Tying the Inline Lunge into Performance

Jared Woolever 4

By Jared Woolever


If you’ve been following Smart Group Training, you probably know we’re big proponents of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). We use it on a daily basis. We may not be doing a full formal movement screen each session; however, we use the information we get from it on a daily basis in our training.

The FMS is comprised of seven movement patterns that range from squatting, stepping, lunging, crawling, and other fundamental motor skills. These movements carry over to everyday life and performance.

Let’s explore the inline lunge.


How does a lunge relate to performance?

Just about everyone knows what a lunge is. Most people have done some sort of lunging in their lives, so this movement if pretty common. If you have played any type of dynamic sport that requires running, cutting, or stopping, then you’ve probably done a ton of lunges without ever thinking about it.

In many sport situations, athletes wind up performing some variant of lunging patterns. Lunging is extremely important in deceleration and stopping quickly and under control. The lunges above are being performed at a high speed in a dynamic and changing environment in sport, so asking each athlete to perform a proper static split squat in a controlled environment is a reasonable request.

Most injuries happen during deceleration, so learning how to stop under control is an absolute necessity. We use the FMS to help identify any potential red flags before an athlete trains with us. If we see a movement dysfunction in the inline lunge, it is our job to clear that up before we start work on speed and agility. If we ignore this and choose to work on speed and agility anyway, all we are doing is building on a poor foundation. If you were going to build a house, would you choose to build it on a rock or sand? Choosing to bypass the lunge pattern and going directly to speed training is like building a house on sand.


If your clients or athletes are scoring a 1 on the FMS screen in the inline lunge, addressing this issue is vital if they’re currently playing in a sport. We recommend to “red light”, or take out, any resisted split squatting or dynamic lunging of any kind until the athlete can clear the screen with symmetrical 2’s or 3’s. After we take out that pattern, we now need to work on fixing it. As long as mobility is not the issue, we are going to start to develop the split hip position starting with static 90/90 inline holds. We will also begin to incorporate some chopping and lifting from the 90/90 position and finally start to pattern the split squat using some assistance.

If you work a series of progressions with the athlete, he or she will begin to develop this pattern and improve on-field performance and overall durability.

Hopefully this helps illustrate how the FMS ties in to sports and performance. If you want a better idea of what you can do to help build the inline lunge pattern, be sure to check out our red to green series and go to the inline lunge video for some examples.

You can find that here: http://smartgrouptraining.com/in-line-lunge-red-to-green-series/



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