Training to get ‘big’ and ‘strong’ is all very well but you must always have the purpose of your efforts in mind, and what function these new levels of physical prowess can offer YOU! This means, is getting ‘stronger’ or ‘bigger’ going to be functional to you? I train to gain muscle because I want to LOOK good and have a beach body, but I don’t have to haul my backside around a playing field for 80 minutes, or run for 1 hour or anything else like that! However, if you do have other sporting commitments and interests, it is very important you keep your training ‘functional’ and specific! It is no good to you having 18’’ arms if it makes you slow on the field, where speed is everything! Here are my top 3 tips to remaining functional as a sporting athlete!
Know the goal
When you step in the gym and start lifting weights, ask yourself why? If you are a football player, why are you bench pressing, squatting and bicep curling to 6 repetitions every week? Sure, gaining some lean muscle tissue can help improve your strength on the pitch, but training for hypertrophy isn’t necessarily going to benefit your game on the field! Gaining strength with weights and gaining size are two very different things! Know the difference, know your goal and know what you need to do in the weights room to improve your game!
Make sure you are keeping tabs on your progress all the time! It is all about remaining functional as an athlete and having a physique which is effective in your chosen sport! By regularly testing your fitness and performance levels in your sport, this will give you a very good indication as to whether or not your weight training is having a positive or negative impact on your game. This will enable you to make suitable alterations if necessary!
Make sure when you hit the weights room you use weights in the same kind of way as to the sport you play. If you play rugby, squats with an explosive burst on the way up are great, because you use bursts of power from your legs in a match! Lifting massive weights in the gym won’t always equate to monstrous strength on the pitch. By making your lifting sessions functional to your game, it should make you stronger ON and OFF the pitch which is vital!
There you have 3 very easy to follow tips to help keep your weight training functional. If your sport is your number 1 priority over aesthetics, then don’t fall into the trap of training like a bodybuilder for the sake of it! Train according to your sporting requirements!