and hip. We will get better mobility in our hip because of the stability the leg ad lower creates.

sandbag workouts

Using a band around the ankle can be a great way to cue using the feet. 

Just like we always say, there are two ends of getting our core active. Now that we talked about the bottom, let’s discuss the top. That is so important because the tension we can create with the Ultimate Sandbag and have the load of the Ultimate Sandbag itself, we can really help teach how to use the core and stabilize the hips. In other words, we create a foundation to develop better movement.

DVRT Master, Evan Supanich , of Vive Fitness shows how we create this tension by pulling the Ultimate Sandbag into our bodies. The band helps create more tension and keep an upright torso as we move into this challenging pattern.

Once we establish the crossover lunge, then we can add challenge by going to our MAX position. Becoming more reactive brings the training to our core and glutes to a much higher level.

Using kettlebells in the overhead position can raise a greater stress to the crossover lunge through using a longer lever arm to the core. Now we have to stabilize the trunk to a higher degree and move in a more complex movement. These types of exercises really show where some of our weaknesses lie in our overall training!

Eventually we can put these concepts all together with the crossover lunge in a hover position focusing upon our Arc Press. This is both a powerful lower body, core, and pressing exercise. In teaching  to use the whole body we find performing more stable exercises SO much easier!

Sure, some people find these to look like novel exercises, but the truth is that they show higher levels of those functional fitness qualities of strength, stability, and mobility. Most of all it does so in showing us how well we can connect our lower body, core, and upper body into more dynamic movements.

The goal is to show you how we can make things challenging when we use the idea of lifting more with lifting smarter. How much we can train in a single exercise and learn so much more about our body and how we move. Isn’t that what we want to teach people in creating more sophisticated forms of strength!

Don’t miss our upcoming DVRT Workshops HERE and DVRT Certifications HERE. A great opportunity to revolutionize how you see training!