The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Fast Fitness - Fifth Group Functional Training: Ankle and Knee Safety With Lateral Movement

Here is Friday Fast Fitness - fifth in the series of Functional Fitness Training (FFT) to teach your group, teams, classes, students, kids, battalions…

In this FFT, learn to be ready for changing direction, cutting, lateral movement, landing to the side from jumps, slips and missteps, and more. It builds on the Third Functional Training exercise where you learned to jump with good lower body mechanics.

Assemble your group in neat rows. Stand in front in view of all. Tell them this is a basic, functional physical skill to learn how to reduce lower body injuries during sideways jumps. Remind them they use the previously learned principles from the Third FFT of vertical jumps.

  1. Have everyone crouch using good bending (knees do not sway inward or slide forward, taught in the first FFT skill), then rise to toes with stable neutral ankle (not bowing outward at the side, taught in the second skill). Remind them that when they land from a jump they use the same neutral ankle.
  2. Next, have everyone to leap sideways at once, off one leg onto the other foot, landing softly with good knee bending and neutral ankle. On landing, the knee is already above the foot, not bent inward. Foot is neutral, not flattened inward (pronated) or turning outward like a sprain (inversion and supination).
  3. Leap back to starting place onto the other foot. On landing, the knee is already above the foot. Repeat leaping sideways from foot to foot. With each landing, watch the knee of the landing leg. Make sure the knee doesn't sway inward of foot.

Improve by jumping increasingly fast, and far, for longer periods of time.

Each new Functional Training exercise shows how to teach your groups (or self) how to prevent common musculoskeletal problems during the team season or operational theater. Learn this one to be ready for the fourth one coming next, needed for cutting, changing direction, lateral movement, more.

Trainers, Drill Instructors, readers, send in your stories of how you use these in your program.

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About the Author


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