Fo­cus and con­trol re­quired for Le­vi­tat­ing Lunge

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - vball­ MATT PARROTT Matt Parrott has a doc­tor­ate in ed­u­ca­tion (sport stud­ies) and a mas­ter’s in ki­ne­si­ol­ogy and is cer­ti­fied by the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Sports Medicine.

“Con­trol” is a word fit­ness pro­fes­sion­als of­ten use when telling clients how to per­form an ex­er­cise. It’s an im­por­tant and rel­e­vant term for al­most ev­ery type of fit­ness ac­tiv­ity, re­gard­less of whether the client is an Olympic ath­lete or an ac­coun­tant.

This week, I’ll dis­cuss some ways to en­sure that con­trol is prop­erly im­ple­mented into your workout reg­i­men. Plus, I’ll in­tro­duce an ex­er­cise that re­quires sig­nif­i­cant con­trol to per­form cor­rectly.

En­sur­ing that a client stays in con­trol while do­ing an ex­er­cise in­volves ad­dress­ing many small fac­tors, all of which can be clas­si­fied as ei­ther “in­ter­nal” or “ex­ter­nal.” In­ter­nal fac­tors are things like breath­ing, move­ment speed, move­ment pat­tern and fo­cus. For most peo­ple, in­ter­nal con­trol fac­tors are much eas­ier to man­age than ex­ter­nal fac­tors, so we’ll start with them.

Con­cen­tra­tion and fo­cus are the two key fac­tors in con­trol­ling any move­ment pat­tern dur­ing an ex­er­cise ses­sion. To main­tain them, one must elim­i­nate as many dis­trac­tions as pos­si­ble. But this is a highly in­di­vid­ual mat­ter. Con­sider mu­sic: For some peo­ple, mu­sic helps with fo­cus and al­lows them to stay “in the co­coon” of con­cen­tra­tion while ex­er­cis­ing. For oth­ers, mu­sic can be a dis­trac­tion that leads them down a path of con­stant song switch­ing.

So us­ing or elim­i­nat­ing mu­sic could be an ex­am­ple of how con­cen­tra­tion and fo­cus can be op­ti­mized to im­prove that in­ter­nal con­trol.

Per­form­ing an ex­er­cise also re­quires a com­mit­ment. As­sum­ing one un­der­stands the proper move­ment path, most of mo­tion con­trol comes down to speed.

Many ex­er­cis­ers move too quickly, which cre­ates a sit­u­a­tion where they lose con­trol a lit­tle — or a lot. My ad­vice is to slow down all of your ex­er­cise mo­tions. At min­i­mum, try to en­sure that the “up” phase of a move­ment takes two sec­onds and the “down” phase of the move­ment also takes 2 sec­onds.

Ex­ter­nal con­trol fac­tors come at you from your ex­er­cise en­vi­ron­ment: The peo­ple, the weather, the time you have avail­able, the light­ing, mir­rors and other stim­uli can im­prove or de­tract from your workout.

Every­body has dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­men­tal pref­er­ences that fa­cil­i­tate stay­ing “in the zone,” so my ad­vice here is to choose your en­vi­ron­ment wisely to lessen your ex­po­sure to dis­trac­tions. Ear­phones could keep other peo­ple at bay. Work­ing out ear­lier or later could solve a prob­lem, too.

To do this week’s ex­er­cise cor­rectly, in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal con­trol fac­tors cer­tainly need to be in place. The Le­vi­tat­ing Lunge takes an in­cred­i­ble amount of fo­cus and con­cen­tra­tion, but is ap­pro­pri­ate for all fit­ness lev­els.

1. Layer two ex­er­cise mats on the floor and se­lect a pair of light dumb­bells. While hold­ing the dumb­bells, stand on top of the mats.

2. Lift the right foot off the floor and slowly lunge down by bend­ing the left knee and hip.

3. As you be­gin to lower, ex­tend both arms in front of your body and up to shoul­der height. This is done to coun­ter­bal­ance the lunge and main­tain bal­ance.

4. Con­tinue bend­ing the left hip and knee un­til the right knee touches the mat very lightly.

5. Quickly re­v­erse the mo­tion and stand back up.

6. Go right into the next rep­e­ti­tion with the same leg. The key here is to move very slowly through the range of mo­tion and min­i­mize the amount of time the knee is on the floor.

7. Per­form two sets of 12 for each leg.

The Le­vi­tat­ing Lunge is a great way to strengthen the mus­cles around the knee and hip with­out us­ing heavy re­sis­tance.

Sh­effield Duke does the Le­vi­tat­ing Lunge at Lit­tle Rock Rac­quet Club.

Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette/CELIA STOREY

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