By Elizabeth Towe

Throughout the day, without noticing, we move in three planes of motion – front and back, side to side and rotation [sagittal, frontal and transverse]. We also combine these movement patterns for different tasks and movements. We need to be strong and stable through all three motions or the weak link will rear its ugly head in the most unexpected places. Let’s say, for instance, you’ve signed up for a mud run obstacle course race…you need to be strong in all directions because the running portion is the most predictable part! The obstacles will challenge every part of your core as you jump, land, slip, slide, climb, crawl, ETC. So be ready! Begin to think about how to move in more rotational patterns. We have probably all done lunges to the front and back and even to the sides, but I’m going to challenge you to the [sliding] fencing lunge. This asks for rotation at the hip with a strong and stable core. Try this and think outside the box to add rotation to any otherwise traditional exercises in your routine.

Copyright 2013 Elizabeth ToweCopyright 2013 Elizabeth Towe


  • If you have do not have access to a slideboard and booties, you can do this exercise with one foot on a paper plate on a carpeted surface or with one foot on a small towel on hardwood (or slick) surface.
  • Start in a standing position with your hands on the top of your pelvis. Your anchor foot is on the floor and your lunging foot is on the slide/paper plate/towel.
  • Your feet should be parallel to each other as you start. Keep your anchor foot rooted to the floor and that leg straight as you turn your lunging foot 90 degrees, along with your pelvis, and begin to slide in the direction you turned your foot. The lunging (sliding) leg will bend to about 90 degrees, but do not let your knee go past your foot.
  • Keep your weight over the midpoint of the space between your feet. You are only going to slide out to the place that you can control. Begin sliding back to the start by turning the foot parallel to the other and pull that leg back to the midline, while keeping your torso upright (no side bending). This may take a few trials before you know where that place is. Use the picture for reference.
  • 10-20 repetitions on each leg for 2-3 sets. I promise you will find new muscles!

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Elizabeth Towe is a runner and a cyclist and the owner of Balanced Movement Studio in Carrboro. She graduated from East Carolina with a degree in exercise and sports science and has been personal training for over 20 years. Her ultimate goal for all of her clients is to help them realize and achieve the optimal quality in their lifeand to remember to have fun doing it.