With the beginning of a new year upon us I figured now would be as good as any to reflect over the ten biggest things I have learned about being in this field.
1. Quality Nutrition & Sleep Are Key
If you are going to skimp on these two main components when trying to be the best athlete possible, you mine as well go for the trifecta and not even bother training. Seriously though, training improvements only take place if you are getting quality nutrition in your system and logging at least 7-8 hours of shut eye a night. Make it a priority to take care of business before you even enter the training room.
2. Be Consistent
There are so many different training programs out there, some better than others, but at the end of the day if you are putting in the work and being consistent that trumps just about anything. Do not get me wrong, there are some awful programs being written out there, I have seen them! Unfortunately these programs are not going to get you too far, but if the program is a good one, get the work in and the rewards will come.
3. Learn The Basics
There is a reason athletes are doing cleans, deadlifts, squats, bench presses, lunges and chin ups. They work! There is a progression to learning and mastering these exercises though. Chances are that you will have to develop proper movement patterns, build a base of strength and progress up to these main lifts. Do not rush the process. Be a master at these lifts rather than a jack of all trades at a bunch of lifts that probably won’t get you too far anyways.
4. O’ Lifts Get You Strong & Powerful
This one goes along with the previous mentioned basic lifts, but I think it’s that important that I wanted to make a point of it again. Olympic lifts teach power and strength development that nothing else can compare to. Just like the other basic exercises, go through the process of learning things correctly and developing an immense amount of power will follow.
5. Dynamic Warm Ups=Reduced Injuries
Preparing the body for the work it is about to do takes more than running on the treadmill for 5 minutes. There should be a planned out dynamic warm up that prepares you for the training program that day. This will not only reduce your chance of an injury it will also make your body primed for greater strength gains.
6. Psychology Trumps Physiology
Here are two scenarios; I want you to pick the one you would like to be a part of. Scenario one, you enter a poorly lit training room; there is no music on and it is just you. In scenario two, the training room is properly lit, the music in bumping and your teammates are alongside giving you encouragement and motivation. I think we would all most likely choose scenario two and chances are if we did, the training session might be more productive.
7. Relax With The Variety
Variety is the key to life, but not when it comes to your training program. I mentioned the basics before didn’t I; well I promise this will be the last time….maybe, but doubtful. When you want to add variety make it with the volume and intensity or a variation of the main lifts. There are a 100 different ways to do a squat, there is your variety.
8. Do Not Forget About The Conditioning
Some programs leave this component out or do somewhat of a skimpy job on it. Conditioning is an important component that should not be overlooked; the volume and specific conditioning will depend on the sport played though. A baseball players conditioning program will be vastly different then a soccer players. Just like the strength part of the program, make sure that the conditioning program is one, included and two, specific to the athletes sport.
9. Be An Individual
Every athlete has different strengths and limitations, they play different sports at different positions, some are tall some are short, some are going through growth spurts and some are as tall as they will ever be, the list goes on and on. The point is a training program should be individualized to the athlete if they are going to get the most out of it. One size does not fit all!
10. Turn Up The Tunes
I’m going back to the psychology part of training to finish. Walk into a training room with your favorite song on pumps you up right? Are you feeling slightly more motivated to get some serious work done? I sure am! From what I have seen from training athletes for quite some time it sure does seem to be a trend. Bump up the tunes and get to work!
There are ten things to think about the next time you start a training program. Work hard, be dedicated and success will come. Here’s to getting after it in 2013!
SPU's Alex Drayson and Matt Migiano write the SPU Athletic Performance Blog.
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