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Brandon Oto
07-13-2008, 05:22 PM
Anybody have any thoughts on progressive training ideas for improving: flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy?

The challenge of here, as I see it, is finding ways to improve in these areas without improving only in the specific thing you're practicing. As far as GPP goes I'd like a way to improve, say, my balance, that improves it across the board. Not sure how possible this is -- the next best thing might be to simply "shotgun" with many different training approaches so that each may be specific, but there's enough of them that you cover a nice swath.

Thoughts?

Patrick Donnelly
07-13-2008, 05:36 PM
Dabble around in some sports - they don't even have to be traditional ones. Hell, slacklining is supposed to be pretty fun stuff and a good test of balance. You can do stuff like that in a warm-up. Shoot some hoops, wrestle with a slosh pipe, go hard on a heavy bag, etc. All work well for warm-ups.

Steven Low
07-13-2008, 09:40 PM
Flex is easy.. stretch after anything.

Parkour and some gymnastics, from experience, is great from the rest. Or find another sport that works those other attributes.

Gittit Shwartz
07-13-2008, 10:42 PM
Had to chime in for Capoeira. There's a good deal of overlap with gymnastics but I feel the movements are more "organic" (less strict form - no hollow position and pointed toes to focus on) and also move through more ranges and angles. Balance, agility, coordination - check. Adults will need to put in extra flexibility work (like Steven said).
Slack lining rocks.

Jason Lin
07-14-2008, 04:59 AM
Rock climbing (or bouldering, kind of like the powerlifting version of climbing) is another excellent way to go.

It hits all the areas you listed AND it has a grading system for routes and bouldering problems to let you measure your progress.

Example - Chris Sharma working an incredibly difficult bouldering problem

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoYjuLWggto

Neill Smith
07-14-2008, 06:53 AM
You'll never do it, but for flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy it's hard to imagine anything will beat dance.

Brandon Oto
07-14-2008, 07:04 AM
Nice thoughts guys. What kind of dance, Neill?

I think one good way to think about these things is to find examples, then it's something concrete that can be addressed. A few examples:

Agility: cutting and juking through the defense on the football field

Flexibility: Lifting a leg to head-height (for kicking, climbing, whatever)

Balance: easily assuming and moving through any position in a mobile martial art while staying comfortably in-balance

Accuracy: throwing anything at a target

Coordination: catching anything (this one's a bit vague, anyone have more examples for coordination?)

Ben Moskowitz
07-14-2008, 08:20 AM
Nice thoughts guys. What kind of dance, Neill?


My guess would be that classical dance leads to the fastest athletic adaptations: extreme positions, leaping splits, pirouettes, etc.

Still, probably any dance would be beneficial. I know Lincoln Brigham is a competitive dancer, or at least very good. I asked him about it, and he said most "natural" dance styles radiate movement core to extremity, while "machine-like movements" (popping, locking, ripples) tend to work in reverse. Of course there's also break dance...

Mike ODonnell
07-14-2008, 09:44 AM
Nice thoughts guys. What kind of dance, Neill?

Go "Stomp the Yard"!

Hell I can't do 1/10th of what those guys do.....tried breakdancing as a kid....that never worked out....but at least wearing the parachute pants was fun.....

Peter Dell'Orto
07-14-2008, 11:30 PM
It would seem like any ball sport would be ideal for accuracy - play some baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball. Hockey if you've got skates and ice, but it's generally more expensive. Play some handball, maybe.

Martial arts are good, too, especially contact ones. Doesn't have to be hard contact for accuracy. Kendo is all explosive speed and accuracy, power isn't very important.

Dance is nice too, and fun. But I think ball sports or contact martial arts will beat it for "accuracy" combined with balance and speed. Still, the more different things you try, the better for you. You can try them all and settle on the ones you enjoy the most. I hate playing ball sports but I like dancing and kendo, myself. ;)

Brandon Oto
07-15-2008, 03:54 AM
DODGEBALL -- now why didn't I think of that? http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitKids_CertDodgeBall.mov

I used to LOVE that game... mostly just the dodging... but between throwing/catching/dodging there's a lot going on here...

Peter Dell'Orto
07-15-2008, 05:13 AM
Ah, dodgeball. Brings back "fond" memories of gym class as an asthmatic kid with glasses. You take your ball to the head (nevermind "no shots to the head" rules) or back (so your glasses don't get broken) then go sit down for the rest of gym class, confident you'll never ever get called back in by your team.

:)

More seriously, though, it's not a bad choice. I can't think of a cheap-and-easy "ball sport" that wouldn't involve some accuracy and balance. Hand-eye coordination, speed, stop-start movements. They all have them to some extent. Whichever one is most fun, I'd say go for it!

Good topic, by the way.

Brian Shanks
07-15-2008, 07:33 AM
but at least wearing the parachute pants was fun.....

I think someone is showing their age here!
Parachute pants, what are those?


Bry

Tom Rawls
07-15-2008, 08:05 AM
take up a real sport and get good at it.

Neill Smith
07-17-2008, 12:17 PM
Nice thoughts guys. What kind of dance, Neill?


I think classical (ballet) would do the best with those areas of fitness. Unfortunately I don't have any experience with it. I have done some hip-hop, which is great for coordination and agility. B-boying (a sub-genre) adds a significant balance component, and is incredibly athletic. There are some amazing videos including this one (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-196031418478755911&q=junior&ei=pZl_SIPPEpSe_AHr4dCBCw), which I think was on the CF main page a while back.

