Men Over 40 Need to Add This Type of Movement to Their Training
Milo Bryant is a performance coach as well as an experienced journalist. He’s also in his 50s—and his book Unstoppable After 40 gives you the roadmap to do more than merely remain active as you “mature.” Milo trains hard and recovers even better so he can do what he wants, when he wants. Get ready to use his methods to become unstoppable. This isn’t your dad’s middle age.
Fellas, you move side-to-side in some form in an overwhelming majority of the athletic activities and sports you do. Yet unless you’re in 7th grade gym class with Coach Weatherspoon, most of you don’t ever take the time to prepare your body to efficiently move laterally. That needs to change.
Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, skiing, racquetball—I could go on for days listing the number of sports that require lateral movement efficiency. Lateral shuffling “greases” the hips and shoulders preparing them to go into abduction (leg moving away from the center body) and adduction (leg moving toward the center of the body. Simultaneously, the shoulders will go into abduction and elevation (the arms raising away from the ground and outward from the center of the body) as well as adduction and depression (the arms descending toward the ground and the center of the body).
That sounds convoluted, but it’s the simplest way to explain the coordination that needs to happen with the shoulders and hips during this movement. And all of it needs to happen while your feet, thighs, pelvis, chest and head are all facing forward, or perpendicular to your direction of movement.
Shuffling also gives you some valuable variety in your non-sports sessions by changing up the plane of motion. You walk, jog, and sprint primarily in the sagittal plane (up and down, forward and back motion). Lateral shuffling works the frontal plane of movement, going side to side.
This, however, isn’t Coach Weatherspoon’s drill. But it will get you ready to perform even better in your workouts—and in any of your exploits outside the gym, too.
How to Shuffle for Your Warmups
●Stand up straight, with your arms at your sides.
●Next, shifting your weight to your left foot, push off the ground and take a large hop to the right with your right foot. Quickly shuffle your left foot so it’s beside your right foot, then take another hop with your right foot. Allow your arms to swing naturally and crisscross in front of your body.
●Repeat the pattern until you’ve done 10 shuffles. Repeat on the left side.
Best Coach Cues for Lateral Shuffling
● Always land on the ball of the foot.
● Land with the ball of the foot pointing the same direction as the chest.
● Look forward. Don’t look or turn any part of your body into the direction you’re moving.
● Keep the torso tall and the core tight throughout the movement. This is a warm-up drill not a basketball defensive drill.
● Loosen up! Stop being robotic! Flow more!
Helpful Tip for Better Lateral Shuffling
●This drill requires rhythm. Don’t worry because Mother Nature has given you your own cadence. One of the best ways to find that cadence is to shuffle and let your shoulders and arms hang free. Feel the up and down motion of the shoulders and how those motions coincide with each foot landing. Let the arm movements, swinging away from the body and criss crossing in front of the body, sync with the foot landings.
Milo Bryant, CSCS, is a California-based trainer who helped author Gray Cook’s Movement: Functional Movement Systems.
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