Today we continue our journey of capability for the everyday person. Joe or Jane normal. What stands out to us about athletics, and sport? What are those things that are a hallmark of great sporting performances? Speed, power, balance, grace? I will say a combination of most of these. Today I want to zone in on two of these areas. Jumping and Balance. Jumping, because it is an expression of speed and power and many of the athletes and spectacles of athleticism that we admire involve jumping. Then Balance, not just the standing like a flamingo on one leg balance, but dynamic balance. The jumping, landing, moving in another direction or into another complex movement. Taking into account outside forces doing it on your feet or hands or on an object like a skateboard or a surfboard. The combination of these are the breeding ground of athleticism and magic and these are the things you are most probably not training.
Why train them:
If you don’t use it you lose it, for that one time when you need it and you don’t have it.
For your future, when you’re older balance is an important skill to maintain to prevent falling and falling is one of the biggest risk to your health when you’re elderly.
To have fun! The more skills you have the more you can do. The more experiences you can have. The more experiences you have the more you can enjoy life. Pretty simple really.
Because being springy and athletic is legit, in fact it’s too legit
There are many athletes that don’t even train this which is bad, but they get it indirectly by playing their sport, they could just be better if they trained and developed these. For the everyday person, our Joe and Jane Normal who jog twice a week or go to the gym two or three times per week this is non-existent. For those who CrossFit, I will give you credit there, you guys jump! You double under and box jump enough to possibly make up for the lack of jumping of a small country. Jokes aside though. When done correctly CrossFit is a more holistic training program than much of what you see these days.
As a whole we need to jump and play more. Parkour is the more extreme example of running jumping and balance. We all don’t need that degree of running and jumping but we can all benefit from incorporating some of those principles to our training. In fact modern parkour is an offshoot of the Method naturelle of Georges Herbert who pioneered the idea of training to be more capable.
What about balance ?
I went off on such a rant about jumping I almost forgot about balance. When I talk about balance I mean dynamic balance, adjusting to a moving situation. Jumping, controlling the landing, moving changing direction. Running on uneven terrain, precision landing on an object. The sad thing is most people these days thing of balance as standing on a foam mat rehabbing an ankle sprain they got because they couldn’t handle uneven terrain because they didn’t have the strength, mobility and awareness in their feet and ankles to balance and move across said terrain.
When last did you try and balance and walk across a log or even on a sidewalk curb? How about a slackline? A fun thing to play on and develop balance and body awareness.
It is easy to do too little. There is this movement towards minimalism, hacking away the unnecessary. But when we are hacking away the unnecessary we should be careful that we don’t get rid of the necessary but not regularly used. I’m guilty of this. I neglected my balance and jumping ability when I stopped training for sports related goals, fortunately I had the realization and was led down this path to becoming more capable. Don’t loose the things that you did without thinking about as a kid.
A simple starting point.
Most people have detrained so much that they are not ready to go into even what would be considered basic jumping and balance activities. So what is the simplest starting point?
Get a skipping rope and start slow aim for 30 continuous jumps and build it up over time.
Low box Jumps
Get a low box( about 30cm) and jump onto it. Landing softly. Step down from the box after each rep don’t jump down and do low reps. Think 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps. Add this in at the start of a leg day after your warm up. And build it up.
Balance beam walk
Find something to balance on and walk on it.
Try something like this.
If you want to get more info and ideas drop us a comment and I can write another post or Follow us on Instagram where we will be putting up videos and descriptions of things you can do to reclaim your athleticism!
Keep moving, Keep growing!