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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Balance Lunges

ByLiz Miller

Balance Lunges integrate a variety of key skating and fitness components within a single off-skates exercise.

  • The balance component builds better tolerance for the narrow Scissors Stance that is the building block to intermediate and advanced skating skills. Good balance allows you to glide longer on one skate as you progress to the lengthened strides that come from skating with a deeper knee bend.
  • Stronger core and thigh muscles enhance both skating technique and endurance.
  • The plyometric aspect of bounding into and out of a deep lunge builds power for short bursts of energy such is sprinting.
  • A quickly elevated heart rate makes this an excellent way to warm up for any workout, skating or not

Starting position

Find a non-slippery surface with lots of space all around and stand in the center. For better balance, place hands on hips and fix your gaze on something directly in front of you at floor level throughout the move. I find it helpful to straddle a line (for example, a carpet pattern or pavement paint or seam) and spot my lunge landing place alongside it.

Balance lungesFront-to-back lunges

  1. Lunge far forward with your right foot. Aim for a distance where your left knee comes close to the floor but your right knee is not ahead of your right ankle (to protect the knee). Your torso remains upright with hands on hips.
  2. Push hard enough against your right foot to return to upright and continue toward the back. Don't set the foot down or pause in the center on the way.
  3. Lunge deeply back. Aim for a distance where your right knee comes close to the floor but your left knee is not ahead of your right ankle. Your torso remains upright with hands on hips.
  4. Push hard off the back toes and return to upright, but don't set your right foot down and don't pause on the way to the next forward lunge.
  5. Try to make each front-to-back lunge a single, fluid movement.
  6. Repeat a reasonable number of cycles for your level of fitness, then swap and do the same number leading with your left foot.

Four-direction lunges

(With thanks to Outside Magazine’s Body Work department). The addition of side lunges integrates another fitness component known as specificity. Side lunges directly work the muscles in the side-directed push that defines the best inline stroke technique. This move is similar to the above, but you are working around a circle by lunging forward, to the side, to the back, other foot back, other side, and other forward.

Use the same beginning stance, spotting, and safety guidelines above as you add the side moves like so:

1. Balancing on the left foot:

  • Lunge forward with right foot and return to upright, then
  • Lunge to your right side and return to upright, then
  • Lunge backward and return to upright.

2. Set the right foot down. Now, continue going around your circle while balancing on the right foot:

  • Lunge backward and return to upright, then
  • Lunge to your left side and return to upright, then
  • Lunge forward with the left foot and return to upright.

Repeat the circuit. Try to increase number of circuits over time.

There is one more fitness component I didn’t mention at the beginning. Adaptation occurs when this new activity starts to seem easier—and it will! That means you are achieving incremental improvements in all the other components, leading to overall better fitness. So don’t despair if it feels too difficult at first. Just keep at it and you will earn all of the considerable fitness benefits of regularly doing balance lunges.

Other March 2007 Stories

bulletred picture What Level Beginner are You? - Identify your own learning potential before you risk looking like a geek!

bulletred picture Know Your Stances - Posture and foot positioning are everything when it comes to learning the basics.

bulletred picture Mastering Swizzles - Step by step, build up to the one skill featured in all fitness skating programs (great for speed, too!).

bulletred picture Fair Weather Skaters - The Great EsSkate attracted hundreds of avid rollers for a weekend of fun and sun in Miami. See Liz's photos.

bulletred picture National Skate For Health Day - On May 12, instructors across the US will show newbies how skating is aerobic, low-impact, and fun.

 bulletred picture Get Rolling Skate School - My 2007 learning opportunities range from Bay Area lessons to a mini camp and tour in Florida.  

bulletred picture Ojai Valley Trail, South - Enjoy fantastic vistas skating the converted rail-trail next to the Ventura River.

bulletred picture Skater Crossing - Online destinations where skaters congregate and find information.