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Fast Fitness - Concentration Training

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Here is Fast Friday Fitness - improve concentration and focus, for mental and physical tasks at once, a true mind and body.

Reader Paul J wrote me after sending in his Plank Chess success story:

"Side note on plank and thinking. I have been trying to recite a kata narration (the moves of a karate sequence) from memory during a plank and find it incredibly difficult to concentrate. At first it was just plan different and difficult, now it seems to get difficult after 30secs. (the memory verbal part) It’s like I can feel my brain trying to multitask, and misfiring.

"I suppose this is a type of stressful concentration training and is good for the brain. Makes me wonder what other psychological/physiological benefits there may be."


Speaking a sequence or other specific chain of events at the same time as directing your body to do unrelated sequences requires a collection of concentration and focus.

  1. Hold a plank
  2. Recite the directions to your school or workplace, the steps of your martial arts forms, or other sequences
  3. While still holding your plank, recite the steps backward


It takes intense practice before physical movements become automatic while mental focus is directed separately. This is a fun, wise, important, and functional thing to practice and train. Training automaticity is never an excuse to text and drive. The difficulty of this training drill demonstrates why it results in so many accidents.

Coming soon: Taking this to the next step for more physical concentration training

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Photo of concentration at a karate tournament from The Consortium
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About the Author


M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.

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