How Training Like an Athlete Can Lead to Greater Results in The Gym: Your Body is Made to MOVE!
Being new to the Innovative Health and Fitness team I thought it might be a good idea to introduce myself for this blog post, and discuss a topic that might help you get to know me a little better and the approach I take to training. And hopefully mix in a little information at the same time.
I’d like to discuss the topic of treating everyone like an athlete.
When you think of an athlete what generally comes to mind is someone who plays a sport. And someone who doesn’t might automatically think, well I don’t play any sports so I’m not an athlete. Maybe your requirements are a little tougher and you think a real athlete needs to get paid to play their sport, or make the team at a Division I school. Either way you have to stop and consider why this person is being compensated for being good at playing a game. You can definitely make a case for biology or genetics and say that some people are just naturally gifted. But even the best players have to train at their highest levels if they want to compete with other talented athletes willing to work twice as hard to make up for any natural talent they think they’re missing.
I worked for a while with a retired professional strength and conditioning coach and we would talk a lot about the work athletes had to put into their training and how at that level it required tremendous energy and focus just to see the smallest increases in strength or speed or agility. These guys were already so close to the top of their game that any gains took countless hours and training. But here’s the thing, the foundation for all of this is the same for everyone. He used to say, there are countless ways to apply the principles, but at the end of the day the basic principles are always the same. How you get there might be different for everyone, but where you’re going will always be the same.
Every athlete you see today had to start off learning basic body mechanics; how to move properly, effectively, and efficiently. If you can’t properly execute a squat or a deadlift or don’t understand the essential principles that the movement requires, then it doesn’t matter if you’re a lineman coming up from the set position to protect your quarterback or simply picking a box up off the ground, sooner or later your movement pattern is going to break down and lead to joint and muscle pain and possibly injury.
The principles are always the same. We teach people how to squat because it is the basic movement of getting up and down out of a chair, something we do countless times throughout the day. We teach deadlift because it is the movement of safely and efficiently picking something up off the ground. Overhead press teaches you to stabilize your shoulder and shoulder blades while holding something above you, meaning you’re less likely to injure or strain your shoulder the next time you have to pull something off a top shelf or from the cabinet.
It’s possible you’ve seen these exercises performed before in the gym or at a weightlifting competition or even at the Olympics. You might have been impressed by how much weight some of these people were lifting, or maybe you thought it was ridiculous that people were trying to lift that much. Either way the lesson from this is simple; whether you’re trying to deadlift 800 pounds off the floor or simply pull a stubborn root out of the ground, it’s important to understand that all of these movements are based on the same principles; learning to stabilize yourself in order to safely and efficiently move yourself and probably an object from point A to point B.
Written by Jamie Maguire
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
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