There’s a new trend sweeping the internet that makes the mannequin challenge, the ice bucket challenge, and planking look like child’s play. It’s called the invisible box challenge, and if you’ve tried it yourself, you’ve probably discovered that the term “challenge” is an understatement.
The trick went viral after Texas high school cheerleader Ariel Olivar posted a video perfectly executing the illusion. Here’s how it works: You bend over to pat an invisible box, pretend to step on said box, and hop over it with your other leg. Sounds simple enough, right? And when done right, it looks simple, too. Here’s a look:
Olivar broke down the steps on the Today Show: First, you have to show that there’s nothing really there. Then, you pat it about a foot off the ground (not too high). Once you put your foot on top of the box, your hovering leg has to stay in the exact same place. Finally, when you’re jumping over with your other leg, your foot that’s going over the box has to be higher than your “standing” foot.
She’s not the first athlete to show off the trick, though. An Anderson University football player posted a video of it in August, and it’s just as flawless.
However, many people attempting the challenge aren’t faring quite as well. For every successful invisible box challenge attempt, there are about 10 not-so-successful attempts.
There’s a reason so many people have trouble with the gravity-defying trick. For one, it’s not just your legs that are responsible for getting it done: Your entire body has to engage to hold one leg in place while the other leg is in motion. “It has to be your glutes, your core, your back, your shoulders… your whole body has to be in cahoots because everything has to lift up,” trainer Amelia DiDomenico, C.P.T., owner of Amrose Fitness Studio in West Hollywood, tells SELF. In addition, the muscles on the side that’s hovering also have to be firing to hold your leg in the air (especially your hovering glute).
It’s not only about having strong muscles, though. What’s more important is how your muscles are working together. “Strength is the ability of a muscle to exert force, whereas this is more like coordination of muscles,” says DiDomenico. Think about gymnastics, she says. “People who do flips and backflips, what allows them to do that is that every muscle is working together. It takes so much control and isolation to actually do it effectively.”
Athletes also have a leg up (literally and figuratively) with something called proprioception. “Proprioception is your ability to know where your body is in space and time. People also call it spacial awareness.” It’s what allow you to, say, touch your nose without actually looking at it, or duck underneath a plant hanging in a doorway. While everyone has it, research has shown that skilled athletes tend to have high levels of proprioception. In the invisible box challenge, this is a key element because there are so many different moving parts—this mental ability helps make sure muscles are doing the right things at the right times, because the athlete is aware of where they are.
If you’re going to try it for yourself, a word of caution: If you can’t do it properly, there’s a risk of hurting yourself because you’re not controlling the momentum of your hopping leg, explains DiDomenico. (If you were actually stepping over a box, your standing leg would be controlling that momentum.) If you’re not able to control your hopping leg, you’re likely to land with excessive force on the ground. This means more impact on your ankle, knee, and hip joints, which can lead to injuries. Plus, if you don’t have enough stability as you land, you can roll an ankle, twist a knee, or fall forward onto your knee cap.
So, maybe it’s best to sit the invisible box challenge out—after all, the next one can’t be far away.
Source Article from https://www.self.com/story/invisible-box-challenge