What exactly is an Athlete? Most would say something along the lines of a sports professional, Olympian, jock high school football player… but that diminishes the bigger picture. An athlete overall is an individual with a high daily athletic demand. What does that mean in terms of performance? Everything! An individual athlete must be well rounded in all scopes of the concept being both strong and agile, mobile and healthy with a high output for demand. In order to accomplish this, the individual would need far more than bicep curls and fasted cardio! Periodized programming and progressive advancement to goal sets would make or break an individual’s balance and take them from going 100mph to 20 in what one would hope not be a highly volatile environment.
Fire fighters, police officers, football players and fighters all need a sound base of absolute strength to withstand the consistent demand for high output weight manipulation. How do we accomplish without neglecting the rest of our athleticism? Periodized and programmed strength training. Progressive strength programming, more specifically percentage based programming, can remain the undercurrent for almost any period within an individual’s programming. Though for specialized athletes, this would be less than logical given the necessity for skill sets and demand to perform… individuals such as strength athletes, track and field athletes and some of the more obviously well rounded sport performers can more easily apply a consistent strength base throughout their periodized program.
Only the most agile and strong ate and survived, and those who could not hang would end up getting eaten instead. Higher output means consistent conditioning work. I don’t mean just higher reps so your biceps peak… I’m talking everyone’s taboo best friend, “Cardio”. One’s ability to expend and utilize energy/oxygen (VO2 Max), and the lactic acid threshold to support can make or break someone’s output. Though Absolute Strength assists greatly in one’s ability to withstand manipulating weight within space and time, cardiovascular conditioning results in the overall output. Utilizing techniques such as interval formatting, strength speed work, and progressive time under tension an individual can greatly increase their ability to withstand the pressures of performing for long periods and recovering appropriately.
Mobilization through healthy stretching is just part of what I consider a much broader scope, recovery. Your recovery is key… Sleep, nutrition, mobilization and self-care practices such as myofascial release or trigger point therapy greatly increase the human body’s ability to recover from high demand to be able to perform optimally again. Why is this important to staying well rounded? It’s simple… you are not balanced if you can’t perform optimally, regularly. If your performance slacks consistently then you are missing one of the key factors to maintaining that balance. Recovery and personal maintenance is another consistent and regular facet of an Athlete’s program resulting in a healthy and highly enduring professional.
Here is an example of a balanced program base for an individual looking to achieve appropriate optimization of their athletics…
Warm Up: Crossover Symmetry Rotator Cuff movements (run 20 reps each controlled but DO NOT go to fatigue) + Mobility
· Banded Oblique Raises (anchored by feet) 1×100/side
· Tricep Push Down (alternating prone, supine, neutral grip for 6×20 per hand)
· 15 Min Best Distance Sled Pull (Every Minute on the Minute perform alternating 10 Push Ups, Sit Ups, Squats) w/ light weight
Having balance is key, for reference to mobilization and optimization of recovery visit my mobility articles! Though most individuals tend to stick to what they enjoy… to truly optimize one’s performance, progressive growth in all realms is key; and without a base as stated above… an athlete is nothing more than a weekender looking to roll an ankle!
Written by Rob Saeva of No Coast Strength and Conditioning
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