Examples of Coordination Exercises for the Lower Extremities
Coordination in the lower extremities is important in everyday life. Walking, running and climbing stairs all require some degree of coordination. Coordination is especially important to athletes participating in sports like soccer, basketball or football. There are many examples of exercises that can improve coordination in the lower extremities.
Carioca is a coordination exercise that is well known in the sporting world. It may take a few minutes to get the hang of this drill, but it is very effective in improving coordination and agility. The carioca exercise is performed by sidestepping in one direction. When moving to the left, the right foot leads by crossing in front of the left foot. The left foot then crosses behind the right foot so that both feet are once again side by side. Next, the right foot crosses behind the left foot. The left foot now crosses in front of the right foot and the drill is repeated. Carioca can be performed while moving to the right by doing the exercise in the opposite manner.
The Ali shuffle is named after boxer Muhammad Ali. The exercise begins while standing on a line. The feet should be about shoulder-width apart on the line. One foot is then placed in front of the line while the other is placed behind the line. The painted lines on a basketball court are great for this drill. The Ali shuffle is performed by hopping and switching the feet. The body moves sideways down the line with each hop and switch. When the end of the line is reached, the drill is continued in the opposite direction. The hips can be twisted with each hop to increase the difficulty of the Ali shuffle.
Jumping rope is a classic coordination exercise. The lower extremities must jump the rope with precise timing or the jumper will be tripped up by the rope. There are many ways to make jumping rope more difficult. For example, the jumper can swing the rope around twice with each jump or one foot can be used when jumping. For an advanced coordination exercise, the Ali shuffle can be practiced while jumping rope.
Crisscross Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a well-known aerobic exercise. Jumping jacks are performed by starting in a standing position with the feet together and the hands at the sides. During the jump, the legs are spread apart as the hands are raised laterally above the head. A crisscross jumping jack is more challenging because the feet are crossed each time the legs are brought together. The feet should be alternately crisscrossed to improve coordination skills.
Dancing is a great exercise, and line dancing is particularly good for improving coordination. Line dancing may be the answer for those people who feel like they have “two left feet.” Line dances like the Boot Scootin' Boogie and the Electric Slide have a series of steps that take some coordination to master. Line dancing is also a fun way to improve coordination that can be done with a large group of friends. The more an exercise is enjoyed, the more frequently it likely will be practiced.
Mike McLaughlin has been writing news, entertainment and sports articles since 1990. McLaughlin has written for “The Maine Campus,” “The Bangor Daily News" and various websites. McLaughlin is also a martial arts instructor and certified personal trainer. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an associate degree in filmmaking.