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Tag Archives: practice

Improve Movement by Training Movement – Not Specific Muscles

runningA pervading idea in the fitness and therapy industries is that altered or “dysfunctional” movement is simply the product of specific muscle weakness (or imbalance). The solution, of course, is to find the weak muscle and strengthen it. The result: correct movement, and therefore decreased risk of injury and chronic pain.

Is this true? Can strengthening specific muscles improve movement form or technique?

As usual, things are a bit more complicated than that. Let’s gather insight from a few research studies, using one of the most common examples: gluteus medius strengthening for running mechanics.Continue Reading

Mental Imagery: Imagine yourself being awesome – it works!

awesome photos by Bold Creative - terrible photoshop by me

With my injury last week, and a competition coming up this weekend, I’m being forced to get creative. It’s a good thing. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right?

To improve (or at least maintain) my skills without aggravating my injury, I’ve decided to give “mental imagery” a try.

Basically, mental imagery (a.k.a “motor imagery”) is when you imagine yourself doing something (a specific sports skill – like kicking a soccer ball), to improve the skill in the real world.

It’s like practicing in your head.

Most athletes do this to some degree, usually right before a real attempt at a skill. When I’m bored, I often daydream about doing incredible moves (some are probably impossible). But practicing mental imagery on purpose – actually taking time to sit and imagine every detail – is something I’ve never really tried.

Skeptical of its true power, I did a little research. What I found was very interesting…

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B-Boy Q&A: Should I practice with ankle weights?

Would my flares be better if I practiced with ankle weights on? hmm...

Last updated: Aug 27, 2012

Should we add weights to our ankles when we practice?

It makes sense at first: wear the ankle weights while practicing strengthen the right muscles, then you’ll do it with more speed and power when you take the weights off, making the move easier.

Seems pretty straight-forward. But does it really work that way?

Let’s check out some science!

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B-Boy Stats – How much do B-Boys usually practice?

studying b-boy puzzles

When I first started dancing (b-boying, to be specific) I just wanted to practice all the time.

How else was I supposed to get awesome?!

But already being a health and fitness enthusiast, I knew training too much would likely lead to burnout, over-training, and injuries. Plus, I was starting my Neuroscience degree, so I was stupid busy anyway.

Therefore, I’ve spent my eight (at the time of writing this article) years of dancing constantly trying to figure out how to get the most out of my practice time.

Of course, the truth is, the more you practice, the faster you are going to get better (as long as you’re not just screwing around). So, quality of practice aside, the question remains – how much do B-Boys usually practice? I’ve asked this question to many top level b-boys that I’ve met throughout the years – and I’ve gotten a wide range of different answers and opinions. Confusing!

However, now we actually have a research study that gives us some data! Some Doctors from Germany went to the International Battle of the Year in 2008 and surveyed both ‘professional’ (the competitors) and ‘amateur’ (others attending the event) B-Boys and asked them questions about training and injuries.

Let’s discuss what they found, and how this information can (and cannot) help us.

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Practice 102 – What’s the best way to practice?

how do you become incredible at something?

In Practice 101 we discussed what practice is, how it works, and how it may even provide health benefits (especially as you age).

Surely everyone wants to be good at something. There are endless reasons why. Why not?

Now, the question everyone has:

How do people become absolutely amazing at things?

Athletes like Tiger Woods are obvious examples. But what about the CEO of a huge business, like Steve Jobs of Apple?

And more importantly, how can we get better at what we do?

Research has determined that there’s a specific kind of practice that really creates a world class expert. And, as we will discuss, it’s more important than that magical thing people call ‘talent’.

Continue Reading