Men Over 40 Should Add This Playground Staple to Their Warmups

·2 min read
Photo credit: Bartek Szewczyk / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bartek Szewczyk / EyeEm - Getty Images

Milo Bryant is a performance coach as well as an experienced journalist. He’s also in his 50s—and his book Unstoppable After 40 gives you the roadmap to do more than merely remain active as you "mature." Milo trains hard and recovers even better so he can do what he wants, when he wants. Get ready to use his methods to become unstoppable. This isn’t your dad’s middle age.

Whether you're five or 50, there's one skill that can hone your coordination and athleticism that you should not leave out of your rolodex of movement patterns: skipping. Without a doubt, skipping is the most underrated movement in the locomotor skills.

Skipping is a precursor to higher forms of athleticism. The crisscrossing motion the body makes while properly skipping not only sets body in motion from a musculoskeletal standpoint, but from a neuronal standpoint as well. The right side of the brain controls the left side of our body and vice versa. When we’re upright, moving forward and backward with the proper technique, we’re preparing our bodies for football, basketball, tennis, golf, soccer, volleyball, baseball and every other rotary sport out there.

I’m that nerd you see skipping, hopping and shuffling (along with the other warmup exercises I do) before a game of pickup basketball, whether we're playing a casual round of 21 or running full court.

But there's a reason for my dedication to moves like skipping. I’ve worked with elite soccer players who got paid millions to kick a ball into a net and couldn’t skip properly. I’ve worked with 4-year-olds who were just learning to skip. In one case, proper skipping uncovered a long-lost movement pattern that enabled more efficient kicks into those nets. In the other case, learning how to skip was a direct correlation to be consistently hitting a golf ball.

I skip every. Single. Day. Doing so keeps me competing against—and consistently beating—athletes who are half my age.

Best Coach Cues for Skipping

● If you haven't done the movement pattern for a while, begin by walking into the skip. Doing so will ensure you start with the opposites—right hand with left leg and left hand with right leg.

● If you have trouble keeping your movement on the proper side, i.e. moving the right hand along with the right leg, then add an inside-the-knee tap to the motion. As the right leg goes forward, lift the knee and tap the inside of it with your left hand. Then repeat on the opposite side.

Helpful Tip for Better Skipping

● Skipping is a continual step-hop motion. Step forward with the right foot. Then gently hop and land on the right foot. The left foot will be in the air during the right foot’s hop and land. The left foot then becomes the “stepping and hopping” foot.

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