By VAHVA Fitness on February 11, 2020
Can you hold this for just 90 seconds? Test your LEG STRENGTH and see if you have athletic strength in your legs.
When people hear the word "athletic movement", often an explosive movement comes to mind. And it is in fact true – the ability to generate power is a foundational athletic quality to possess.
However, that is not all there is to it. We consider power only one of the many athletic attributes a person should develop to reach the most athletic and functional physique.
The other qualities are strength, mobility, speed, balance and.... stability.
When you look at the training footage of many professional athletes whether they are football players, basketball players or mixed martial artists, one area they focus a lot is the stability training.
You see pro athletes doing all kinds of core and leg work with gymnastics balls and free weights. Although it doesn't look that strenuous from the outside, you can see the athlete sweating and working hard.
The reason why they do this type of training (and why stability training is a big part of Athlete 20XX) is that stability training will lead to improved performance on the field with better speed, better agility and even better power.
It may sound counter-intuitive but this is indeed the case. The reason is the fact that the better support and stability you have, the better base you have for power production.
When it comes to making rapid agile movements from one direction to another, your knee, hip and core stability is what will allow you to maintain your posture and move with the utmost efficiency.
Stability training will also reduce the chance of injury better than almost anything. Why? Because your muscles are strong enough to support your bodyweight and maintain stable joint positions.
Especially with movements where you are balancing on a single leg, it's easy to twist the knee in a bad way if it's not properly supported. Likewise, it's easy to crack the lower back if your hips do not properly support your movements.
Sold yet? If you are, check the exercise below and let's get to work!
A lot of people may think that this is only for endurance but 90 seconds is still in the realm of general strength training.
30 seconds is often considered ideal for strength, 60 ideal for muscle growth. In reality, they all develop strength. Especially the 90 seconds hold.
Long isometric holds ensure you are properly activating the correct muscles and that they are activated under resistance for sufficient amount of time (time under tension).
To truly develop the structure of the body and dig deep into the body, you need slow controlled repetitions or controlled isometric holds like this.
The hold should be as stable as possible with the minimal amount of bouncing or movement.
You can easily change the difficulty and the stimulus of the exercise by adjusting the distance of your rear leg: a longer stance will place less resistance on the quadriceps of the rear leg and more on the hip flexors.
If you feel knee pain (front or rear leg), it's often a sign of lack of strength in the quadriceps. Focusing on easier exercises such as squats and training the quadriceps properly should help.
If the pain is not severe, you can also make the hold easier by taking a hold of a table or a wall with your arm.
The exercise should mainly feel in the front thighs (quadriceps) and glutes. If you are shaking a lot straight from the start, then it's a sign of weakness and lack of supportive strength.
An exercise such as the lunge hold can be ego-crushing for many of the "strong" lifters who have gotten used to lifting heavy in various leg exercises. If you cannot do a basic exercise such as this in a comfortable fashion, you may not be as strong as you think.
Structural, comprehensive and precise leg training like this will contribute to your athleticism and real leg strength better than almost anything.
This is pure strength training – there is no ego trying to impress others or yourself with the amount of weight you can lift. You are only concerned of training the legs the best way possible.
A stability hold such as this is however just the tip of the iceberg. Training such as this should be done for every part of the body in various alignments and positions.
Later, you also need to start adding distraction to the body alignments to make the actual effort of stabilizing significantly more difficult and productive in terms of results.
This lunge hold is part of our Movement 20XX course which covers all "the basics" that are fundamental for a healthy, strong and structurally balanced physique.
Athlete 20XX is the next step for athletic training and it has an entire phase dedicated to stability and balance training. After building sufficient levels of strength, mobility, stability and speed, we will focus on speed and power in the last phase of the program.
Focusing on speed and power can be risky and unproductive without sufficient levels of stability and mobility which is why we focus on building the foundation first.
We will also aim to get rid of injuries and structural imbalances in the foundational phases and this will already change everything from your appearance to athletic movements.
Intelligent, sane and precise training that is focused on the long term is what creates champions.
Train hard, stay safe.
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