Most of us have heard of the saying “land softly”, but what does it really mean, adn how do you do it? I know I jump up sometimes during a workout and sound like an elephant, so after researching that not landing softly can injure you, I thought I should also let you know.
This post is the second in a short series about how to prevent injuries when following the Insanity program. It is also useful for any other workout program that involves high impact movements, like jumping.
Never Sacrifice Proper Form!
When your muscles and your body begin to exhaust, you lose your good form, which can be detrimental to your body’s health. The trick is to try your best to keep proper form from the beginning to the end of the workout regardless of how tired you are…even if it means doing the exercises a little bit slower than they’re doing.
The Insanity workout program has you moving quickly, and as a result, I feel Shaun T often does not have enough time to explain the proper form for each move in the program. I could not possibly cover each exercise movement in this article, but here are three key points to remember:
- Always keep your core tight: Anytime you raise your knee, your abdominal muscles flex, but as soon as you lower the knee (which is the eccentric part of the exercise), you must concentrate on keeping your abdominal muscles tense. Keeping your midsection flexed not only helps save your back from the injury, it also helps keep proper form throughout every exercise.
- Don’t ever let your knee travel past your toe: Allowing your knee to pass in front of your toe when squatting or lunging can put additional stress on the ligaments of your knee, putting you at a greater risk of injury. To keep your knees safe, really try to keep proper posture during lunges and squats – I find that squeezing my shoulder blades together seems to help, as well as always being aware of where my knee is in relation to my toes. One thing to make sure too is that your knee is even with your toes, not going to the left or right of them.
- Slow Down!: If your limbs are wildly swinging around without maintaining control, you are likely to lose proper form. When you feel this happening (which it most likely will!), simply slow the exercise movement down and focus on controlling your body movements.
How to Land Softly During High Impact Movements
Many of the moves in Insanity are high impact. Basically if your feet are leaving the ground, you are performing a movement that will put stress on the joints. The good news is there are ways to help lessen the stress. Here is how to minimize the joint trauma:
How to Land Soft:
- Land on your toes
- Roll your feet from toe to heel when you land while keeping your weight centered
- Bend your knees when the ball of the foot hits the ground (never lockout your knees!)
- Keep your hips slightly behind the knees, which allows for more knee flexion
- Lean your torso slightly forward to keep you from falling backwards
- Coordinate your arms with the movement (if you jump up, so do your arms)
Two More Tips to Keeping the Stress on Your Joints Minimized
Wear proper footwear: Your feet are what you walk on, so you really want to treat them and your ankles well. While I have seen people working out barefoot with Insanity, I would highly recommend a good pair of running, cross training, or tennis shoes that you find comfortable and that offer you a proper fit.
A workout surface with some give: This will help lessen the trauma to your joints. If you workout on a hardwood floor or on a concrete basement for example, a plyometrics mat will be a life saver for your feet, ankles, knees, hips and the rest of your entire body. I found The Black Mat by Manduka an irreplaceable workout surface for Insanity workouts.