| June 11, 2021
By Trevor Mah
Read time: 4 min.
You likely have noticed that many exercises are called different names. Many of them vary slightly, and trainers probably have their own general terms for them. Most of the time, it is for simplicity rather than having to write out the entire exercise out with proper movement and full anatomical terminology.
Then you get exercises that are named by people who are the “inventors” or simply because they popularized them somewhere in the world and the name just stuck. While the history behind their origins is hard to narrow down and sometimes gets mixed up depending on where you look, in the fitness world they have certainly become popularized and synonymous with certain exercises. Popularity aside, I present to you a couple of less common exercises with eponymous origins.
Gorsha Sur is a former junior champion in ice dancing from Russia. The Gorsha lunge is essentially a rear-foot elevated split squat/Bulgarian split squat. The main difference is that she modified the exercise with a much higher elevated rear foot position and upright torso. This position was done to reflect similarities in ice dancing routines. Translation - this is essentially this is a barbell-front-racked-rear-foot-high-elevated-split-squat. Quite the mouthful for sure, even if you shorten it to front-racked Bulgarian split squat.
If you are a dance performer of any sort, there are a lot of flexibility and strength demands based on the unique positioning required. The upright positioning makes movement very vertical in nature compared to a “normal” split squat”. Adding in the element of a front rack, it can be quite the core challenge as well as upper back stability. While not everyone has exceptional hip flexor and quad mobility, the rear foot element also provides that exceptional quad burn. As always, this probably isn’t a go-to exercise for everyone, but if you have the means to give yourself a challenge and safely execute it, by all means give it a shot.
Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory based on the previous longer form name. Because of the extensive set-up and risk based on high balance demands, just be sure to have either a spotter to assist you or safeties set up in the event of a bailout. This likely isn’t an exercise you will load up much weight initially, but always err on the side of caution when loading up unilaterally.
The Petersen Step-Up is a popular movement prescribed for people dealing with knee pain. Named after Carl Petersen, a physiotherapist who worked with many elite skiers, this exercise addresses an issue where people with cranky knees may have issues with activation of their vastus medialis oblique (VMO) which is a deep quad muscle that crosses the patella (knee cap). This exercise can help re-activate or develop the VMO to reduce strain on the knee and address many problems including imbalances and pain. Based on its origins from skiing, having strong quad development (especially that of the VMO) is essential for injury prevention and performance.
Contrary to the name, the Petersen Step-Up is more of a step-down, although you can certain incorporate the concentric portion as well. The execution simply involves standing on a small elevation or step (even a few inches will do, depending on the severity of the knee issue), and slowly controlling a single leg to the floor as you step down. But to break it down:
The Garhammer Raise is a variation of a hanging leg raise that keeps tension on the core throughout the entire movement. According to the internet, it was invented by sports scientist John Garhammer. It is a more challenging progression from regular hanging leg or knee raises as the abs don’t get any rest as they are constantly under tension throughout the whole movement. There is also an added element of core control based on the emphasized eccentric (lowering) portion of the exercise as well. Because of this nature, you are likely not going to be able to blast through reps unless you enjoy near-hernia levels of torture.
These are but a few interesting exercises with unique origins that may prove helpful or fun in your programs. Try them out if you are looking for a challenge, or simply filling in a need in your program. Stay tuned for more exercises with eponymous origins, at least according to the internet.
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