Want to run faster? Be more agile? Have better coordination? Be stronger?
Then you need to simplify things and work on your mind-body connection.
Balance work, agility ladder and drills, core sequencing exercises, activation exercises…These all need to be done so that you have control over your body and can activate the correct muscles when needed.
Speed, agility, quickness, coordination and frankly even strength don’t just simply come from lifting more or moving faster.
They come from your mind and body being able to communicate more quickly, which comes from everything being in balance.
Hmmm….maybe all those isometric workouts and moves I’ve been posting have even more benefit than simply recovery.
Many of those isometric moves work on your balance. And they correct imbalances as well.
If you have an injury, the communication between that area of your body and your mind has probably been interrupted. And depending on how good your recovery is, the injury may cause or have caused pain and problems higher up or lower down on your, meaning you may have many areas that aren’t connecting as well with your brain as you should.
Isometric moves work on repairing and correcting those imbalances. They work on mobility. They build stability in the muscles. They make sure the correct muscles are activated.
Isometric moves improve your mind-body connection. They make you focus and THINK about the muscles that should be activated.
Here is a great Isometric Workout to reduce pain and start working on your mind-body connection. It is a basic full body workout to correct many of those imbalances we have from sitting all day.
But isometric moves won’t do it alone. You must also do agility drills.
Many people think agility drills are just for athletes, but they are just as important for the average person especially as we age.
The agility ladder is a great tool, especially for us all to work on our coordination. HOWEVER, often people try to go as fast as possible without focusing on form.
If you want to get the most out of the agility ladder, you need to focus first on getting the move down and THEN on going as fast as possible. And you also need to mix it up. You need to go forward and backward. You need to go sideways and work each side.
Pay attention to which side feels more coordinated and don’t let your dominate side always lead!
Here are a few agility ladder drills to get you started. (I’ll be posting a video soon with my favorites.)
But the agility ladder isn’t the only agility drill you can do. You can set up cones or even use a few basic playing cards and set up points you shuffle, sprint, back pedal and carioca to (or any other locomotion move you want). Move quickly and make the distances super short so it is more about being quick and changing directions than getting up to speed.
Reaction drills are also great to improve the speed at which your mind and body communicate. Instead of using cones, have a friend tell you to shuffle to the left. Then whenever they want they can tell you to sprint forward then shuffle to the right. They can mix it up so you never know what is coming.
They can also do the drill with you and make you “shadow” them. LOVE shadow drills. They make you really focus and have to react.
You can also improve your coordination to get stronger, faster and fitter by doing core sequencing moves. These are moves that get the muscles of your core to work together as they should.
The Turkish Get Up, or its modified variation the Baby Get Up, is a great exercise to get your core to work together.
Here is a great workout to teach you the Turkish Get Up and help you strengthen each part of the lift.
What are you doing to improve your coordination and your mind-body connection? Simply lifting heavier weights and/or running faster aren’t going to be enough!