I have spent years training celebrities and athletes to get them to the top of their game. Through years of experience, I learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t.
I have distilled all of this knowledge into 3 easy to follow steps that will unlock athletic potential AND lower your overall risk of injury.
The whole goal is to get your body to work synergistically and significantly improve athletic performance…
In order to do that, you have to get all the muscles in balance and firing the right way to give you the most power, speed, balance, agility, etc… that will give you a serious edge over the competition. These are my TOP 3 ways to get it done…
1) Work the Glutes
The glutes are your butt muscles and they almost always do not work at their optimal levels. Usually, most people’s glutes are very weak and they end up relying on their quads and hamstrings.
The problem with this is that the glutes are your quarterback and the other large muscles in the legs are meant to support the glutes (like receivers and running backs).
But, if the glutes are weak, the other muscles are forced to do more than they can, which makes you slower and increases your risk of injury.
This is a huge reason why most people do NOT reach their athletic potential and suffer injuries that sideline or even end their athletic career far too early.
STEP #1 : FIRE THE GLUTES
Okay, so the first things is to teach your glutes how to flex. We call this turning the muscle “on” (just like flexing your biceps).
But, when it comes to the glutes, most people cannot do it.
So, I am going to start with something very easy… Stand up and imagine you have a dollar bill between your butt cheeks.
Now, squeeze that imaginary bill so it does not fall.
Guess what? If you did that, you just fired your glutes!
There are some simple and great exercises that anyone can do to enhance this firing and get your glutes warmed up.
They are called bridges and you can watch a quick video of how to do them here >.
This is an important place to start, because you want to make sure you are able to fire the glutes when doing the strengthening exercises that come next or you will end up reinforcing bad habits (like using too much of the quads and hamstrings when doing leg exercises)…
So, do a few sets of bridges and make sure you get those glutes firing. What I usually recommend is that you rest your butt on the floor and totally relax. Then, fire the glutes and do the bridge. Then, relax again, etc…
This teaches you how to go from rest to firing these muscles and gets you ready for the next step… standing up and strengthening your glutes.
STEP #2 : STRENGTHEN THE GLUTES
The best exercise for strengthening the glutes is the squat.
You do not need any weight and it should NOT hurt your low back.
Check out this quick video to learn the proper form for a squat >.
Actually, if you have access to a Swiss Ball, you can learn how to do a squat by watching this video as well: ball squat >
By learning how to do the squat (most people do this exercise wrong and do not get any benefit from it), you will strengthen your glutes significantly and this will allow your body to start functioning properly when you move.
As time goes on, you can start adding weight, but hold the weights at your side or use kettle bells to avoid straining your low back.
Next, you could add in some more challenging exercises, like lunges, side lunges, step ups, split squats, and one of my favorites.. the Bulgarian split squat.
There are many, many other glute strengthening exercises that incorporate more power, strength and balance, but these are foundational exercises that are absolutely essential.
As time goes on, you can learn more about other exercises that fit into your specific needs and goals.
The key with all glute exercises is to focus on pushing from the heel of your foot, instead of the ball of your foot.
By focusing on your heel, you will be able to use much more of your glutes, than your quads.
Once your know how to fire your glutes and they get strong, you will notice a HUGE increase in your ability to move faster and safer.
You will be protecting your quads and hamstrings from injury and you will be properly using the STRONGEST muscles in the lower body (the glutes) to power your athleticism to the next level.
2) Improve Hip Mobility
Just as the glutes are too weak, the hips are usually too tight. And this is a very big deal…
It can lead directly to severely impaired movement which will slow you down dramatically. And it can also lead to chronic pain (low back, hips, knees, etc…).
Hip tightness and glute weakness both come from the same cause… TOO MUCH SITTING.
It is just the way of things that we are forced to sit way too much and way too long.
You have to counter-act this to get your body back to a state of natural movement, which is the foundational factor for improving athleticism.
The good news is that the more you mobilize your hips, the easier it will be for your glutes to fire. And the stronger your glutes get, the easier it will be to loosen the hips.
Everything works synergistically in the body, so as we move toward better mobility, everything can start to fall into place.
Okay… I have found there are two important steps you can start doing right now to significantly improve mobility in the hips.
STEP #1: FOAM ROLL THE HIPS
Knots are in your hips and they will keep you from loosening them. Most people think that stretching is enough. Wrong.
Imagine you have a rubber band with a knot in the middle. What happens to the knot if you stretch both sides of the rubber band?
It gets tighter, right?
The trick is to get out the knots first and then stretch. That way, you can stretch further and the increased mobility will last much longer.
