Yesterday, I took some time to test out some footwork drills and give them names that serve only to add some weirdness to your training. The basis of these drills was to perform them in environments that would produce an apparent sense of riskiness. Risky environments require high levels of concentration to navigate, much like an obstacle course does. It doesn't take much to create risk, for these drills all I needed was a concrete slab, a long piece of wood, and a yoga block. Of the three drills I performed, the first two were quite disorienting, and the last drill was nearly impossible to mark with consistency. The first drill seen below is "Tappin' That Plank With Jenny On The Block".
This is an interesting complex as it really taxes the neuromuscular system due to the change in rhythm. Initial rhythm is established between the ground reaction forces against the concrete and the wood, then midway the rhythm must change to adapt to the ground reaction force of the yoga block.
Next up was "Shaw-plank Redemption - Prisoner Hops". This one was a burner, eeesh! I was surprised how fatiguing, mentally and physically, it was to move my body laterally while simultaneously executing tasks in the sagittal plane and frontal plane.
Another way to add risk is to have rules of engagement in the environment that will induce stress. My rules for this drill were 1) restricting my arms behind my back, this forced me to primarily rely on my legs and 2) not wearing shoes, this forced me to be light on my feet in order to avoid pounding on the concrete.
Lastly, "Sinning", offered the most risk, and after about 20 reps, and often failing to hit my mark, I realized my current skill level was not high enough to stick the landing on a plank this narrow. I do really like this motion, as it requires the entire body from top to bottom to torque (like a wringing towel), which is a great stimulus for the interdependence of the upper spine to the lower spine, as well as, a good motion to activate the vestibular system (spinning in mid air).
Risk sharpens the senses. While the risk here really couldn't have caused a major injury, there was enough for me to clearly sense the boundaries of my skill, as well as, sense the quality of my execution. And that's the point, to move with purpose. Be in tune with your limits and use sound judgment from your senses to hover slightly under and slightly over those lines.