If you watch people perform lifts, you'll notice that many of them move through short and abbreviated motions. One of two things is happening: they're trying to lift too much weight or they're cheating to make the exercise easier.
Problem is, this only strengthens muscles in a limited range of motion. If you prevent a muscle from working through its full range of motion, inhibition slows the rate of chemical and electrical activity within the muscle and decreases the amount of recruited fibers.
It may not pose much of a problem in the weight room, but it's a different story on the field. Sports require the body to move in unpredictable ways. If you exceed the range of motion in which you trained, you'll be slow and weak. Worse, you might injure yourself.
In addition to performing mobility exercises before and after your workouts, you should train through a full range of motion. Below are three exercises, which, when performed through a full range of motion, increase mobility and strength at the same time.
If you can't do a proper Lunge, you probably lack mobility in your hips. Scissor Jumps improve hip separation—an important skill for running—and increase lower-body power.
- Assume a lunge position with your front thigh parallel to the ground and your shin vertical. You should feel a slight stretch in your rear thigh.
- Push off the ground to jump up for height.
- Switch the position of your legs in the air and land with your opposite leg forward.
- Land softly in the lunge position, and perform the next rep.
Sets/Duration: 3-4x 30 seconds
Full-Squat Box Jumps
A plyometric exercise, Box Jumps require powerful, explosive movements that increase muscle memory and flexibility.
- Stand about 6 inches behind a box with your feet hip-width apart.
- Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Explosively jump up, swinging your arms to generate momentum.
- Land softly on the box.
- Step off the box and reset for the next rep.
Most people cheat a little on their Push-Ups. Next time you perform them, lower your chest as far as you can. You'll alleviate tight and bulky chest muscles, and better yet, improve your strength.
- Assume a push-up position with your body in a straight line.
- Keeping your core tight, bend your elbows to lower until your chest is no more than one inch above the ground.
- Extend your arms to drive up to the starting position.
- For an additional range of motion challenge, hold dumbbells instead of placing your hands on the ground.
RELATED: 10 Powerful Push-Up Variations
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