Happy Thursday to you,
It’s been a busy week here at GB headquarters, I’m putting together a comprehensive collection of all my favourite stretches for you.
I’ll be covering stretches for the entire body along with the correct ways to stretch in order to get the most from each movement.
Stretching is a controversial topic so I’ll try my hardest to help you understand exactly what you should be thinking about when it comes to flexibility.
I hope to have everything ready for you within the next few weeks.
The Bulgarian Lunge
Way back in 2006 I was training at a gym in Nottingham when I met a member of the GB Olympic Team.
She was interested in my style of training so we started talking about different exercises and then she introduced me to an interesting lunge variation.
The lunge was similar to the static lunge, your feet do not move, except the rear foot was elevated on a step.
I’d used a similar lunge variation in the past but never really focused on it so I started to experiment and use it in my own training.
It wasn’t long until I started using the rear foot elevated lunge (Bulgarian lunge) with all my clients and to great effect.
Raising the rear foot transfers more weight onto the front leg increasing the quad and Glute activation.
The higher the step the more demanding the exercise.
You will need to be careful if your hip flexors are tight because when dropping down into this movement it will force an excessive arch in your lower back.
Bracing your abs will go some way to combating any pelvic tilt but you will still feel a heavy stretch so you need to be careful.
It is always best to start off with a low step and make small incremental changes over time.
How I progress the Bulgarian lunge
I use this exercise a lot with clients that can lunge without a kettlebell but need something a little more challenging before adding a weight.
- Bodyweight Bulgarian lunge
- One kettlebell held in both hands at chest height
- One kettlebell held down by your side (opposite hand to front leg)
- Two kettlebells held down by your sides
- Front foot on low balance pad
- Rear foot on low stability ball
When performing the exercise I always want to see the front leg bend to 90 degrees at the bottom of the movement and briefly lock out at the top.
If you suffer from painful toes you can also perform this exercise with the toes pointing backwards with your instep on the step.
If you have mastered the basic lunge then I encourage you to give this lunge variation a go.
You will be amazed at how cardiovascular this exercise can be as well as building strength and muscle too.
Here’s a density workout using the Bulgarian lunge:
- Bulgarian lunge x 8 – 12 reps each side
- Clean and Press x 5 reps each side
- Renegade Row x 5 reps each side
- Repeat for 15 minutes
Every muscle and movement pattern gets a serious talking to while performing this workout.
Limit your rest in between exercises to really feel your cardio too.
You can make the workout as easy or as challenging as you like by modifying the exercises or loads.
The Bulgarian lunge can be performed with or without kettlebells and using a step height that feels comfortable to you.
The Clean and Press can be performed with one kettlebell, 2 kettlebells and with a push press if needed.
Finally, the Renegade row can be performed with one hand on the same step you used for your lunges or both hands on a kettlebell. You can also just use a regular row if you wish.
I challenge you to try this workout today and report back to me with your feedback, amount of rounds you completed and exercise variations.
Q. “I have a 32kg and I can press it more than 6 times…just bought a 40kg and I can barely press that 2 times…how should I work to increase my 40 kg presses?”
A. Congratulations on pressing a 32kg, that is a great achievement.
Not many people realise that, to a certain degree, strength is a skill. You can get stronger without adding any muscle just by getting more efficient at the movement.
Practice is the key to strength and by keeping the volume down you can practice more often. I suggest you practice a regular strength ladder.
Perform this workout 3 – 5 times per week:
- 1 rep left, then 1 rep right
- 2 reps left, then 2 reps right
- 3 reps left, then 3 reps right
- 4 reps left, then 4 reps right
- 5 reps left, then 5 reps right
Use your 32kg for the first few weeks, then start to add in the 40kg for the lower reps and finish with the 32kg for the high reps. Never train to failure, just practice.
I hope this helps.
Take care of yourself and each other.
P.S. See all my professional workout programs for Men and Women