THE SIXTH SENSE
Improve your running mechanics, avoid injury and move more efficiently in six simple steps
How proprioception will make you fitter
Wes Tubb is an osteopath, personal trainer and founder of Wes James Osteopathy and Personal Training (wesjames.co.uk) in west London. He has over 12 years of experience in strength and conditioning and rehabilitation.
‘Stand on one leg and imagine you’re in the middle of a clock face,’ says Tubb. ‘Tap your other leg to 12 o’clock, lowering your standing leg into a quarter squat as you do, then return your extended leg to the middle. Do this for each hour of the clock. The more stable you are, the greater your “proprioception”, the body’s “sixth sense” which co-ordinates your spatial awareness and limb movements. Good proprioceptive strength means you’re more in control when performing multi-plane, explosive and single-leg exercises, which are involved in almost every sport. This workout will challenge you to improve your proprioception, integrating both your lower and upper body, and as a result you’ll be able to perform sports more efficiently. You’ll have more energy on the football pitch and greater power in the squat rack – plus a reduced injury risk.’
‘Perform the six moves as a circuit and do a minute of stretching as active rest between exercises,’ says Tubb. ‘When you start, do. For a greater challenge, do the moves back to back with no rest. Aim to complete three rounds, building up to five to encourage progression, resting for a minute after each round, and perform it once or twice a week.’
Clock face hop with stabilisation
Imagine you’re standing in the middle of a clock face. Stand on your right foot. Jump forwards to land at 12 o’clock on your left foot. Stabilise, keeping your knee in line with your foot, then jump back to your right foot in the middle of the clock. Repeat to 9 and 7 o’clock. Switch legs and jump to 12, 3 and 5 o’clock.
Bulgarian split squat
Hold dumbbells by your sides and place one foot on a bench behind you. Bend your front leg, keeping your chest up and your core braced. Pause, then drive back up through your front foot to return to the start. Make sure your knee stays in line with your foot.
Kneeling medicine ball woodchop
Get on one knee, holding a medicine ball with straight arms beside your kneeling leg. Brace your abs and glutes and bring the ball across your body and up. Return to the start. Keep your body upright and face forwards throughout.