How To Become A Better Athlete - A Surprising & Relevant Tip
A great athlete is a well-rounded athlete
“You don’t have to strength train to be an athlete, but to be a BETTER athlete, you MUST strength train.”
This is so fundamentally true!
Here’s a story of one of my athlete’s, Ashley. She’s loves to run and has been running for most of her life and for years she really enjoyed competing in marathon races. Running is basically all she knew. But over the years she suffered through numerous of injuries like intense and painful Achilies tendonitis which often left her sitting on the sideline, frustrated that she can’t do what she loves to do. But of course, like most athletes, she bounced back, sucked it up and kept on running.
What really push the tipping point is when she suffered from Jumper’s knee which left her in a brace for a couple of weeks and boy just the thought of taking another extensive break from running was a really hard pill for her to shallow.
At this point in her life, she felt defeated and thought she would never be able to run as often as she liked, not be able run as fast , or to ever compete again all because she feared that these injuries will keep rearing its ugly head every time.
She was then introduced to strength training and we were able to flush out her discrepancies and help her realized where she was weak in many areas where she was experiencing those injuries. So the key was to not only strengthen those weak areas but to help her body posses a well-rounded ratio of strength to endure the repetitive demands of running. After investing her time in proper strength training, she was able to get back to her running schedule while maintaining her lifting schedule.
So my point here is that becoming a better athlete is not so difficult but it’s easily overlooked. Building a stronger body has such a positive impact on all areas of performance. It helps break the cycle of injury from sports which often leaves our body’s vulnerable due to muscular imbalances and faulty movement patterns which naturally occurs.
This is one of many reasons, weight training to become a better athlete is so essential.
Train your opposite muscles to decrease repetitive injuries
I’ll give you another example, say your goals is to build a bigger chest but you’re dealing with shoulder pain on your right side, on the front of the shoulder. It’s likely due to heavy emphasis on chest press exercises so the repetitive nature of that angle on the shoulder joint has caused the shoulder to flare up. Basically, your training needs to be balance with the opposite contraction like a row exercise. Spending time in a phase strengthening your back and less time overworking your chest will do you some good and if fact give you a bigger return in your investment in building a bigger chest.
Train your weak areas to lower the severity of injuries
Just to finish up here, I’ll give you another example of one of my athletes, Kathryn,
She’s a Volleyball player who dealt with recurring shoulder pain which had affected her ability to produce overhead force when hitting the ball across the court and often times sat her out of games. But with a sport like Volleyball, It places repetitive demand on the shoulder by overloading the tissues around the shoulder area like the rotator cuff, pec minor, and the deltoids.
She realized if she wanted to maintain her strength and power in this high-paced and dynamic sport, she needed to strengthen her shoulder and the surrounding muscles. So, I put her through a progressive structural balance strength training plan and within a couple of months she had notice a difference in the way her arm and shoulder felt and moved and that she was able to sustain her way to keep playing. Though her journey is far from over, she continues to improve, strengthen and balance her training so that her performance doesn’t suffer on the court.
Ultimately, achieving optimal structural balance and the significants of having all your supporting muscles optimally assisting your bigger muscles to perform your actions is the core to optimal performance in any sport.
In what I commonly find from most athletes is that they aren’t aware they have these structural discrepancies. Most of the time it this due to their training program where they may feel they are performing the right exercises but are spending too much time on strengthening areas that are already strong in order to further their performance but their program leaves out their weak areas or those essential exercises are left till the end of their workout.
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