Most of my experience is with Latin, which is fun but not very athletic.

Dave Van Skike
07-17-2008, 01:20 PM
Am I reading correctly that this is about "Dance"?

For real?

Arden Cogar Jr.
07-17-2008, 01:20 PM
Anybody have any thoughts on progressive training ideas for improving: flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy?

The challenge of here, as I see it, is finding ways to improve in these areas without improving only in the specific thing you're practicing. As far as GPP goes I'd like a way to improve, say, my balance, that improves it across the board. Not sure how possible this is -- the next best thing might be to simply "shotgun" with many different training approaches so that each may be specific, but there's enough of them that you cover a nice swath.

Thoughts?

Sorta across the board on this one. Lots of great suggestions. Sorta training for a sport that you don't know quiet what is, just training to be better at the five areas you've identified?

Climbing, combative tai chi (can never spell it - Fa Zhing), tumbling with some vaulting (out of my element), and a few others come to mind.

Believe it or not, my goofy hobby would be perfect for those five elements - but I would not encourage folk to train with razor sharp objects in general proximity to appendages without extensive supervision and a HUGE assumption of risk. :D

All the best,
Arden

Garrett Smith
07-17-2008, 01:28 PM
I had thought about getting into dodgeball a while back. There is a group in town that organizes open dodgeball games at a YMCA one night a week for two hours. That's a "commitment" that I could make!

Very stop/start action, throwing, dodging, catching, which of the aspects of fitness would this not address in some way?

Next week, if possible, I'm going to attend and check it out.

Arden Cogar Jr.
07-17-2008, 01:29 PM
Am I reading correctly that this is about "Dance"?

For real?

I think he means in general. I think?

Brandon Oto
07-17-2008, 03:32 PM
Now Dave, don't you think picking up girls is about as functional as it gets?

Gittit Shwartz
07-17-2008, 05:44 PM
Coordination is a super interesting subject.

Thomas Kurz and Jozef Drabik describe 7 separate coordinative abilities:

1. Balance
2. Movement adequacy
3. Kinesthetic differentiation
4. Reactivity to cues
5. Sense of rhythm (every movement has an inherent optimal rhythm even if it is not related to music - think of a few technique you've learned and you'll see what I mean.)
6. Spatial orientation
7. Synchronization of movements

(I don't have the book with me at the moment, or I'd give their explanations of each item - "Children and Sports Training" by Drabik, highly recommended.)

Gymnastics covers all the abilities but #4 (reactivity). Ball games are strong on reactivity and several of the other abilities, weaker on others. Dance may be fun but also not strong all around.

I work with kids (3-8 year olds) with the lofty goal of "developing coordination and athletic ability". I've wracked my brains many times to construct a program that covers every item on the list, and always come to the same conclusion - Capoeira with some extra gymnastics thrown in is ideal for "coordination". Strong on every one of the points.
Good Capoeiristas quickly pick up and become good at any sport. That should speak for itself.

I agree, great suggestions on this thread!

Peter Dell'Orto
07-17-2008, 08:59 PM
Now Dave, don't you think picking up girls is about as functional as it gets?

It takes two to tango. And tango is fun to learn.

"Pull your hips closer together. Closer. Now, hold her tight and step."

Woohoo!

I figure if I can master tango and finally get my handstand down, I'm practically Gomez Addams.

Robert Pierce
07-18-2008, 04:56 AM
Gaelic football.

The real version is outdoors, but our group plays an indoor version. It is simple to learn. Accuracy, balance, and most, if not all of the aspects of coordination mentioned above.

Dave Van Skike
07-18-2008, 04:49 PM
Now Dave, don't you think picking up girls is about as functional as it gets?


I've never needed to train for that, dude.

further more...it's unlikely I'll ever have to pick up a woman other than my wife. As a gentleman I would never divulge her weight but it wouldn't rise to the level of challenging even if there were two of her...and I don't think she's into that...

Noel Welsh
07-21-2008, 04:34 AM
I've done a fair bit of breaking (aka breakdancing), ballroom dance, and gymnastics, and a bit of rock-climbing. My opinions are as follows:

Gymnastics will develop all around athleticism, coordination, and flexibility. There are well defined progressions to develop your skills. Coaches are usually qualified and experienced. Training facilities are usually very nice (foam cell floors are great) with lots of toys. A strong focus on form is good for getting skills fundamentally sound, but I find the emphasis on trivial details (like pointing toes) annoying.

Breaking will get you pretty much what floor gymnastics does; it is basically applied tumbling. The coaching is usually less qualified, and the floors (sprung wood in most dance studios) hurt more when you crash. Form is not so emphasised. However you get a lot more freedom to create your own moves and follow your own path, and there are aspects, liking reacting to the music, that gymnastics doesn't have.

Ballroom dancing, at least to the level I do it, is fun but nowhere near as demanding as breaking or gymnastics.

While rock-climbing can make good use of existing flexibility I don't see that it develops flexibility. Balance will certainly improve, as will finger strength. It is quite expensive, at least around here, which is the main reason I don't do it more often. I don't think it's as balanced, in terms of all over body development, as breaking or gymnastics.

If I had to pick one purely from the standpoint of athletic development I'd choose gymnastics, because of the coaching and range of ways it gives you to assault your body (rings, floor, pommel horse, etc.) However I always recommend doing what you find fun, and there are enough gymnastic sports (add at least freerunning and capoeira to the above) that there is something for everyone.