Here’s a discussion I had with a friend about why we enjoy training to be athletic. Hope you enjoy it.
Also, I just want to clarify something that I didn’t in the video:
Lifting heavy does not make you tight or stiff! Heavy lifting is an extremely important part of being an effective athlete for a number of reasons (if done in the right way).
Doing strictly bodybuilding, on the other hand, is not conducive to being a great athlete (although some bodybuilding methods can be useful).
Further to the above, here are some specific strategies you can use to stay athletic.
- Do a thorough warm-up to focus on mobility and any restrictions you have (for example, tight hips or shoulders). Incorporate movements such as the Turkish Get-Up for total body mobility & stability (see video of Max Shank doing the get-up below).
- At the conclusion of your warm-up, do some kind of explosive movement – a jump, throw, or sprint, depending on what you’re training that day. This fires up the nervous system and gets the faster twitch muscle fibres going, as well as raising your energy levels before the first heavy lift. Below are some examples of explosive movements.
- Make compound movements the foundation of your training. We’re talking squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and bench (depends). If your joints can handle it, do some work in the 3-6 rep range on these lifts.
- Don’t bother with machines as much – stick to free weights and bodyweight movements. Utilise a variety of different tools for your accessory work (kettlebells, sandbags, dumbbells, sled etc).
- Really hammer the posterior chain to stay strong and healthy. Athletes focus on this area because it not only makes you a more menacing opponent, but it also keeps you healthy (less lower back pain, better posture, etc.
- Focus on full body or upper/lower body splits. This way you integrate more muscle groups into a workout and get them moving synergistically.
- Sprint! Either on a separate day or before/after an upper body session. They keep you lean and powerful.
- Include some lateral movements in your training – cossack squats, sideways farmers walks, side shuffles, change of direction sprints. Anybody who plays sports need to go in different directions, not simply straight forward or back.
- Do your conditioning (both aerobic and anaerobic, explosive conditioning). One of the best ways to feel old is to get out of breath walking up the stairs. Aim for the stamina of a horse, rather than a pig.
- Include some loaded sled pushing/pulling and carrying (farmer’s walks). Both beast exercises that will improve total body strength and conditioning.