Develop coordination safely and effectively


Coordination is often underestimated in the fitness arena, as people tend to associate coordination with sports activities like basketball, golf, etc. The truth is that coordination is vital for functional training, free weight training, and many other types of workouts.

This week I present a few tips for developing coordination using safe and effective methods. I will also introduce a new exercise that can help develop coordination between the arms, legs, and core.

The psychology of training adherence is fascinating. Think of all of the factors that help someone be able to stick to an exercise program. For example, a person’s social network can have a massive impact. When friends and family are inactive or do not appreciate healthy choices … it decreases the likelihood of success.

The type of exercise field can also invite or discourage a particular type of exerciser. A dark-colored fitness center, dark equipment, lots of free weight stations, and dim lighting may appeal to a die-hard weight lifter, but it will turn off the average fitness enthusiast. Conversely, brightly colored environments with lighter colors and a small strength range are geared towards a different type of customer. Hence, it is important to think about the type of environment that motivates you the most.

It’s also good to choose exercises that will help you build confidence. Simple movements like squats, pushups, or bicep curls are quick and easy to understand, but introducing more complex movements can have benefits.

Complexity can often be achieved by combining a simple exercise or two into a larger, multi-faceted movement pattern. This type of modification can build coordination and balance and also make training significantly more efficient.

My takeaway message is that every decision counts. The lighting of the workout, music, exercise, trainer, cleanliness, and other factors all affect how well people stick to an exercise program. From my point of view, it makes sense to optimize as many of these factors as possible – to create a foundation for performance.

This week’s exercise will help one reap the benefits of coordination. The kettlebell squat curl is a great way to combine two exercises that could otherwise be broken up into two (or more) separate movements. The combination of the two gives the trainee more stimulation and a stronger sense of achievement – in half the time.

1. Grab a kettlebell with both hands (palms facing each other) and stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart. Your arms should hang straight down in front of you.

2. Squat down until the kettlebell almost touches the floor.

3. Stand up again and when you reach the full standing position, do a biceps curl with the kettlebell.

4th Allow the elbow to return to full extension and squat again.

5. Continue this pattern for two sets of 12 repetitions.

The kettlebell squat curl feels natural, even for someone who rarely performs these types of complex movements. Curling the kettlebells after they have reached the fully upright position just makes sense and your body will respond to it.

I find this type of exercise almost easier than separating the two movements.

There are lots of efficiencies to be learned from this cool action so it’s time to get to work!

Matt Parrott holds a PhD in Education (Sports Science) and a Masters in Kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

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