When I first attempted plyo-lunges two or three years ago, I gave up after a single attempt. It was clear that I was endangering my ankles, knees and hips, because I had no control whatsoever over that move. Over the next couple of years, as I worked on the basic lunge and then the walking lunge, I tried a plyo-lunge a couple more times, without feeling like I had good control—until a few days ago when I figured out what I was doing wrong.

Even my basic lunge remains a work in progress—my body and head should be more upright.

If you’re not familiar with the move, in a plyo-lunge you lower yourself into a lunge, and then from the bottom jump, switching feet in the air so that you land with the opposite feet forward and back, and lower yourself into a lunge position on that side. They’re also called jumping lunges or scissor lunges.

The error I was making—which seems kind of obvious, now that I’ve figure it out—is that I was somehow imagining that I should jump from the bottom of a lunge on one side to the bottom of a lunge on the other side. Of course, that’s crazy. What I need to do is jump from the bottom of the lunge on one side to the top of a lunge on the other side, and then sink to the bottom of the lunge on that side, before repeating.

Once I made that my intention, all of a sudden I felt like I was moving with adequate control. I still need some practice to do the move smoothly, and some increased explosiveness to do it well, but it no longer feels like I’m endangering all the joints of my lower body (and possibly my life) on each attempt.

(I’m making the effort because plyo-lunges seem worthwhile for working on adding some sorely needed explosiveness to my lower body, but also because they’re a component of the Superhero Bodyweight Workout that I’m hoping to do this year, after last year ended up being a bust.)