Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Leaning Dragon - Great Legs and Mental Peace

This week is all about the legs.  What I like about this move is that it can be done in so many different ways to create different results; variety is key.  In the martial arts world, we call this move a “Leaning Dragon”, which just sounds cool.  Outside the martial arts world, you could probably just consider this a variation on a side lunge (however, doesn’t it sound so much more impressive to say you’re working on a Leaning Dragon?  Yep, doing the martial arts is cool).  In addition, the variations on this move will provide you with an opportunity to work your mind and thoughts; this is a skill that is important not only in getting the most out of your workout, but also in stress reduction, happiness, and overall success in life (but more on all of those benefits in a future article).
So, let’s get started!

Leaning Dragon
To begin with, let’s work on the proper positioning.  Begin with your feet beyond shoulder width apart with both feet and belly pointing forward.  Now, pivot your left foot to the left 90 degrees.  Lift your chest up and pull your belly in toward your spine to support your lower back.  Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.  Keep your arms active and up in a “side guard” stance.  Finally, while maintaining this position, bend your left knee until it is directly over your ankle.  NOTE:  In order to protect your knees it is vital that you lunge into a position with your knee directly over your ankle (do not let your knee buckle in or go past the toes!  This means that the less you are going to bend down, the closer your feet need to be.  Likewise, the deeper you are going to bend down, the farther apart your legs need to be.) 
This is your Leaning Dragon!  Feeling tough and cool yet?
3 Variations
1.       Basic in-and-out movement.  Begin with your feet together (belly in, chest up).  Step into your Leaning Dragon position on the left.  Press from the floor (using your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves) to return to your starting position.  Repeat on the right.  This is one repetition.  Go for 2-3 rounds of 20-30 repetitions.
2.       The endurance builder.  Begin in your Leaning Dragon position.  This time, you are simply going to try and hold this position for up to 1 minute (try for at least 30 seconds).  This is your time to conquer the mind.  Focus on your breathing, making sure to maintain deep, relaxing breaths.  Focus on your position, continually walking through your body making sure you are in the best position possible.   Getting tired?  Thinking of giving up?  Give yourself a pep talk!  Once your time is up, slowly straighten out your legs and then walk them together.  Go for 3-5 rounds of 30seconds-1 minute on each side.
3.       The agility trainer.  Begin with your feet together (belly in, chest up).  Step into your Leaning Dragon position on the left, just as in the ‘Basic in-and-out movement’ exercise.  However, this time, once you reach your full Leaning Dragon position, you are going to try and spring back to your starting point as quickly as possible.  Fast baby, fast!  You want to move like lightening!  NOTE:  As you sprint, make sure to keep your belly in and chest up!  Do not let your upper body collapse over to the side.
All three of these variations on the Leaning Dragon move will work out your body, legs, and mind differently.  Have fun experimenting with all of them and then rotate each of these into your exercise routine.

(Not feeling like an awesome ninja yet?  Come in to our Kempo Fitness dojo and we will take care of that for you…empowerment and fabulousness will be yours!)

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