LA Galaxy

Breaking Down The Functional Movement Screen: Inline Lunge

Three weeks ago, we introduced a movement screen that we use with the Galaxy players, called the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).  As we mentioned, the FMS is a series of seven different exercises that allow us to analyze how the body is moving and consequently adjust the players’ lifting and injury prevention programs based off of how well they perform the exercises and if they are feeling pain with any of them.

READ: Fitness Screening to improve performance and prevent injuries

First we looked at some of the common errors found via the Deep Squat screen and exercises we incorporate in the gym and on the field that help with our squatting and deceleration mechanics. 

READ: Breaking Down the FMS: Deep Squat

Last week we highlighted one common error seen frequently when the players perform the Hurdle Step screen and went through some of the exercises we incorporate in the gym and on the field to help address the issues that the screen brings to light.

READ: Breaking Down the FMS: Hurdle Step 

This week we are going to continue to look at some of the exercises we have the Galaxy players perform based off the results of another of the Functional Movement Screens: the Inline Lunge.


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Error: Knee drives forward, heel off the ground

The common issue that we see in the Galaxy players with the Inline Lunge is their inability to load the hips and a tendency to let their knees drive forward and the heel of their front legs to come off the ground.  Similar to the deep squat, by doing this the knees absorb all the forces and weight of the body and we don’t let our hips and glutes help in the process.  Below are a few exercises we have the Galaxy players perform in the gym and on the field if we notice that their front knee drives forward or heel comes off the ground.


In the gym

The split or lunge position requires a significant amount of stability and balance in order to become efficient.  In order to work on form and strength, Galaxy players use these three exercises in the gym to challenge their stability and balance while also strengthening and developing power in this movement pattern.

Exercise #1: Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

Place one foot on the ground with the other on a box or bench.  Sit through your hips dropping the trail leg knee towards the ground maintaining a slight forward lean of the torso.  Push from the hips and drive back to the starting position.  Do 3 sets of 10.

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Exercise #2: Cable Lunge

Start tall with a cable or band around your waist and resistance in the front.  Allowing the resistance to pull you forward, step and drop down into a lunge.  As you drop down, you must decelerate your body and hold the lunge position for three seconds.  Push from the lead leg and return to the starting position.  Do 2 sets of 8 reps.

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Exercise #3: Split Jumps

Place a foot on a 6 to 12-inch box with the other foot on the ground.  Maintain a slight forward lean and load the leg that is on the box.  Push from the leg on the box, and explode up into the air.  Land back in the same position you started, maintaining form.  Do 3 sets of 5.

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On the Field

The Inline Lunge is a good indicator of sprinting or acceleration mechanics.  Below are two exercises the Galaxy players use on the field to improve speed and become more explosive running straight ahead.

Exercise #1: Resisted March

You will need a partner to resist you.  Start with a slight forward lean and resistance around your waist.  Maintain the forward lean and march forward driving your knee straight up in front, making sure to extend the hip, knee, and foot of the planted leg.  Push and extend through the ground, contacting with the ball of your feet.  Do 3 sets of 15 yards.

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Exercise #2: Walking lunge

Start in a loaded lunge position.  Push from your front leg, driving the leg down and stepping forward, finishing in a lunge position with your other leg now in front.  Do 3 sets of 15 yards.

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Over the last few weeks we looked at some of the major movement errors and corrective exercises the Galaxy players use in the gym and on the pitch to try and correct and strengthen these muscles and movements.  While all seven screens are very important, I have found that the conclusions drawn from the Deep Squat, Hurdle Step and Inline Lunge are sufficient indicators of issues that need to be addressed in the gym and on the pitch with soccer athletes.  Next week we are going to start to look at some of the warm up exercises the players perform on a daily basis.

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