Hi again, movement education fans (and I KNOW there are a lot of you)… we’re back with another entry in our series of What the Fundamentals? progressions.
Today we’re going to look at a movement that actually has a number of potential ways to develop and progress – since it involves “locomotion”, or directional movement, rather than staying in a place. But to get there, you have some groundwork to lay!
First off, stability in a split-stance is key – so before you start trying to keep your balance with full-body movement, start by learning to maintain a stable mid-line or trunk with something challenging the upper body. One of the ways you can do this is the “Anti-Rotation Press” in a half-kneeling position, where you take a half-kneeling stance (one knee is on the ground, and one leg is in front of you) with some form of resistance – such as a resistance band or cable – pulling gently straight out to the side. Initiate the move by holding the handle close to your chest, then press it away from your body until your arms are straight out in front of you – pause, then pull your hands back in. (Keep in mind – the resistance you feel is trying to pull you sideways! If it’s straight out in front of you, rotate 90⁰ to get yourself properly set…) Now, as you feel more and more confident in the movement, begin to narrow your stance rather than increase the weight, and keep doing so until you’re able to complete all the repetitions and set with the back foot/knee and front foot all in line.
Once this half-kneeling position is stable and “owned”, drop the lateral resistance of the band or cable and start to work on the split-squat – touching the back knee to the ground and then driving back up, stopping just before the front knee is straight. The motion here should see the shoulders and head going up and down in a straight movement, without any forward to back weight shift – stay up on the ball of the back foot (never put the heel down) and work to drive the front heel into the ground. You may have to start off with some form of assistance on this – the picture is shown using two pieces of PVC piping (which helps to remind you to stay tall) but it can also be done with a suspension trainer, holding onto a table or grabbing a squat rack. Once you are confident in this movement, drop the assistance and build your repetitions without help (straight bodyweight) – progressing from there to adding load (through dumbbells, kettlebells, a weight vest, etc), moving towards a single leg variation (the “Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat”) or adding the additional movement of the lunge (the “Sliding Reverse Lunge” shown in the picture).
Make sure that each stage is fully under your control before you move it up to the next level – and be sure to ASK if you have any questions, or SHARE with anyone you think would appreciate it.
In the words of Hal and Joanna: Keep fit and have fun!