To be an athlete you are demanding a lot out of your body. However, if trained right, fed right, and well rested, your body is up for the challenge. Here are four things you should be doing to become more athletic.
1. Olympic Lifts: The California beach body days are over, especially if you want to be a standout athlete. You have to be able to train your body to move explosively, with power, and incorporating multi-joint exercises like Olympic Lifts is just the thing to do. Should middle school kids be Olympic Lifting? No, probably not, but when appropriate performing lifts like the hang clean or snatch can really improve your game not only in the training room, but on the field, court, or ice. In any sport you ask your whole body to move together, moving multiple joints, across several planes, all at once. Why wouldn’t you train like that in the gym?
2. Periodized Speed Training: Lets take for granted that you are doing some type of “speed” training. Now, with that being said, are you doing the right speed training, and is it structured in a way to produce results, while peaking performance for the upcoming season? Running laps around a track as a baseball player, when they run no more then 360 feet at any given time, is probably not the best way to train them for speed. Exercises like 10 yard sprints, 20 yard sprints, pro agility drills, band resisted sprints, bullet belt sprints, and sled work are going to produce far better results. Take a step back and look at the demands of a sport. The average play in football is 6-8 seconds, yet you still see high school, and sometimes even college coaches, having their team run laps around the field. When does that sport ever require that demand of the body? They would see much more benefit if they did a series of shorter sprints maybe something like:
4-10 Yard Sprints
3 -20 Yd Sprints
2-30 Yd Sprints
1-40 Yd Sprints
Doesn’t that seem more footballish? That applies for all sports. Take a look at the demand of your sport, or your kids sport before you tell them to go run laps, most likely because your too lazy and/or uneducated to train them any other way.
3. Get the roller out: Yeah, it’s back, and guess what, it’s never leaving. The foam roller is, and always will be, in my top 5 list of essential pieces of equipment at a true strength & conditioning center. All of our athletes at STS start, and end with a solid 5-10 minutes of foam rolling, most times more. There are so many benefits to foam rolling including injury rehab, injury prevention, soreness relief, flexibility, and more. Foam rolling and myofascial release can be a semester long topic if we had the time. For now, just know, if you want to be your best in the game, spend some time with your friend, the foam roller.
On that note, as a Kennebunk native, UNE Alum, and leader in the field of Strength & Conditioning, Eric Cressey is one of my greatest role models and a constant go to resource. He has a great facility, blog, and product line that I highly suggest to anyone trying to better themselves in the world of strength & conditioning. On the side of foam rolling, check out his foam rolling series, and great products including Assess & Correct, and Magnificent Mobility! All of his products, and blogs can be found here: Eric Cressey
4. Eat Right: I don’t care if you can bench 500lbs, and squat a house. If you don’t eat right you simply won’t perform your best. Fueling your body for exercise can be a chore, but a chore that must be done each and every day. Even more so as an athlete you have to pay attention to protein consumption, carbohydrate amount, and nutrient timing. Eat like crap one day and go to practice, or train at the gym. The next day eat a healthy mix of complex carbs, good fats, loads of protein, with proper timing, and head to practice. What’s that? Yeah, I told you. I think athletes especially sometimes forget the importance of good nutrition and a well balanced diet, and the impact it has on your game. They get so caught up about training hard in the gym that they forget food is the field for all those training sessions. So, make sure you always think of food as fuel, never leave the tank on empty, and don’t fill it with crap.
Being a dominate athlete in any sport is a constant battle, it’s hard work, takes a lot of dedication, but can be extremely rewarding. However, follow these four guidelines and I’m sure you will see some great results, on and off the field.
For more information on this topic, questions, or other blog ideas you may have don’t hesitate to contact us by leaving a comment below, or shoot us an e-mail.
Doug Spurling, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Owner, Spurling Training Systems, LLC.
Kennebunk, ME 04043