Hey, Guys! Guess what? Cardio is actually going to make you a better lifter! How?! Keep reading, you close minded gym rat you! Athletics, or more specifically Strength and Conditioning, in itself is a very clinical and methodical practice encompassing all different realms of training methods with the end result being the progressive development of an athlete to their peak potential. How do football players, basketball players and other sports athletes have such a dramatically intense output? How are they so strong but so fast? How are strongmen so big but so mobile? How are track athletes so ridiculously jacked? Simple… Hybrid programming.
Hybrid programming is a pretty simple concept, basically melding 2 different programming styles together to assist in developing an athlete. Some prime examples of “hybrid” athletes include most major sports athletes, track and field athletes, strongmen, and high level specialized athletes such as powerlifters and weightlifters. It’s pretty rare to see a high level athlete that stays specialized year ‘round which is where Strength and Conditioning principles come into play. Bricks of time throughout the year are typically scheduled (aka periodized) to focus on specific goals which can be accomplished more efficiently using various training styles. The best example is that of a Strongman using base absolute strength work all year for development, various conditioning techniques which can be found in multiple other sports such as hardstyle kettlebell or Track and Field; as well as mobility techniques unique to sports such as weightlifting, and specializing in event work before meets.
What are the benefits of using such techniques and methods you might ask?
What isn’t a benefit?! Improved conditioning helps recovery not only between sets but between maximal attempts, cardiovascular health, visual vascularity and lower body fat percentage. Improved mobility prevents injury and allows fuller and safer range of motion while performing strength or speed movements. Absolute strength work increases force output which is directly linked to stimulating hypertrophy (aka muscle size), muscle definition, joint health and bone health. Though an athlete can progress consistently while specializing, the addition of different periodized goals can assist in an athlete’s longevity resulting in a longer and more competitive career.
Here is a simple way one can utilize unique techniques in a specialized program to assist development in 2 realms both hypertrophically and cardiovascularly:
Lower Extremity PowerBodyBuilding
Pause Squats 65% for 5 sets of 10 Reps
4x Max Effort Slow Tempo Hamstring Curls
4x Max Effort Slow Tempo Quad Extensions
Weighted Walking Lunges 5 sets of 20 reps
10x100m Sprints Timed. Rest time = x2 Work Time
Though specializing and maintaining technique is terribly important for sport, being well rounded by no means takes away from an athlete’s abilities and only benefits the pursuit of their goals. You won’t “lose your gains” if you do some high intensity cardio, and you definitely won’t die if you put a kettle bell into your hand for once in your dumbbell loving lifespan. Shake things up, it can only make you better!
Written by Rob Saeva of No Coast Strength and Conditioning
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