And that is the point of foam rolling. It is really just self-massage, but using simple tools that help you work out these knots naturally.
It’s a very simple detail, but it makes all the difference in the world.
You foam roll out the knots first and THEN you stretch.
In the beginning, the knots will be tight and you will instantly feel them, but within a few days, you will feel them less and less.
As you get better at foam rolling, you can add more of your body weight onto that hip by balancing on the foam roller. This will add more pressure to the knots in your hips.
In a few weeks, the knots will feel less and less uncomfortable. You may even be able to roll over them without any discomfort at all.
But, in the beginning, the way to find them is super easy… you roll over the area you need to loosen and you will immediately feel discomfort when you are over a knot.
Check out these quick videos on how to foam roll the Glute Medius and Hips…
After doing this for a little while, you will feel a dramatic difference in the flexibility of your hips.
And once the foam roller gets too easy, you can start rolling with a tennis ball and then a softball or baseball. These are great, cheap tools for really breaking up knots in the hips.
Okay, so after about 10 minutes of rolling the hips, you will be ready to stretch them…
STEP #2: STRETCH THE HIPS
Now, that some of those knots are loosening up, we can get in there and really push the limit with mobility of the hips.
Here is a short video that shows you exactly how to stretch the hips > properly.
As the hips become looser and you can flex and strengthen your glutes, you will find two incredible things start to happen…
1) Your hamstrings and quads become significantly looser without stretching them at all!
This is because they will not have to work so hard anymore and that means they can go back to their proper function as helper muscles instead of trying to be the quarterback.
This SIGNIFICANTLY LOWERS THE RISK OF A HAMSTRING OR QUAD INJURY.
2) You will quickly find that you are able to move faster and with significantly more stability and balance than you had in the past.
This is because the hips and glutes will be moving more naturally, which starts to UNLOCK YOUR TRUE ATHLETIC POTENTIAL without be impaired by improper movement.
3) Improve Calf & Ankle Strength and Mobility
I almost never see anyone focusing on the feet, ankles and calves and it is a HUGE mistake.
Did you know that sprained ankles are the #1 most common sports related injury? Over 25,000 a day!!
And once you have a sprained ankle, if you do not heal it properly, they will stay weak and stiff and severely hamper your athleticism.
You may end up using an ankle brace, which not only makes you slower but significantly increases your risk of an ACL or MCL tear in the knee. For more on that, please read about ankle braces >.
The feet are what come into contact with the ground. They are your brakes and gas pedals.
If there are any problems with your feet, ankles or calves, they will significantly effect how all the muscles and joints above them (i.e. the rest of your body) move and function.
In other words, if the calves and ankles are weak, unstable and have limited range of motion, then you will automatically be slower and at a higher risk of injury.
It is an often over-looked, but extremely vital area to fix up. Doing this will dramatically increase speed, jumping ability, quickness, agility, balance and much more…
It is almost like you have been walking in ski boots and you don’t even know it.
Once, you start loosening up the calves and strengthening the stability in the ankles, you will find that it’s like stepping into extremely comfortable and lightweight athletic shoes.
There are a number of things you can and should do for this area…
I actually created a complete Prehab section in the H.E.M. Ankle Rehab System to address this exact issue.
But, you can check out the following two articles I wrote which will get you well on your way to getting this taken care of the right way.
First, you should start foam rolling the calves to get out the knots (just like the hips). Learn how to foam roll the calves here >
Next, you will be ready to do some stretching and strengthening.
The Calf Stretch and Calf Raises are foundational, quick things you can do right now to start getting your calves and ankle stronger and more stable.
Like everything else, you have to learn how to do them the right way to get the most benefit, so please check out those links to make sure you do them correctly (don’t assume you know how to do them properly, since most people miss the vital details that make it effective).
As your ankles and calves become stronger and more stable, you can challenge them with more difficult exercises that will test their ability to generate power while still retaining their balance.
Obviously, this is a key factor for increasing speed, agility, quickness, etc that has a huge impact on overall athleticism.
There are obviously many other factors that go into increasing athleticism, but this is a great place to start.
If you want to learn more ways to improve athletic performance, please, take advantage of my FREE GIFT (the Dynamics of Motion System), because there are no strings attached and it will teach you all the things you need to know to achieve your fitness and athletic goals.
You can do everything from home, the park, or anywhere else without any equipment. This frees you up to dramatically improve your overall fitness, mobility, strength, etc… which will seriously take your athleticism to a whole new level.
It is all about helping your body work the way it was meant to work and fixing the issues that are getting in the way. That is how you unlock your true athletic potential!!
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