Some Things Are Perfect
We continually doubt the existence of perfection. We preach against striving for it, believing in it, and most are quick to point out that nothing is perfect. And most suggest a perfect world would be a bad thing – that if we lived in a perfect world, what would our contrast be…? How would we appreciate anything…? We would be as clinical and unloving as cockroaches and sea cucumbers.
A science teacher once told me,
“Where there is no intelligence there can be no stupidity. Where there is no stupidity there can be no mistakes – only happenings.”
He continued to argue,
“That is why insects will someday inherit the Earth – by default, because they are perfect at happenings.”
Though I don’t believe in the potential for a universal perfection, or of a perfect world run by insects or humans, I do believe in the manifestation of perfection in many aspects of life; moments, gestures, creatures, feelings, and aesthetics to name a few. New England might be a perfect place to see foliage in autumn. Diamonds have been cut and rated as absolutely flawless. A heartfelt “I love you” at a time when it is truly needed might make for a perfect moment. And in that vein I offer you…
…lunges, the perfect exercise.
Lunge Is Served
There are numerous varieties of the standard lunge. There are walking lunges, Smith Machine lunges, reverse lunges, and many others variations performed with weights, medicine balls, exercise bands and beyond. My favorite though, and the lunges I do consider to be a perfect exercise, are lunges in place, with a torso rotation.
Lunges with a torso rotation are, in my mind, perfect for their unparalleled utility and helping to better coordinate the human body. Though there is an aesthetic value to any variety of lunge, lunges with a torso rotation, done correctly and practiced consistently, are the sum of strength, coordination, flexibility, balance, and done in the right protocol, can even have a significant cardiovascular effect.
Lunge With A Torso Rotation
The words and the cadence never change when I explain lunges to a student:
- Step out slowly and simultaneously extend and raise your hands to a point slightly above eye level, and then stop.
- Pushing your hands away from you, and keeping them slightly above eye level, slowly rotate in the direction of your forward leg as you lunge down.
- Keep the rotation in equal portion to the lunge.
- Lunge only as deep as your knees feel comfortable.
- Pause at the bottom to a complete stop.
- Though you are flatfooted on your forward leg, bare your weight over the heel of that foot.
- Your back foot will be on its toes.
- Slowly rotate back to center, in equal portion as your lunge rises, then stop.
- Then step back, lower your hands, and repeat with the opposing foot and rotate in that direction.
The Elevator Factor
When teaching lunges, I always explain them in what I call “elevator” terms. Most people I see do lunges step directly into the lunge – they step out and down simultaneously. In return, they step up and back simultaneously. This puts the knee at risk, enables momentum, and detracts from the utility of the movement. I teach, with all forms of lunges, to step out and STOP. Only then, do I direct the student to lunge straight down, pause and return straight up to a complete stop. Then, step back into the starting position. In this fashion, one can visualize the torso as an elevator in a shaft going straight down and returning straight up. Simply put, a lunge is just a 1-legged squat.
Though the video below does not include the torso rotation, but it’s a great visual explanation of lunging in place, done properly. One day I may actually learn edit, but in the mean time, there is this. Enjoy… rc
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