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LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning

Screening the lunge pattern

Deviations from normal lunge pattern

There are many common deviations from the normal lunge pattern.

Table 1 describes common deviations from a side view that have been observed in club and professional Rugby Union players.

Deviation from normal pattern - side view with hands on hips
Possible imbalances
  • Lead leg: heel rises as player moves forward
  • Trail leg: foot rotates outwards
  • Lead leg: Tight gastrocnemius and/or soleus
  • Trail leg: Tight peroneals
  • Lead leg: knee moves forward beyond toes*
  • Trail leg 1: knee moves outwards (abducts)
  • Trail leg 2: excessive extension of trail leg accompanying hyper extension of lumbar spine
  • Lead leg: Poor activation of gluteal muscles, tight quadriceps, underactive vastusmedialis, limited hip and/or ankle mobility
  • Trail leg 1: Tight quadriceps, IT Band*
  • Trail leg 2: Excessive lumbar lordosis
  • Hips and knee do not reach a parallel to floor position
  • Hip internal/external rotation may be limited. Issues pertaining to the lumbar spine are also relevant here
Lumbar spine
  • Flexion (curve), hyper extension (excessive bending forward at lumbar spine)
  • Flexed lumbar spine: weak abdominals and poor activation of gluteals, tight hip flexors and/or quadriceps
  • Hyper extension: Tight hip flexors and/or quadriceps
Thoracic spine
  • Flexion of T-spine with appearance of rounded shoulders
  • Poor stability in T-spine, tight pectoral muscles
Cervical spine and head
  • Extension of cervical spine – a forward head is the result
  • Tightness and dominance of extensors (including sternocleidomastoid) over deep lying flexor muscles
  • Gaze lowered and eye and centre of ear not horizontal to floor
  • As in cervical spine and head imbalances

*A knee movement beyond the toes is controversial. Please see below for more detailed explanation.

Table 1. Common deviations from the normal forward lunge pattern. *ITB = Iliotibial Band (band of tissue on outside of thigh from hip to knee).

The common deviations from a normal forward lunge pattern are summarised in Table 1. Note we also illustrate some of these deviations in Table 3 and 4. Please take the time to inspect these deviations.