5 exercises that improve your athleticism

October 11, 2017 by Richard Cohen

5 Exercises That Improve Your Athleticism

Fitness is not just about having shredded abs and big biceps. These are just potential benefits that you might obtain. When I entered a strongman competition I was the strongest I had ever been but I definitely didn’t look as good as I did during my physique competitions. My body fat was higher but my training output was better because I consumed more calories.

Aesthetics plays a part in many of our goals but true fitness is based on athleticism. To be good at a sport you need to learn the necessary skills and be able to run fast, jump high, be strong, have good stamina, and be able to move quickly.

Below are 5 examples of exercises that you should be doing to improve each aspect of your athletic performance.

 

Speed – Sled Push

Your speed is based on how quickly you can move through a given movement. Sled training is a great way to build up your sprint speed and acceleration. The sled will strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, core, and has a great carryover effect to sprinting. All of which are essential for being a fast and explosive athlete.

Things to consider

Try mixing up pushing heavier loads to get stronger as well as lighter loads to improve your explosiveness. Both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers need to be trained to improve your overall speed and power.

 

Vertical Jump – Deep Barbell Squat

Deep squats will increase the speed and strength you can apply to the ground and this can help you jump higher. Deep squats are arguably the king of leg exercises and have been shown to improve athleticism significantly more than partial squats. You get better engagement of your glutes and hamstrings by going deeper. You can also utilize the stretch reflex by going ass to grass enabling you to come up faster.

Things to consider

During the concentric movement of the squat (the way up) you want to be able to come up with a fast tempo because jumping is an explosive movement.

 

Strength – Deadlift

Strength is the maximal force you can exert against a load or weight. The deadlift is a true showcase of your total body strength. Deadlifting will strengthen your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, lower back) as well as other muscle groups such as your shoulders and core. It’s a highly functional movement that leaves you with satisfaction after lifting a ridiculously heavy weight off the ground.

Things to consider

Incorporate speed work with lighter weights to engage fast twitch muscle fibers and to reinforce motor patterns. You can then alternate this with heavier weights for lower reps to improve your total strength.

 

Endurance – Running

Your endurance can be judged on how long you can sustain a physical activity without getting fatigued. Running is the most obvious yet effective way to improve your anaerobic and aerobic endurance.

Things to consider

Both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems will be worked if you mix interval training with long distance running. The combination will work wonders for improving your endurance.

 

Agility – Speed Ladder Agility Drills

Agility is the ability to change direction or position as quickly as possible. This exercise is useful for agility as it will improve your footwork and coordination. They are also great fun to do in a group class setting.

Things to consider

You can run forward with high knees or sideways to give you well rounded workout that can carry over to your sport.

 

Conclusion – Specificity of Training is Key

Once you decide on your fitness goal it’s important to follow the best course of action to help you achieve that goal. For example, if you want to be a better footballer you will need to have a well-rounded training program that involves each area of athleticism. On the other hand if your only goal is to be a better powerlifter then you can focus purely on strength training. At The Lab we can help periodize your training and perfect your technique in order for you to be the best athlete that you can be.

 

Rishi Haria – Strength & conditioning coach

E: rishi@thelabbangkok.com, T: 02-662-1618