Before attempting a transverse lunge, visualize a flat sheet of cardboard slicing through your body at your waistline, dividing your body into top and bottom halves. The cardboard you see in your mind's eye represents the transverse plane. What distinguishes the transverse lunge from its more basic cousin is the added challenge of moving through the transverse plane by rotating around your standing leg. It's a demanding move that requires a lot in terms of strength, balance and agility. If you're an avid skier, golfer or softball player, adding this dynamic rotational exercise to your overall strength and conditioning routine can help you function more effectively.
Clear a reasonably large space of all exercise equipment, furniture and other objects. You should be free to move easily in all directions. Put your hands on your hips and stand with your feet together in the middle of the space. Imagine yourself standing at the center of a large clock, facing 12 o'clock.
Align your head over your shoulders, press your shoulders down and slightly back and tighten your abs. Pivot your body toward the 3 o'clock mark, and lunge forward onto your right foot, directing the toes of the lead foot toward the invisible mark. As you lunge, rotate the left foot slightly to avoid stressing the left knee.
Hold the lunge briefly, keeping your right knee directly over your right instep. Return to the initial position, pushing back from the lunge and piveting on the standing foot to bring yourself back to 12 o'clock.
Repeat the lunge with your right foot two more times, aiming first for 4 o'clock and then for 5 o'clock. Work at a moderate pace, maintaining total control of your movements.
Shift your weight to your right foot and continue the rotational lunges, leading with your left foot. Lunge toward 9, 8 and finally 7 o'clock. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat the entire sequence -- leading with the right foot and then with the left -- for a total of one to three sets.
Items you will need
- Dumbbells, optional
- Warm up thoroughly before beginning. Take a brisk walk or jog in place for 10 minutes to raise your core body temperature and increase blood flow to your lower body.
- Minimize the amount of lateral movement in your knees when you step into a lunge. Keep your core tight throughout the exercise and avoid shifting your torso back and forth.
- To increase intensity, pick up the pace of your rotation, hold a dumbbell in each hand, or step further forward on every lunge.
- If you're just starting out, keep your lunges small. Don't step forward more than 12 to 15 inches.
- Lunges should be pain-free. If you experience pain, decrease the length and depth of your lunge.
- Avoid transverse lunges if you have back, knee or ankle problems.
- For safety purposes, perform the exercises on a level surface.
- NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training; Micheal A. Clark, et. al.
- Sports Injuries Guidebook; Robert S. Gotlin
- Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness: Functional Exercise and Nutrition for Every Body; David Musnick and Mark Pierce
- Morning Strength Workouts; Annette Lang
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images