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Are you a sports player? Or do you enjoy an occasional game of your favorite sport? Try my 15 minute workout to help you improve your sports performance.
Most people train their body in only one direction. Often times while playing sports, something will happen that’ll require them to rapidly step to the side. If you only train in one direction, instead of being able to do rapid side movements with ease, it’ll be challenging. In some instances, players pull a muscle or damage a tendon in their knee, putting them on the sidelines for months at a time. Think about it: cycling, running and many exercises in the gym tend to focus on forwards and backwards movements. It makes sense because the majority of the time during our daily life, people move in a straight line—so it’s wise to focus on the most utilized movement patterns. This can be different when it comes to playing sports. Those are the occasions when moving sideways is essential, and you need to be ready for it. Training in a sideways manner can improve your sports performance by getting your body used to otherwise foreign moves.
I talk a lot about having a balanced and functional body, because I believe that when you don’t work on the small muscles and tendons that are responsible for stability it puts you at a greater risk of getting injured. Prevention is a much better approach than a cure when it comes to taking care of your joints. My sideways strengthening routine is aimed to get you ready for that rock on the running trail that you have to dodge at the last minute, or for a fun pick-up game at the local park. I add this routine into my training week at least once a month.
Side step: Stand with both feet together in an athletic stance with a slight bend in the knees. Take a 3 steps to the right, then 3 steps to the left. Start out slowly then pick up the pace.
Speed skater: Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms by sides. Hop to right, landing on your right foot while sweeping left foot diagonally behind right leg, and swinging left arm across body and right arm behind back. Jump to left, switching legs and arms to complete 1 rep.
Side hops: Place a piece of tape on the floor and stand on the left side of it. Stand with both feet together in an athletic stance with a slight bend in the knees. Keeping feet together, hop to the right over the tape; as you land immediately hop back over to the left.
Lateral lunge: Step to the right with your right foot, keeping your toes forward and your feet flat. Squat through your right hip while keeping your left leg straight. Squat as low as is comfortable and hold the position for 2 seconds. Push back to the starting position and repeat to the opposite side. You can also try my ‘around-the-clock’ lunge, which can take it a step further.
Obstacle run: Place cones or water bottles spaced out every 10 steps over a set distance. Decide the distanced based on your space available—it can be as short as 20 steps or as long as 50. Perform shuttle runs in and out of the obstacle. Do this for 5 reps.
Slow and focused: For the first few times you do this sports performance workout, you should do it in a slow and controlled manner. Performing reps means you can do it at your own pace.
Do each exercise for 12 reps (left and right = 1 rep)
Perform 3 sets total.
Fast and agile: As you become comfortable with sideways movement, you can do this workout as an interval-style session. Perform each exercise at a low intensity for 30 seconds, then again at a high intensity for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds then repeat. Repeat sequence 3 times.
Protect your body
Protect your precious joints by preparing them as part of your workout routine. I believe that adding one laterally focused routine to your schedule every few weeks will drastically improve your sports performance and overall leg joint stability. An added bonus is that you’ll be working and toning up your inner thighs and glutes, too. It‘s well worth it!
If you have any existing joint issues, are very overweight or have had knee or hip surgery in the past, you should check with your doctor before performing any laterally focused routines.