Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Athletes Train to Reach Potential

You must continually improve your athletic skills or you will get surpassed by your teammates and opponents. Many times, the best players are the hardest workers. One thing is certain--you will not succeed without hard work, even if you are talented. At some point, the talent starts to even out at the higher levels of competition. The winners will be those of you who really want it!

Everyone wants more strength, power and speed. Some of you are doing too much strength training and not enough power training. And, some of you are not training nearly hard enough to improve.

To continually get stronger without an increase in speed, power and athleticism will not help you reach your athletic potential.

Make yourself a better athlete by doing the following:

1. Train your body in all 3 planes of motion. Many athletic movements happen in the transverse plane (rotations, turning, twisting, etc.) and frontal plane (side-to-side, lateral).

Machine-based training concentrates on the sagittal plane (up- down, forward-backward movements). Do miminal athletic training on machines because they limit your natural movement patterns.

2. Train on your feet because most athletic movements in games are done standing and running. Here are some examples:

--Jump rope every day to improve your balance and coordination.

--Do one-legged and one-armed exercises like step ups, lunges and alternating one-armed rows and presses.

--Do agility and power drills like shuttles, hops, shuffles, squat jumps, pogo sticks, bounding, speed ladders, medicine ball exercises and depth jumps.

--Do sprints on grass or other natural surface. You must do sprint drills full speed in order to get faster. Also, practice correct running mechanics.

You can improve the ankle's joint proprioception (position sense) and dynamic joint stability with balance training. Doing one-legged balance exercises will accomplish this goal.

One-leg balancing on foam pads or disks for 4-5 minutes (each leg) is a great exercise. Other great exercises are lunges, single-leg squats, step ups and medicine ball rotations on one leg.

You will need to strengthen your knees and ligaments around them. Having strong, stable knee structures will influence how high you can run and jump. The deep knee bend exercise is good for this purpose.

3. Stabilize and strengthen the core first and limbs (arms and legs) later. If your core is weak, you can't effectively transfer power from your lower body to your upper body.

This can be done using exercises like bridges, planks, bird dogs, cobras, supermans and back extensions. You would later progress to full speed core exercises on your feet like medicine ball chops, medicine ball slams, 2-arm and 1-arm medicine ball throws and medicine ball rotational throws.

Train harder, smarter and safely!

Be sure and download your Free Dumbbell and Medicine Ball Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Your Fitness University
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  1. Hi, Great post..
    Nice tips to exercise for improving your athletics skill.
    Thanks for sharing

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  2. Hey Mark...thanks for stopping by! What athletic skills are you working on?


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