Monday, March 19, 2012

Dynamic Balance and Speed Strength Predict Your Success

Dynamic balance and speed strength are the two best physical predictors of success in speed-based sports such as football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse and baseball. If you want to be your best version of athlete, you need both.

Dynamic Balance

Improve your dynamic balance and proprioception (limb position sense) and you will be a better athlete.

Your ability to maintain your center of gravity over a constantly changing base of support is critical to success and is the essence of dynamic balance. Dynamic core strength and control is also necessary to achieve dynamic balance.

You should participate in exercises that progressively challenge your dynamic balance and postural control. Exercises that require use of different surfaces (firm to unstable) will work to accomplish this. One-armed and one-legged exercises also work well. Experts don't always agree on the specific balance exercises to be performed, but research proves that changes in both sensory and motor systems influence balance performance.

Balance exercises should be specific to the sport in which you compete to increase the chances of success and minimize the risk of injury. For example, football and soccer players often compete with cleated shoes on grass surfaces or with flat shoes on artificial surfaces.

Here are some ways to improve your dynamic balance:

--Incorporate one-legged exercises such as power step ups, single leg squats, single leg good mornings, single leg medicine ball exercises, etc.

--Include exercises with your eyes closed to improve limb position sense.

--Train your body in all 3 planes of motion to improve multi-planar balance. An example would be a grouping of walking lunges, side lunges and transverse lunges.

--Train on different surfaces such as grass, sand, astro-play and soft surfaces. You will rarely play on a perfect surface anyway.

--Quickness and agility drills will improve your dynamic balance.

--Do combinations of one-arm and one-leg exercises such as single leg squat-to-single arm shoulder press.

--Jump rope every day using different variations---two feet, one foot, shuffle, etc. Jumping rope is one of the best body coordination exercises out there. And, speed jump rope is even better.

--Better muscular balance will give you better dynamic balance. For example, your quadriceps should not be significantly stronger than your hamstrings.

Speed Strength

Speed strength, or how fast your muscles can produce force, is the key to improving your speed and power. Just getting stronger will not continually improve your speed and power. You must train your muscles to move faster with the correct motions.

There is a point at which increasing strength will not result in an increase in power.

There are five purposes for sports power training:

1. Improve the excitability, sensitivity and reactivity of the neuromuscular system.

2. Improve the rate-of-force production.

3. Increase motor-unit recruitment.

4. Increase motor-unit firing frequency.

5. Increase motor-unit synchronization.

Sports power training teaches you how to activate the right muscles (prime movers and synergists) at the right time. Sports power training also provides you with optimal neuromuscular efficiency.

Here are some ways to train your muscles to move faster:

--Sprinting with maximum effort. You have to train fast to get faster!

--Do plyometric exercises.

--Do weight training exercises at full speed.

--Build muscle mass, especially bulky fast twitch muscle fibers.

--Improve your dynamic flexibility so your body can move efficiently.

Train hard and smart!

Be sure and download your Free Dumbbell and Medicine Ball Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Your Fitness University
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1 comment:

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