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Where Most Go Wrong With MAX Lunges

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She thought I was crazy at the time, “what is this for?” she asked. When I had this idea for lunges I took Jessica to the local park with me to try it out. It looked a bit awkward and the giant fountain going off in the background made for a dramatic environment for what I didn’t realize would become one of our most popular DVRT exercises, MAX lunges!


The idea came to me as I worked with our Ultimate Sandbags in my “lab” of my garage. What I started to think about was “why not try to move the Ultimate Sandbag in ways that no other tool could move?” I knew we could hold the Ultimate Sandbag in so many different ways, but actually moving the USB during the movement was something that I had never seen before or thought any other training tool could really do.

Okay, it was unique, but what makes MAX lunges so important? For one, as we lunge in the sagittal plane (forward or backwards) the movement of the Ultimate Sandbag goes through the transverse and ultimately ends up with frontal plane resistance. Meaning, we have to create strength moving backwards like RESISTING the forces that the Ultimate Sandbag causes on our body. The result is building more sophisticated stability training along with power and strength.

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The second valuable and often overlooked aspect of MAX lunges was they allow for thoracic mobility while we create lumbar and lower body stability. Most people move in the gym as though the body is locked as one piece, however, when we walk and run we get thoracic rotation that helps us move more efficiently while our core and lower body tries to maintain stability. This not only means we build more true functional fitness, but we can build better upper body mobility and power in the lower body at the same time.

Fast forward almost 15 years from that fateful day in the park and while we have had MAX lunges as part of our system for that time, people still get keys of the movement wrong. Like what?

Progression of MAX Lunges

People often see a drill and just want to do that exercise. However, everything in DVRT is based on usually several other exercises. So, JUST trying to teach someone MAX lunges can cause frustration and lack of success in the exercise. What do we do?

Nidal Sinnuqrut in Germany shows a great foundation form of lunges that helps us build to the MAX version. The shoulder position is usually not appreciated by most people because it looks “simple”. However, the shoulder position really forces us to resist lateral motion and during a movement like lunges this really challenges core and pelvic stability. We should see fluidity and confidence in this DVRT drill before moving on to more complex lunges.

One of my favorite and most important progressions is Front Loaded MAX lunges. It does make the movement more stable, but more important we teach essential concepts for MAX lunges. The Front Load position activates more core engagement and pulling the USB into our body and trying to break it apart with our forearms helps us create more stability. We can go slow and move into faster levels to get ready for the deceleration of the exercise.

Where MANY people go wrong in these MAX lunges is they break it up into lunge and rotate which defeats the point of the exercise. Others try to over rotate the movement. We don’t want rotations of the lumbar spine which means we are aiming for just a slight movement of the thoracic spine. Strength Coach, Martin Adame shows great MAX lunges and powerful ways to build up and progress forward in their use!

This means for going to MAX lunges (the MAX refers to multiple axis) we have to learn to not to over rotate with the upper body, keep tension in the handles by pulling the handles apart, and stepping into our lunges with both feet being highly active to give us stability and power.

Douglas Sheppard of J and D Fitness does a great job of breaking down how we introduce our MAX lunges after spending time on these DVRT progressions.

DVRT Master, Steve Holiner, gives some additional important cues to think about in your MAX lunges because most people go too fast, too early in the learning the right way to move the USB. DVRT coach, Lina Midla shows how MAX lunges should look from some of the great progressions to the highest levels. Even when I am swinging the USB in the MAX lunge (which is a more complex kettlebell swing) I am in control of the weight the whole time by how I use by body and the tension I give against the Ultimate Sandbag. Owning the details is what makes this a powerhouse exercise versus just another “cool” drill to try.

It is important to us that you understand the why’s and how’s to our DVRT movements because the magic truly is in the details! Coach Cari Satre shows how we can progress from foundational to more complex versions of the movement. One is based on another so simply start at the beginning and layer your progressions and see how accessible these movements really can be in your training.

This week only we are offering a great package of our Core Ultimate Sandbag, a mini band, a xl mini band and our Better Backs, Shoulders, and Knees 2.0 program for FREE. Just use code “core” when you check out HERE


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A post shared by Cari Satre (@coachcariii)