The Best Exercises You Could Ever Do: Lateral Lunge & Overhead Driver

While this may be the longest blog title in the known universe, it belies a fantastically great exercise that I’ve recently started using on myself as a mobilizer and warmup for deadlifting. That plus it is amazingly fun to throw down, and give to clients that think they’re all hot shit and stuff.

What it does:

Stretches your hips through the frontal plane, specifically stretching the adductor and groin isolaterally. This locks the pelvis in place so that the lumbar spine can’t go through flexion or extension without you falling on your butt, so when you perform the arm driver you can work on getting full T-spine extension. This is a good thing, and as Mike Boyle points out in Advances in Functional Training:

The important thing about t-spine mobility is almost no one has enough and it’s hard to get too much

What to do:

Lunge to the side, keeping your static leg straight and locked out, while squatting on your lead leg until your calves touch your hamstrings, or as close as possible. Once at the bottom, hold your hands together with straight elbows and drive your arms overhead in a nice big arc, trying to get full overhead movement. repeat ad nauseum.

How bad-ass is this??

On a 1 to 10 scale, this would probably rate about an 18, maybe even a 19. Just throwing that out there. To put it another way, your thumbs up gives a thumbs up for this one.

About deansomerset

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Post-Rehab Specialist, personal trainer and probably the coolest guy my mom knows, I try to impart a little knowledge with a sense of humor to keep people reading. I've always thought if it's something that can grab your attention, you're gonna remember it tomorrow!!
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7 Responses to The Best Exercises You Could Ever Do: Lateral Lunge & Overhead Driver

  1. Danny says:


    What if said person can’t get down that far or has a hard time with that movement altogether? Is there a regression for it or would you just switch to something else entirely?

    • deansomerset says:

      You could do a lateral pulse, where you don’t have to hold the position but simply go into and out of the movement. The overall depth doesn’t have to be this low, but it should be the goal to aim for. The movement itself should be accomplished by almost everyone, but in varying degrees of range of motion and depth. Work within normal tolerances to see what they can do.

  2. R Smith says:


    I’m definitely adding this drill to the quiver. Been doing lateral lunges and lateral lunge walks, and this is a great addition to those.

  3. John Izzo says:

    I like it Deano! Good creativity adds alot of bang for your buck!

  4. I notice you keep the entire foot of the extended leg on the ground, as opposed to just the heel. Is there some advantage to that, or did you just step on some gum?

    • deansomerset says:

      Hey Steve. Ha, nope, no gum, although I tend to keep the foot flat to get more of an ankle stretch out of it and to also ensure there is more weight loaded on it. Plus, it’s kinda like a ninja is crouching and waiting to strike you down, whereas having the foot turned up on the side is more like a donkey, or possibly a burrow, leaning against a fence and waiting to pass out. Not quite the same image, is it??

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