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Resist / Assist: 4-Way Stepping

In sports, recreation, and life, maintaining balance, while involved in human movement dynamics, requires center of mass (COM) – keeping your body weight and standing alignment in sync, such that body weight is centered between the legs.

As the COM extends outside the standing perimeter, such a misalignment can increase risk to injury and what’s called a false step(s) – slowing an athlete’s movement to the target – the ball, the score, or the opponent. In American Football, the ball carrier needs to create separation with the tackler, while the opposite is true for the defensive player.

Here are a series of exercises that employ a technique that I perfected called Resist/Assist/Skill, which helped my NFL kickers to set the marks for longest field goals, to most touch backs on kickoffs, while helping Serena Williams to increase her first serve speed from 120 mph to 125.

This performance enhancement technique uses a simple but unique rubber tubing device with multiple points of attachment – The Functional Trainer. You will notice that as you move away from the anchor position, you experience resistance. On the return to position, you are assisted.

4-Way Stepping

Anchor both ends of the rubber tubing – which should be able to stretch out three times its length without snapping – to a fixed object at waist height. Place the tube around the waist. You can place rolled foam or a towel around the contact point with the waist to allow for comfort. Face away from the anchor. Assume an athletic “ready position” – with knees slightly bent and body weight centered between the legs – separated to allow for a balanced position. Using the arms in a running-type motion, step out aggressively in a left foot, right foot manner for two steps. Then reverse the motion on the return. Face laterally and perform the same movement pattern. Turn backwards and face the anchor and repeat, followed by turning to the opposite side and repeat. Try 10 step out/back movements for eachpattern. Adjust distance from anchor to increase/decrease intensity.

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