Improve Your Warm-Up With The Lunge Matrix

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Think about your current method (if you can call it that) of warming up. Perhaps you bend over and strrrrrretch to tie those shoes and then off you go? I think we can do better. There's certainly a more optimal way of preparing the body for a run. You could practice visualization, foam roll your whole body, perform dynamic mobility exercises for every joint, walk for a few minutes, ease into a jog...

But of course, who wants to do all of that when the only opportunity you have to run is a 45 minute lunch break? You'll end up with a 30 minute warm up, a 10 minute run and, wait, what about the cool down?!

This week I want to share a very simple warm up that carries with it several benefits like better muscle activation, range of motion, and potential injury prevention. It's called the Lunge Matrix and was developed by a Physical Therapist named Gary Gray, but I learned it from Jay Johnson, a coach out of Boulder, CO.

It's 5 different lunges and you'll do 5 lunges per side, alternating legs.

  • Forward Lunge
  • Forward Lunge with Twist (turn towards lead leg)
  • Side Lunge
  • Back and to the Side Lunge
  • Reverse Lunge

If possible, do this barefoot and focus on feeling stable at the bottom of each lunge, your whole foot engaged with the ground. (heel, inner and outer edge of foot grounded)

So, a grand total of 25 lunges per side and you can knock them out in less than 2 minutes. I don't think that's too much of a sacrifice compared to what you are getting, but that's just me. I strongly recommend you try this series before every run for a week and let me know how you're feeling.

I bet you'll quickly realize two things: (a) You likely don't include moves like this in your 'movement diet' and may become sore after the first session or two – hang in there, it goes away and doesn't return. (b) You feel WAY better during the first 5 minutes of your run – you know, when you're usually thinking “I'm exhausted, how is this gonna happen today?”

To recap, focus on going slow and feeling stable at first. Make it your goal to perform these lunges with grace and mastery, THEN go just a little faster as shown in the video.

This is only two minutes of your workout and I guarantee you'll get more out of these two minutes than jogging. TRY IT!