Focus and control required for Levitating Lunge
“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.