The Best Crash-Proof Exercises: Airborne Lunges
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Just like with the Double Kettlebell Front Squat, when it comes to improving sports performance, we like to recreate the positions and forces we would experience and use during that sport. So, for skiers, the Airborne Lunge is going to be your bread and butter.
Here’s how to do it:
Now that you can see how it’s done, here’s why it’s so great for those who prefer skis to boards:
1) Balance of a Ballerina
Did you watch the video and then give the movement a try? It’s hard!
Touching your knee to the ground to do the full range of motion is no simple feat; even without weight. You’ve got to have impeccable balance to achieve even one repetition, and then you’ve got to maintain that balance for the duration of an entire set.
Get rid of your Bosu balls. This is the only movement you’ll need to really get your balance dialed in.
2) Ankles of Steel
When you tried the Airborne Lunge, were you able to get your knee to touch the ground?
If you couldn’t, one of two things probably happened. You either slammed your knee onto the ground, or you had to lift your front foot’s heel up in order to cover those last few inches. Generally, if balance isn’t your limiting factor for this movement, it’s usually ankle mobility. And, in athletic endeavors, mobility is a precious commodity to have.
But, the even more awesome thing that makes the Airborne Lunge one of the best Crash-Proof exercises is that it can help you improve your mobility under weight-bearing stress. Which in this case will almost quite literally give you ankles of steel.
Healthy, nigh bullet-proof ankles might come in handy when you’ve got a pair of skis strapped to your feet don’t you think?
Yep. That’s what we thought.
3) One-Legged Power
One of the most difficult things to accomplish is to exert strength or power while in an unstable position. What is the Airborne Lunge? A demonstration of exerting strength and power while in an unstable position.
What does one need while skiing?
The ability to produce strength and power while in an unstable position. So, if you’re going to go skiing, you should do some Airborne Lunges.
4) Uncompromising Core Tension
Probably the only movement that might require more tension than a regular Double Kettlebell Front Squat, is this Airborne Lunge, which is basically the DKFS on one leg. Leaning forward While off balance.
You find that, once you’ve progressed to the point of holding a pair of kettlebells in front of you, you can’t accomplish the movement very well without a heck of a bunch of abdominal bracing. Once again, just like with the Double Kettlebell Front Squat, the bells are already out in front of your center of gravity. They’re fighting you the entire time and want to fall away. Which, with the forward lean of the Airborne Lunge, is even more ridiculous.
If you can accomplish some flawless sets of Airborne Lunges with two kettlebells in the rack position, you’re going to be an absolute king on the slopes.
5) Knees to Kill for (or with!)
It may come as no surprise that skiing is incredibly taxing on your knees. In fact, knee injuries tend to be the most common circumstance that forces people to quit the skiing season early.
That just won’t do.
Do you want to prevent knee injuries that occur due to twisting, instability, and weakness? Airborne Lunges will help you do just that.
Stronger knees are harder to break!
Like we’ve stated before: Becoming Crash-Proof doesn’t happen by accident. You’ve got to be intentional, and apply eustress (beneficial stress) to the appropriate places at the appropriate times, rather than applying constant distress (detrimental stress) to yourself and expecting things to stay put together.
How to Program It
Just like the Double Kettlebell Front Squat, although perhaps even more so, the Airborne Lunge is very difficult to do, but very easy to insert into a program. It’s very recommended that you perform this exercise very early in your training session, since it requires so much focus and “fresh” strength to do well if you can’t already perform it easily.
Beyond that, make sure to start where you are comfortable. Just like in the video, if you cannot already comfortably do a few reps all the way to the ground, then you’re going to want to start with some elevation behind you.
Start easier than you think you need to.
Perform 4-6 sets to 80% effort. That means to make sure to leave a rep or two “in the tank” and not to go to failure. So, if you can only do 6 reps at a certain height for a max attempt, only do sets of 4 reps.
Once you can comfortably do sets of 6-8 reps at a certain height, increase difficulty by taking away some elevation and see how you fare. DO NOT sacrifice form for progress.
Men and Women both should start with just their own bodyweight.
Eventually, Men should strive for using two 16kg bells, Women two 8kg bells.
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