Mar 8, 2018
Lunging for Gold

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson made history in this year’s Winter Olympics when she put a series of dazzling moves on Canada’s goalkeeper and made the final shootout goal for the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team — securing the squad’s first Olympic gold medal in 20 years. And that wasn’t her only memorable moment at the games. She also set an Olympic record when she scored two goals in six seconds flat against Russia.

Along with all of these accomplishments on the ice, the 28-year-old Lamoureux-Davidson also knows a thing or two about making strides away from the rink. She holds a master’s degree in kinesiology and has worked as the strength coach for the University of North Dakota’s women’s hockey team. When it comes to training for hockey, there is one exercise in particular that she has found to be very effective: the front foot elevated reverse lunge.

This movement might seem extremely simple — and that’s because it is. But that doesn’t make it any less useful. According to Lamoureux-Davidson, the reverse lunge has been key to helping her build the speed and strength that has made her successful on the ice. So successful, in fact, that she’s now a national hockey hero.

To perform the front-foot elevated reverse lunge, the only equipment you need is a six-inch step. Start by standing with both feet on the step and then place your right foot down on the ground behind you and sink down into a lunge position. After you lunge, return your right foot to the top of the step. Repeat five times on that leg before switching to the left leg and lunging backwards another five times.

Lamoureux-Davidson recommends doing three sets on each leg and performing the exercise about once a week. If you’re looking to make it a bit more challenging, try holding a 65-pound dumbbell in each hand while lunging. This will really help you feel the burn. Not to mention, the added depth from using the step is what makes this exercise even more effective than a regular lunge.

“When you load your leg this way, your heart rate will get pretty ‘up there,'” Lamoureux-Davidson told ESPNW. She also mentioned that her target heart rate when training is 168-170 beats per minute, while she likes to maintain 110-120 beats per minute when she’s recovering between exercises.

The elevated reverse lunge provides a variety of benefits for athletes. To start, the exercise targets the quads, which are crucial for speed and leg strength. Also, since it’s a single-leg exercise, it allows you to significantly load one leg at a time. This is crucial for almost all athletes as nearly every athletic movement is done with one leg at a time, from running and jumping to cutting and skating. For example, hockey players are constantly pushing off the ice with one leg and balancing with the other.

No matter what type of athletes you’re training, the elevated reverse lunge is a great first step to help them build the leg strength they need to succeed.

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