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How To Move Like A Jungle Cat: Testing The Secret Skill You Didn’t Know You Had

Posted by | April 21, 2014 | Featured, Guest Post, Videos, Workouts | 2 Comments
How To Move Like A Jungle Cat: Testing The Secret Skill You Didn’t Know You Had | FatBurningMan.com

Today we have a guest post from a kick-butt Austin-based Chiropractor, Dr. Dan Bockmann. If you’re looking to increase your mobility, or maybe get an idea of where you can improve, have a read below for 3 killer tests you can do anywhere, any time! Enjoy.

Watching a jaguar stalking silently over the jungle floor, muscles rippling under his coat, the power and grace of this animal are immediately obvious.

Power, because this beast is capable of exploding into action with blinding speed.

Grace, because all that power is channeled into smooth, fluid movement that is beautiful to watch. It’s easy to be jealous of the big cat’s effortless movement.

I mean, just imagine how useful it would be while playing flag football on the weekend, hiking a trail by the lake or even when you have to help a friend carry a sofa up a flight of stairs.

But guess what? You actually have the same high-tech balance system as that jaguar does, and it’s already installed on your hard drive — just sitting there, waiting to be turned on.

It’s called your proprioceptive system, and it’s the reason you can close your eyes and touch your nose with the tip of your finger.

Touching your nose may seem like a simple task, but a lot has to happen behind the scenes to make that possible. Your brain has to know exactly how long each of your bones are, how much each joint is bent and where your nose is located in the room.

Your brain makes all these calculations without you even knowing it, by listening to an array of GPS-like sensors in your joints, then telling your muscles what they need to do to accomplish the desired movement.

The only reason the jaguar is more graceful than you are is because he attempts things in the course of his workday that you’d never dream of in yours. And as he tried these things over time, his proprioceptive system got better and better at making these movements more efficient.

After all, grace is really nothing more than efficient movement.

So if you don’t feel as coordinated, graceful or confident in your movements as you’d like, take heart – you can learn those things! The key is simply giving your body bigger and bigger balance challenges. Being in a “wobbly” situation is precisely how your proprioceptive system “figures out” how to deal with future wobbly situations.

And as your feline instincts improve, you’ll become:

  1. more athletic
  2. more skilled at controlling your movements in sport (and in life!), and
  3. less likely to get injured.

So, are you ready to test your secret jungle cat skills? Start out by trying these 3 basic proprioceptive challenges on your own, and see how you measure up!

Test 1: The Speed Skater

  • Stand in a wide stance. Mark the floor just outside each foot.
  • Stand on one mark with your outside foot and other foot raised.
  • Leap laterally to the other mark, landing on the other foot.
  • “Stick” the landing before you leap back.

Challenge: How many leaps can you complete without losing your balance or putting your other foot down?
5 leaps = Not a bad start!
10 leaps = House cat skills
20 leaps = Full-on Jungle Cat!

Test 2: The Single Romanian Deadlift

  • Stand on one foot with knee slightly bent, raising the other thigh to horizontal
  • Bend forward at the waist, reaching for the ground and extending the knee behind you, finishing with your thigh and torso in-line. Return to starting position.

Challenge: How many reps can you complete without losing your balance, and while keeping your thigh and torso in-line?
5 reps = Not a bad start!
10 reps = House cat skills
20 reps = Full-on Jungle Cat!

Test 3: Ninja Hop

  • Stand on one foot
  • Using arm swing, hop as high as you can
  • “Stick” the landing softly before you begin the next hop

Challenge: How many hops can you complete without losing your balance or putting your other foot down?
5 reps = Not a bad start!
10 reps = House cat skills
20 reps = Full-on Jungle Cat!

And if you get inspired to boost your proprioceptive prowess, it’s really pretty easy to do! The key is to give yourself bigger and bigger balance challenges on a regular basis. Get creative. Make up your own tests if you like. There literally aren’t any rules, so have fun with it!

Ideally you’ll incorporate balance challenges into your regular workout routine, but taking up a sport that involves multi-directional movement can definitely help, too (think skateboarding, volleyball, mountain biking, rock climbing, etc.).

Let us know how you score on our tests in the comment section, and if you’d like to share your own “jungle cat” test, show us your skills — we’d love to see them!

Dan BockmannRenegade chiropractor, rehab innovator and one-man healthcare reformer. Dr. Bockmann pioneered a series of radically simple rehab techniques for back, knee and shoulder, and spends his free time in the sand as a competitive beach volleyball player. He practices at his clinic, Austin Spine & Sport, and has been known to tweet on occasion @DanBockmannDC.

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2 Comments

  • Z says:

    Balance beyond what is needed for my lifts is honestly something I have given very little consideration. I am sure with many so focused on the digital, there are some growing deficiencies in the physical awareness that facilitates these types of movements.

  • Calli says:

    Try finding a place with a lot of gravel and larger rocks cover the gravel. Then leap from larger rock to larger rock (no bigger than one foot) without making a sound

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