Build Better Performance Through Athletics

How many times have you looked at athletes and wanted to look more like them than the muscle bodies in your gym? The fact is that while a great many burn fat and build muscles, the inter-connective tissues are left weak through lack of working on the inter-connectivity of muscle groups. While you can do this with weak area training, athletics is a far better and more natural way to do it. The key is to put athletics into your workout program.

Why do athletic movement work? They force you out of your comfort zone, as well as training your abs. They also help you build more explosive power. Let’s look at a few simple exercises you can do to build this athleticism.

Upper Body:

Ballistic Pushup – assume a pushup and lower yourself to the floor; instead of pushing up like your normally do, push yourself so hard that your hands move off the floor. As you do so, do a hand clap and straighten your arms so they land palm first onto the floor as you maintain upward pushup position. Repeat for additional repetitions. Take care however as these pushup are very rigorous and you need to have strong shoulders to perform them correctly.

Reactive Pushup – as with a normal pushup, assume the pushup position and lower yourself to the floor. Push back up normally, but as you do so, lift your left hand and touch your right shoulder during the upward movement. Lower your left hand then, do another pushup, but use the opposite hand to shoulder. This is one repetition. Repeat for additional reps.

Purpees – assume a pushup position and execute a burpee, an exercise with which most are familiar. However, now you are beneath a pull-up bar so, as you execute the burpee and explode off the floor, grab the pull-up bar on the way up and continue into a pull-up position. What you’re actually doing is adding a pull-up at the jump of the burpee, but without losing motion. Lower yourself to the floor and perform the next repetition.

Lower Body:

Seated Jump – sit on the end of a flat bench with your feet firmly on the floor about shoulder width apart, open hands cocked near hips. In one motion, throw your hands upward and explode from the bench as you jump as high as you can. Return to starting position and repeat next repetition. For a more rigorous exercise you could perform a double leg straddle in lieu of this exercise.

Single-Leg Sit to Stand – using same flat bench, sit on the side of the bench with feet facing away from bench. Place your right foot on the floor as you extend your left leg in front of you. Using your right leg, stand (without letting left leg touch the floor) to an upright position. Sit slowly back down and alternate legs. Once both legs have been repeated once you have completed one repetition.

Lunge: 10 Point Multi-directional – this exercise is accomplished using a clock position as a guide. Since 90 percent of people are right handed, let’s begin with the right leg. Starting position is standing with feet hip to shoulder width apart. Take your left leg and step forward to 12 o’clock into a lunge position; return to start and step with right leg to 10 o’clock; return to start. Step to 9 o’clock, which is more of a stretch than a lunge then, return to start and step to about 8 o’clock and lower yourself into lunge then, back to start and step to 6 o’clock lowering yourself into a full lunge. You have done one leg now, do the other leg. Once you have completed the other leg, you have performed one full repetition.

Bear in mind that the lunges, stepping with left leg toward 9 and 8 o’clock are more like a stretch than a full lunge as you may be accustomed to. The same is true at 3 and 4 o’clock with your right leg stepping back. We use this technique to help athletes such as hockey players develop greater athleticism and have a great ability to do close footwork at speed. At first, this exercise may feel a bit awkward; as you gain more experience, the exercise is quite rapid. Also, when you finish first with the left leg, the first motion with the right leg is to step to 6 o’clock first then, 4, 3, 2, and 12 o’clock. Have fun with it.

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