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Train Like an Athlete: Getting Strong with Power and Agility Training

There’s great reason ESPN’s Body Issue is so popular: athletes have crazy strong bodies.  While you may not be prepping for the next Olympics, it doesn’t mean that you can’t train like you are.

A 30 minute workout with Urbankick can help you improve your strength, power, flexibility and agility.  A traditional cardio workout such as walking, jogging or biking  only works in one plane of motion, the sagittal plane.  Every Urbankick class utilizes all planes of motion and numerous training modalities to increase your overall physiological and physical benefits.

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POWER
Safely performed plyometric exercises, such as: jump squats, skips, jumping jacks, and star jumps can help build power and speed, develop coordination and agility, improve sports performance and aid in injury prevention.
Most people can be safely introduced to lower-intensity plyometrics.  Low-amplitude squat jumps can introduce the stretch-shortening cycle, improve type II muscle fiber recruitment and provide beneficial bone-strengthening, weight-bearing forces.

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AGILITY
Agility training provides the participant with performance benefits: neuromuscular adaptation, improved athleticism, injury prevention and decreased rehabilitation time. High knees, lateral shuffles, leg kicks and forward and backward running are examples of some drills that are performed during an UrbanKick® class.  Several benefits will be derived from these multi-directional movements such as  increased body control resulting from a concentrated form of kinesthetic awareness, better injury prevention and coordination.

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FLEXIBILITY & BALANCE
Proper execution of the punches, kicks and total-body rotations, throughout class will improve dynamic flexibility, range of motion (ROM) through the joints as well as dynamic balance.  Maintaining proper ROM through the joints improves and maintains correct posture and flexibility throughout the aging process and an increase in flexibility decreases muscle tension, muscle imbalances and the risk of injury.

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to train like one.  By incorporating power, agility and balance training into your workouts your can improve your overall health and physical benefits as well as decrease your risk for injury.

Getting Started with Athletic Training: A Q&A With Shane, founder of Urbankick

How would you recommend incorporating lower-intensity plyometrics?

Start with a familiar movement such as a squat. You can start by rolling up to your toes and swinging your arms to reach to the sky, but not actually incorporating a jump until you feel comfortable. The jump may be very tiny without a lot of impact.

In addition to reducing injury, how does building power, agility, flexibility, and balance improve your heath and fitness?

Incorporating different training modalities can help prevent over-training and the over-development of one skill at the expense of another.

Do you have any tips for maintaining form for punches and kicks to help improve your flexibility?

As with any movement or exercise, we encourage you to move through your full range of motion (ROM).  By executing full ROM through your joints, you help ensure that you will maintain and improve your flexibility. You want to keep your movement big, all the while maintaining balance with a stable core. Your kicks should be low enough that you can maintain a neutral spine.  You should be able to push through a flexed foot and extend your leg without locking your knee or releasing your upper body to compensate for tight hips.  Your punches should start from your low body and use full extension on your jabs without locking your elbow or over-reaching.

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