There's never really just ONE THING that makes or breaks you in the world of fitness success stories. It's always a multifaceted approach. You should focus on ONE THING at a time, but in reality, it takes a bunch of things to come together to create the ultimate package. Everything impacts something else in this world. But I still get a lot of questions where people want just a one solution answer to a problem.
I get asked questions like...
"What's the best exercise to do?"
"How many times a week should I train?"
"What is the best exercise to increase your vertical jump?"
Usually I respond with...
"It depends, tell me more about your situation."
But I get it, we're looking for direct solutions to our problems. Sort of like, let's cut to the chase way of thinking. The foundation of training should rely on the basics to build it's base, but as a professional, if I give you a one size fits all answer, I'm not properly doing my job.
So, since I can't just give out one solution to a broad problem. I will provide you with more than ONE THING to do! What I will give you today, is 3 Things All Athletes Need To Do In Training! No matter what kind of athlete you are, assuming it's a physical driven sport however, these 3 Things are essential to a successful training program. If anything else, you should be trying to always fit these 3 Things into your training plan. I'll explain more in detail as you read on!
All athletes need to be squatting. No matter what age, gender, or sport. You need to build a strong lower body. This will help you simply with being on your feet. It will help become faster and jump higher. And it will simply strengthen you in your athletic positions in your sport as you bend at your ankles, knees, and hips. It doesn't matter as much which type of squatting you're doing, as long as you have a solid reason for why you believe it's appropriate. But for athletes, squatting in a gym is considered to be very general. So you can Hi Bar, Low Bar, Box Squat, Goblet Squat, and or Single Squat Variations, just whatever will make you get the most out of the movement. The point is, if you're an athlete, get comfortable with the idea of squatting, and start squatting yesterday...Your Power and Speed will thank me!
2.) Abdominal Training
Most athletes actually want to avoid Ab Work because it takes up time and it's hard to see a visual direct connection to the sport. But the bad news is, that our lower spine is the only skeletal structure connections our upper body to our lower body. So you need to rely on your trunk muscles to be strong and stable. When this is in effect, your upper and lower body works together much more efficiently and will also decrease the rate of potential injuries. Abdominal Training should be a part of your program throughout the whole year!
3.) Aerobic Conditioning
A lot of athletes may be rolling their eyes right now when they see the words Aerobic Conditioning. But guess what, everything we do has an Aerobic component to it. So whether you're a Thrower on a track team, or you run Cross Country, you need to have some sort of Aerobic Conditioning to compete as a high level athlete. For more strength based athletes, you need this to be in your program because it will help when you're at your events, you will have more energy and a faster recovery time between your bouts/attempts. When your aerobic system is more developed, the efficient blood flow to your muscles will keep you muscles warmer, which means they can fire faster if they're warm. And also, with this system being more developed, you will be able to recover from training sessions faster as well! So anything from walking 10 minutes at a time with a weight vest to distance runners running miles at a time, you should always be concerned on where your Aerobic Conditioning is at any given time of the year!
By now, you should see why at least these 3 Things should be in every Athlete's training program. And in fact, there's a lot more than can be added to this list, but these 3 jump to the front of my mind as they often want to be neglected rather easily. So if you're an athlete, a coach, or a parent of an athlete, take a look at the big picture of what you're doing, and make sure these 3 Things (Squat, Abdominal Training, & Aerobic Conditioning) are being included in your preparation for the upcoming season!
Talk to you soon!
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Physical Prep Coach & Owner of Joel Younkins Training.