Athletes love to train like bodybuilders (and not like athletes.) Honestly, I don’t understand why!
Is it because a big arms makes for a better athlete?
Is it because athletes benefit from dozens of isolation exercises?
Is it something in the water?!
In case you were wondering, the answer to all these is question is no. Here are the real reasons why athletes love training like bodybuilders:
#1 – There’s no delayed gratification with this type of training.
When you do a set of dumbbell curls or bench presses, you can immediately see and feel these muscles swell up with blood and lactic acid.
There’s nothing more macho feeling than getting a biceps pump then go check yourself out in the mirror. It’s just plain awesome.
But this kind of gratification doesn’t really build athleticism (although it may build ego). Athletes need a certain kind of training that is difficult, humbling, and involves delayed gratification.
#2 – This type of training usually isn’t too difficult.
Let’s face it – humans are great at finding ways to simplify work and make it easier. Why trek up and down a giant mountain to reach the village on the other-side, when you can just blast a tunnel through the mountain to get there?
Athletes, being human, will gravitate towards bodybuilding-type exercises, because they aren’t always that hard (not all the time, but usually).
Plus, if athletes believe that bodybuilding-style training is effective for athletic prep – should we really expect them to do anything else?
#3 – Athletes misunderstand what they need to do to become better.
No one ever intends on doing themselves harm or a disservice.
It’s no secret that people are selfish – they want to do what benefits them.
The same principle applies to athletes – if they truly believe an activity will improve their game, and their really care about their sport, I’d put money down that they will start doing it.
The problem is, however, athletes usually have the wrong idea about training and improving their performance. They think training like a bodybuilder is sufficient for improving their game, when the reality is that it isn’t enough.
So, How Should an Athlete Actually Train?
Kids who play baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, etc. all derive their power from their legs. Athletes NEED powerful, explosive legs. Additionally, strength is the base for power.
So, athletes should perform lower body exercises explosively for power, as well as with enough weight for strength.
Some power exercises would include kettlebell swings, sprints, and broad jumps.
Some strength exercises are deadlifts, squats, and glute bridges.
It would be a huge mistake to not train the legs if you’re an athlete.
Another thing to realize is that these athletes spend their entire day using the “front side” of their upper body: writing in their books at school, using their computers at home, tossing/pitching/throwing/pushing in practice.
The “back side” of their upper bodies usually becomes weak and under-developed, leading to an increased risk of shoulder injuries. This part of an athlete’s body is important to emphasize and keep strong.
Exercises that train this part of the body, AKA the upper back, include rows, face-pulls, and pull-ups.
Staying injury-free is just as important as becoming powerful and explosive. If you’re not healthy enough to be in the game, you’re no better than your worst-performing but-still-healthy teammate.
- For a variety of reasons, athletes tend to gravitate towards a bodybuilding-style of training.
- In reality, athletes who are serious about achieving their true potential should be training their legs for power and strength, and their upper-backs for injury-prevention.
At GameChanger, we don’t totally exclude the bodybuilding-style exercises, but we emphasize the more important areas – the legs and upper-back – in our program.
This is because we design our athletes’ training around what will actually improve their performance and keep them injury-free.
Our Spring Training Block is beginning soon and we only have a few spots left for athletes looking to become more powerful and explosive.
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