Whether it be homework, multiple team practices, or even 1 on 1 skill development, it seems like there is never enough time to get everything in that you must do in order to excel in sports ahead of your peers. What you may not know is that its probably more important to train without the ball or bat, and just get quality exercise in. Below are 3 exercises you can do right at home, or before & after practice to get that extra edge on the rest of them.
1) Walking Lunges
Walking lunges might just be the easiest exercise that provides the most “bang for your buck”. Start standing, and take a large step out in front of you, bend your knees, and lower yourself to the ground until the knee of the back leg touches the floor. Maintain the upright posture as you stand back up with your feet coming together, then repeat on the other side. There are many ways you can progress the simple lunge by adding dumbbells in each hand, or even a barbell to the front or back, or even holding it overhead. We usually perform these for 3-4 seats of 8-12 reps on each leg.
2) Single Leg Glute Bridge
WThe glute bridge is another fairly simple exercise that can be done anywhere, without the need for equipment, that develops the posterior chain muscles (think hamstrings and as the name implies, glutes). To perform this exercise, lay down on the floor belly up, and place your feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest, and flex the foot of the down leg up, so that just the heel is on the floor. Drive your heel through the floor, raising your hips up, while engaging your glutes hard. Then return to the start position. This is an excellent exercise to incorporate tempo work with as well, such as pauses at the top or slow eccentric lowering. You can also modify the exercise by elevating either your feet, or your shoulders on a bench or box if available, increasing the difficulty of the exercise.
3) Single Leg RDLs
If your noticing a pattern here of single leg movements, then your right. The added bonus effect of performing these single leg exercises is the difficulty of controling your balance while performing them, as well as being thats how most movements in sports happen, like running and cutting. The single leg RDL is by far one of the more difficult exercises in this short list, requiring a lot of balance and coordination. To perform the Single Leg RDL, balance on on leg, and while mainating a straight line from your head, through your shoulders, torso, hip, and floating leg, bend forward at the hips and shifting your weight backwards. We tell our athletes to imagine pushing or reaching their floating leg backwards to touch the wall behind them. Once you feel a stretch in the hamstrings & glutes, pull yourself back to the upright standing position through the heel of the stance leg.