Want to give your core, posterior chain, shoulders and your scaps a good working over at the gym? Then it’s time to add the step-in lunge and row into your workout arsenal.
Recently I reached out to Irv Rubenstein, Ph.D., ACSM-EP, NSCA-CSCS/CSPS/CPT and the president of Steps Fitness, a Nashville-based personal training center, to share his favorite exercise.
His favored go-to?
The step-in lunge and row.
The two-part exercise, which can be done by athletes, wannabe athletes and everyone in between, will hit your lower body in particular.
Here is Irv with more details on his favorite exercise, the step-in lunge and row.
The Step-In Lunge and Row
My favorite exercise for athletes and for older adults who do not have contraindications against it is the step-in lunge & row. This can be done with elastic bands or cables.
This exercise was popularized by Carlos Santana several years ago in one of his videos.
The stepping lunge, or forward lunge, is a formidable exercise for the lower body in general, hitting all the muscles from toe to butt. But when you flex forward, with or even without a neutral spine, you get extra core activation of the posterior chain.
Of course, any time the posterior chain is engaged, the entire thoraco-lumbar musculature has to engage in order to stabilize the spine against whatever forces are driving it out of a safe, or neutral, zone.
Here is a video demonstration of the exercise:
The rowing movement adds to the core work when not performed in a stable, seated position, by engaging the lumbar and thoracic spines to resist the forward pull of the resistance.
Furthermore, it is a primary muscle group and action that supports the function of the shoulders and scapulae as well as an integral posture exercise.
Combined, these two movements really challenge the lower body, core and upper thoracic/shoulder areas. The heavier the resistance, the longer the stride, the more challenging the exercise.
Or, with enough reps, this could be part of a circuit that keeps the heart rate and overall session intensity high enough to qualify as ‘cardio’.
A big thank you to Irv and the folks at Steps Fitness for taking the time to drop some knowledge. If you are in need of personal training services in the Nashville area you can get in touch with Irv and the team at Steps by clicking here.