Friday, June 22, 2012

Train Like An Athlete

For people who get bored in the gym with the average routine from Muscle and Fiction, people who are looking to get better at their sport, and potential military members, there is a definite solution.  That solution is to train like an athlete.  Look at professional and college level athletes, and observe some of the drills they conduct.  Drills designed to increase ability, quickness, foot speed, coordination.  Running tires used to be a favorite of football players, but now they have better, more advanced techniques to use that will accomplish the same thing.  Soccer players dribble around cones.  Basketball players run lines and do shuffle drills.  All these things are designed to increase attributes that are considered to be the most valuable in a given sport.

If you're simply looking for a more dynamic warmup before starting your gym routine, try adding an agility ladder.  One can be made relatively cheaply, or bought for around forty dollars.  Foot speed, acceleration, side to side agility, an agility ladder can help with all of these things.  After ten minutes you'll have worked up a good sweat and gotten the heart rate pumping, at a relatively low intensity to boot.

If you might be involved in any endeavor that involves quick changes in direction, athletic drills that the professional and college athletes use are an excellent way to improve performance.  Soldiers have been doing agility drills, usually called "grass drills", for years.  These are similar to what football players do for conditioning.  Roll left, roll right, get up, get down, run in place, they help prepare soldiers for some of the rigors of being in a combat situation, and they help get the heart rate up and improve other elements of conditioning like endurance and strength.

You may be concerned with strengthening your "core", although most are confused as to what exactly constitutes the core.  This is another buzz word, just like functional fitness.  Sprint drills, ladder drills, dots, cone drills, hurdle drills.  Running up hill, running down hill, and shuffling side to side, these activities strengthen your core as well as provide cardiovascular conditioning.

In short, to become more athletic overall, train like the athletes do.  If you want to be more of a gym rat, train like a gym rat.  If there is a specific sport you want to train for, train how those athletes train.  And, as always, variety is the spice of life.  Add some things into your routine just for fun.