You’ve done squats and lunges and deadlifts — and these should be the mainstays of any good leg workout. But there are two other key moves that you need in your leg training, both to build longevity in your lower-body muscles and to just, well, pack on muscle.
You need to move in multiple planes, and you also need to move unilaterally, essentially training one leg at a time. And you’ll do both of those things in the Multiplanar Lunge Flow, a vicious, challenge-level leg day move from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. The move combines two neglected leg movements — curtsy lunges and Cossack squats — with a fundamental lunge to train key movement patterns you may frequently forget.
“This exercise isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most well-rounded leg exercises you’ll ever do,” says Samuel. “You’re moving in all the ways your body is meant to move but you often forget about.”
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Both curtsy lunges and Cossack squats pack serious challenge on their own merits, which is partly why this move is equal parts challenge and fundamental exercise. You may need to spend time honing the curtsy and the Cossack. “That’s half the fun,” says Samuel. “Be willing to fail here and to improve, and watch your overall movement skill improve as you go.”
You’re also gradually learning to control energy in multiple directions, says Samuel. “Our body isn’t just meant to move in multiple planes. It’s meant to transfer energy in multiple planes,” says Samuel. “That’s a key trait of athleticism that is often neglected in most basic strength training.”
As you train in multiple planes, performing three different types of lunges, you’ll work on that energy transfer, and you’ll gradually improve your mobility, too. You’re blending curtsy lunges, Cossack squats, and regular lunges, after all, and all three moves are challenging for your hip mobility. You’re building strength as you challenge the bounds of your flexibility and movement capabilities, says Samuel.
You’ll need a pair of kettlebells to execute the Multiplanar Lunge Flow. Don’t have one? Check out this pair from CAP.
Use the Multiplanar Lunge Flow as either a devastating leg day finisher, or a standalone leg move in a total-body workout. And realize that you’re getting benefit from it even as you’re practicing the move, says Samuel. “This is an exercise that you’re going to spend time learning,” says Samuel. “When you master it, you’ll be challenging leg mobility, strength, coordination, and so much more. But the process of mastering it will work all those things, too.”
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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