Strength training for athletes is imperative. There is no longer any debate about that.
To reach your potential on the pitch, ring, cage, or wherever, you should be doing it.
But one of the traps athletes fall into is only training straight forward and back.
Squats, presses, pull-ups, deadlifts are the bread and butter of any good programme, but they are all pretty much linear, while most sports involve movement in different directions and planes. Think of a boxer circling the ring, a footballer shuffling to the side, a baseball player running to catch a ball.
Adding movement in different directions is probably the most important change I’ve made to my own training as well as the athletes I train.
A little goes a long way. Many of the below can be added to warm-ups or done at the end, after the heavier, more intense work. This list is by no means exhaustive, but do some of these consistently and you’ll see feel more agile and in control of your body during competition.
Twisting box jump
Lateral mini band walks
Use this exercise to strengthen the upper glutes and hip external rotators in a position common to many sports. As mentioned above, in many sports, you need to be able to move laterally (to the side). To effectively pivot, ‘cut’ from side to side, swing or throw, you need well developed hip muscles.
Zig zag walk
Similar to above, but now we move back diagonally and add different positions.
Add this to the warm up to hit some of the usually underdeveloped muscles such as the adductor.
This move takes the above a step further by adding in a couple of unorthodox angles.
Turkish Get-Up (TGU)
One of the best moves you can add to your toolbox – complex to learn, but very, very worth it. The TGU ticks all the right boxes: it involves different planes of motion, and develops stability, mobility and total body co-ordination. Excellent for shoulders and core especially.
The ability to ‘cut’ (change direction) comes from being able to get low and push off one foot – similar to a lateral lunge. Again, the adductors are weak in many athletes (hence groin strains). Lateral lunges also hit the hammies, quads, and abductors.
To make these easier, hold onto a pole or TRX for support.
Lateral sled drags
One of my favourites. The sled is one of the best tools at your disposal, so use it. For this exercise, imagine there are headlights on your hips – don’t let them stop facing forward.
Hope this helps guys! Mus