A warm-up for any workout is important: Arguably as important as the main set for the given workout. Why is a warm-up important, you ask? What a warm-up should do for an athlete is prime the body for the work ahead. Our bodies perform best when we have taken the time to properly prepare them for action. In other words, a warm-up should include a series of movements that will compliment the specificity of the main set of work you, as an athlete, are about to perform. The warm-up should also start easy, and progress in the amount of effort it takes to perform. Remember, you want to prepare your body for the efforts you intend to do, so a warm-up specific to the exercise is the key.
Enter the Lunge Matrix. The Lunge Matrix is a set of lunges, developed by Physical Therapist, Gary Gray, and advocated by many top coaches, including yours truly. I was introduced to this highly effective series of lunges through Jay Johnson‘s videos. Below is a great example/demonstration video by Coach Jay of the Lunge Matrix. The exercises include:
• Front Lunge
• Front Lunge with Twist
• Side Lunge
• Back and to the Side
• Back Lunge
As noted in the video, each lunge is completed 5 times per leg, which comes to 50 lunges in all. If you are new to this routine, try completing 3 repetitions per leg for the first few times, then gradually build the number of reps. I have some of the advanced athletes I work with completing up to 8-10 reps per leg. Keep in mind, this is a warm-up, and not a full workout in itself. You don’t want to over do things in the warm-up that will negatively effect your main set.
By adding the Lunge Matrix to each run workout you do, you will be not only preparing your body for the work ahead, but also improving general strength and balance that will improve performance overall.