Diagonal reaches


In a world gone mad with exercise machines and high-tech strap-ons, we might well wonder what, if anything, the body might still be capable of doing on its own. The answer is “quite a bit.” All we really need is a couple of bodies, some gravity and imagination.

In this exercise/game, simply designate one person as “the coach,” the other person as “the athlete.” The coach holds up two hands as targets. The athlete stands on one foot and performs alternating diagonal reaches.

The coach begins with easy-to-reach targets, then increases the challenge by moving the targets wider or higher or lower. Then, once things are really going well, the coach begins to back up slowly, forcing the athlete to hop in dynamic pursuit while reaching for the targets.

This is a highly functional multi-plane movement that will really pump the athlete. Not only will it build strength in your quads, it will also enhance sensitivity and proprioception throughout your legs, hips and core. In other words, it will make your body more intelligent.

Be sure to try a variety of speeds. Your impulse will be to accelerate, but take your time. Try some really slow reps, then mix it up. Breathe. Change feet as necessary when one side become fatigued. You can think of this as a martial art drill and you can even punch the targets if you and your partner are game.

The beauty of this game is that it works for anyone: kids all the way up through elite athletes.