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Episode 104: Explosive Relaxation

Video Highlights

- Practicing explosive relaxation is really key
- Intensify and improve reaction time
- Easily practice over and over while watching TV

Hi, I’m Dr. Eric Cobb of Z-Health, and today we’re going to show you how to use your T.V. time into elite athletic training.

Hi everybody. Today, we’re going to talk about, as I said, using your TV time as an elite athletic training tool. This may sound a little bit strange, but what we want to do is remember some basics about neurology 101 and then how that works its way into athleticism.

When we talk about the brain, we say the brain and the nervous system basically function needing 3 things; good input, so I need to be able to see well and hear well and feel things well; then I need to be able to interpret what that information means in my brain; then I need to choose the correct output, meaning the correct movement, high-quality movement.

Whenever we watch sports, that’s what we’re seeing all the time. I see an athlete. He sees his opponent do something. He decides what that movement means and then he acts to counter it. Whenever we train athletes, one of the things that we found is that it’s really useful to actually take a big step back and go how can we train components of athleticism while you’re doing other stuff.

Here’s how we’re going to do it today.

If you’re sitting in front of your TV, I’m going to teach you a simple drill that you can work on that will actually connect visual information to explosive body movement which is really a key element in most sports.

Here’s how this works. First thing we want to focus on is developing skill in developing tension in the body and relaxation in the body. I know that sounds kind of simple but it’s something that you really want to practice. We’re going to do it together.

I want you to stand up. Get nice and tall. I want you to grab the ground with your feet. I want you to tighten up all the muscles in your legs. Tighten up your abdomen. Tighten up your chest, your arms and release it slowly. All right. Let’s do that a couple more times. Everything gets tight. Tight, tight, tight, tight. Slow release. All right. Let’s do it one more time. Everything gets tight. Slow release. Now obviously getting tight is how we generate speed and strength in sports but relaxation is required for general movement.

What we have to do as an athlete is we have to get awesome at going from tight to relaxed explosively. If you ever thought about this, practicing explosive relaxation is really the key which sounds weird and contradictory but that’s really what it is. Now we’re going to do the same exercise but when we relax we’re going to relax explosively.

Once again, grip the ground with your feet. Tighten up your legs, the rest of your body. Get tight and quickly relax. All right, try that again. Tight and quick relax. The relaxation that you achieve should feel virtually the same as the very slow one that we did before. That’s the first step in this exercise, all right?

Working on explosive tension generation and explosive relaxation is step 1 in this exercise.

Step 2, now we’re going to sit in front of the TV. The average right now in the United States is that people watch about 5 hours of TV, or at least the TV is on 5 hours a day, so even if you don’t watch TV it probably applies to your clients if you work with clients.

Here’s how I get athletes to do this all the time.

I say pick your favorite TV show. Even if it’s a half hour sitcom, there’s going to be probably 6 to 7 minutes of commercials. All right? That’s the key thing here.

What you’re going to do is you’re going to start practicing brain training. You’re going to sit. You’re going to watch TV but you’re going to have a little reminder there. When a commercial comes on, every time a commercial comes on you’re going to do 1 breath of explosive tension, explosive relaxation and then you’re going to watch. Next time the commercial changes, do the same thing. Next commercial, same thing. In most TV shows, you’ll get 4 to 5 commercials one after the other and they’re going to vary in time from 30 seconds to a minute to sometimes 10 or 15 seconds.

During that little span of time, you’re being an athlete.

You’re focusing. You’re paying attention. Every time the visual information changes, you have to see it, notice it and do something about it. All right? It’s a really, really cool simple drill and what we’ve found with a lot of athletes is it intensifies and improves their reaction time tremendously; especially when they get a chance to practice it over and over and over throughout their afternoon and evening.

There you have it. Give this a shot.

What I actually would love to hear from you is try it for a week or two and see #1 do you get better getting tight and relaxed and #2 if you are a tennis player, you play field sports, you play basketball, give us some feedback on how it’s influencing what’s happening on the field or on the court.

If you have questions about this, please let us know, otherwise have a great week.

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