The Importance of Preparation & 3 Simple Drills to Enhance Your Foundation
I’ve always aspired to a body that appears to move with utmost ease. If you haven’t had the chance to appreciate this then you simply need to look at the worlds top athletes in action. The efficiency in their movement creates what appears to be an effortless performance – strong yet fluid. The reason for this, is the time they commit to preparing the foundations they need in order to perfectly execute their chosen movement. Exercise preparation is the foundation to improving performance.
We are only as strong as our weakest part, and this often comes down to strengthening the core (or foundation) to improve the entire structure. If your handstands, cartwheels, crow poses and other gymnastics or yoga moves look untidy, incomplete and broken or of you can’t quiet seem to feel right with barbell positioning, it will most likely be due to lack of preparation or eagerness to progress too quickly without a solid foundation. Unfortunately most people push through this thinking higher volume will improve technique (the more the better concept!). Compound poor technique with volume and you’re compromising your foundation that leaves you susceptible to injury. Let me slow things down for a moment to focus on some simple drills to better prepare you for improving your performance.
Start your sessions with some simple wrist preparation drills
- Wrist rolls
Interlock the fingers of both your hands to make a ball. Once you have created this ball rotate one hand over the other in a circular type motion. You will generally find you’ll naturally go in a one direction first. Rotate 5 – 30 times then change to the opposite direction for the same amount of rotations. Start with the lower repetition range and work up. Don’t be surprised if one direction of movement feels slightly unnatural and awkward to start with, as long as it pain-free and not under load you are doing it right.
- Wrist Waves
Interlock your fingers and form a straight line with both hands. Elevate one elbow (left or right) toward the sky to start your wave. The natural progression will be to transfer the elevation from the elbow then into the wrists. You’ll notice that the original elbow that started the movement will lower at the end of the wave. Repeat this several times then switch direction. Once again, you find one direction abnormal but persist in challenging your dominant motor patterns.
- Reverse Prayer
Place the backs of both hands against each other with your fingers pointing down towards the ground. Gently push the backs of your wrist together (as much as your current flexibility allows pain-free) while keeping your forearms parallel with the ground. Hold this for 5 – 30 seconds. The reverse prayer is a very simple but effective wrist mobolisation exercise.
These are my 3 go to drills before and after any hand balancing, Yoga, Animal Flow, or regular resistance training. They can also be useful to provide some relief between sets in the middle of your practice and I even strongly recommend it for people spending extended periods of time typing on a computer. Dedicating five minutes to these drills as part of your warm up and cool down and any chance to pass dead time you get in your day (e.g. stuck in traffic, watching TV, waiting in a queue) will work to surprisingly enhance your performance immensely. Remember, the goal is to train to last, and you’ll be missing out on serious training time if you’re taking time off for injuries.
Jason Clark – Co Founder Perform360