TRAIN LIKE AN ATHLETE
Finding the right type of training for you and your goals is just as important as staying consistent and eating the proper nutrition when you are trying to reach fitness and athletic goals. Athletic training may not be the type of training that comes to mind when thinking about fitness training options but it should!
Athletic training doesn’t require you to be an actual competitive athlete. It also doesn’t need to be the demanding type of training that competitive athletes need to stay in superb shape. But what it is, is training that is customized to your level and skills and is meant to be a well-rounded program. It typically incorporates and progresses through strength training, conditioning, flexibility, and plyometrics.
When talking about strength training within athletic training, the goal isn’t about bulking up. Strength training will focus on absolute strength training which is getting your muscles strong by using low to medium repetitions and a weight that is challenging but not impossible and progressing safely. On the other hand, doing a high number of repetitions, such as 15 to 20 repetitions to a set, or more, and using light weights, you are getting into the range where you would probably be better off doing cardio. Doing high repetitions won’t increase strength – research has shown time and again that high-repetition training with light weights has minimum value to increasing strength.
The focus of plyometrics is moving the body athletically. This could be jumping up and down or side to side, to work on power, balance and coordination – but at your level. Plyometric movements work by stretching the muscles before contraction, what is known as the stretch-shortening cycle. Every time you land from a jump, your muscles get a stretch. That gives your next jump even more power. The combination of stretching and contracting your muscles allows them to work more quickly and efficiently. Why is power important? One example in real life application, it helps prevent falls by helping you react quickly when you trip or lose your balance.
But training athletically isn’t random workouts or workouts that ‘punish’ you or workouts that you can’t finish because they are so intense. Rather, athletic training will focus on building routines, consistency and quantify progress. Just as athletes do, workouts are tracked, there are progressions, and workouts will be the same during training cycles. These are necessary components in order to quantify progress. Just like learning to ride a bike, or learning how to be proficient in anything, you have to repeat the same movement to improve. If you’re learning how to ride a bike, you can’t substitute swimming if your goal is to improve your bike riding skills. Additionally, some may think doing the same workouts may not be fun, but workouts are not supposed to be fun! The fun part are the results, feeling strong, feeling great about our health, knowing that you are improving your quality of life every day.
Hopefully, now that you know more about athletic training for the non-athlete, you feel encouraged to give it a try! If you’d like to know more or want to give one of our training sessions a go, let us know!