When we first work with an athlete, we always ask them what their current workouts look like and almost every time, the exercise selection focuses on the “beach muscles” or the ones you can see in the mirror – like the chest and biceps. While these muscle groups may help you look better, they aren’t the ones that make you a better athlete.
Instead, if you look in the mirror, all the muscles that you can’t see are the ones that require focus. These muscles make up your posterior chain and includes your hamstrings, glutes, lower back and mid & upper back. These are the muscles that protect you from injuries and also produce your power. So whether you want to run faster, hit harder, throw faster or just be more dominant in your sport, you need to focus on all the muscles you can’t see.
The best exercises will depend on many factors, like the age of the athlete and the level of the athlete, but generally speaking for most high school athletes, these are the five best exercises (no particular order):
# 5 – Push-ups
Most people think push-ups are “too easy” and only train the upper body. The truth is proper push-ups not only utilize the upper body musculature but the entire body. Push-ups will demonstrate your ability to control your own bodyweight, which is critical to changing directions and running faster. Simply put, the better you control your body, the faster you will be able to run and change directions in the field or on the court. The key isn’t just doing push-ups, you have to do them properly!
# 4 – Chin-ups (Pull-ups)
Similar to push-ups, pull-ups are a bodyweight exercise that will demonstrate your relative body strength, or how well you control your own bodyweight. If you increase the amount of proper chin-ups you can do, chances are you will also run faster and be able to change directions quicker. Chin-ups are also a great exercise that strengthens the upper back.
# 3 – Front Squats
The front squat is a great exercise that will help strengthen the lower body and core while also improving mobility. Unlike back squats, front squats put more pressure on your core and less on your back making it a more effective exercise for most athletes.
# 2 – Trap Bar Deadlifts
Trap bar deadlifts are a great posterior chain exercise that will strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and lower back. This exercise is easier to teach than many other posterior chain exercises; it offers a great bang for the buck.
# 1 – Split Squats
Single leg exercises are critical for athletes because they will help iron out imbalances from side to side. They will also improve hip mobility and stability, which will contribute to a stronger and more functional lower body.
If you master these 5 exercises, you’ll be better athlete. When you are a better athlete, you have more potential to be better at your sport.
P.S Would you like to know exactly what your child needs to do to get bigger, faster & stronger? CLICK HERE to schedule a free assessment.