When an athlete comes face to face with an opponent, you can go through them or around them. However awe inspiring it may be to go through them, few sports allow you to do this. Even when they do, success is never guaranteed. The other option is to go around them on either side, this is allowed, encouraged, and wows the crowd when done fluently. These are some training tips and drills you can do to improve your lateral movement.
To be able to move side to side, the athlete must develop immense lower body strength. You are essentially transporting every ounce of your mass from one physical location to the next in just fractions of a second. Back squats and cleans are obvious choices, but here are some additional exercises to help boost lower body strength specific to improving lateral movement.
PRO MULTI HIP An abundance of hip girdle strength equals massive side to side movement ability. A Pro-Multi Hip machine provides a four part exercise that will give you the results you want. There are two located at the Intermountain St. George Acceleration training facility and the experts there will gladly demonstrate each stage of the exercise. Muscle areas: hip flexors, extenders, adductors, and abductors.
SIDE SQUAT WALK Holding either a dumbbell or kettlebell against your chest, assume a squat position. Walk laterally, maintaining a low hip level and tight midsection. Keep your torso tall and erect and your head forward. Walk for either a set distance or for 10-12 steps in each direction. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-20-yard side squat walks in each direction, resting one minute between sets.
SKATERS This plyometric exercise is also a footwork and balance drill, but it will help you improve your lateral speed. Beginning on one foot, jump sideways to the opposite side (if on your right foot, jump to the left), and land on the opposite leg. Jump with as much explosive power as you can. Repeat this movement side to side as explosively as possible for 10 seconds. Three sets is recommended with one minute full recovery in between.
BODY WEIGHT LATERAL SPEED SLIDE Position yourself in an athletic stance. Mark out a distance of 5 to 10 yards away from your starting position. Perform a lateral speed slide as fast as possible while staying under control to the marker, and back to your starting position. Rest up to 60 seconds and repeat for reps.
PLYOMETRIC LATERAL JUMPS WITH RESISTANCE CORDS This exercise requires special equipment but is extremely effective in improving lateral movement. In this exercise the athlete wears a high strength plyometric belt that is fastened to the floor with elastic resistance cords and will jump laterally and land with both feet from one point to another point about 30”-36” apart. Once this skill is mastered, 6” foam blocks are positioned between the two points that will force the athlete to jump more explosively. This drill also demands that the nervous system to develop specific neural pathways for speed, power, and lateral movement.
For more information on improving lateral movement and to develop a personalized, sport specific training plan, contact Intermountain St. George Acceleration