Anyone can create an exercise programme, seemingly adding in the latest exercise seen on the internet, why! Because it looked cool to do, but will it help you to improve your performance? It may feel like it does because it is challenging for you to do, but have you considered the reason for doing that particular exercise? Did you just choose it because it was a good idea?
It can be great fun doing tyre flipping, sled pulling, or doing some speed and agility training, but a lot of times this may be done without any regard for the training effect? A few months ago at a martial arts show, a drill was demonstrated using agility movements; the problem was the body mechanics being used throughout the drill were poor. These drills may be replicated, sometimes without thought, but because everyone else seems to be doing them, why not join in? Today’s fitness trends have certainly looked for the next fun challenging exercise or new piece of equipment to attempt to get superior results; or to keep the workouts fun, but does it follow any under pinning fitness knowledge? Is the body prepared for it? and what benefits would it give someone for performance?
Posture and movement are going to affect the way you complete a golf swing, throw a punch or move around a court, but a conditioning program to help improve your sport or activity needs to be appropriate. Therefore to train heavy weight squats may not be the best option for a golfer, but essential for the MMA fighter, learning the needs of the sport and the movements involved and the needs of the athlete can determine the exercises which are used in a programme.
Various testing methods can be used to assess your movement, from simple posture analysis to movement screening procedures or video analysis. Knowing how well you move through a specific exercise may show a weakness that could determine how well you play your sport. Training out this weakness may also help to prevent an injury from occurring.
‘Core training’ has been a buzz phrase in the fitness world, for a few years now, though research at present does not support that it improves sports performance. Most of this type of training tends to be done in a static position, but the exercises need to be progressed to dynamic stability training for further improvement. Suspension training is all the rage at present making the core muscles work harder though the movement. Some coaches are now seeing too much tension produced on the core muscles affecting running performance, though this is yet to be proved through research.
Getting more coaching for your sport may help your technique, but if you are struggling to achieve the correct body position then check for a weakened muscle, lack of co-ordinated movement or reduced mobility around a joint, as practising the same technique many times over with an underlying joint or muscle problem will give you a faulty movement pattern that will take longer to train out.
Everyone talks about getting stronger and it certainly underpins our fundamental movements, but too much emphasis on strength without consideration for plyometric training to create explosiveness could slow you down and be detrimental to your sports development. Body building workouts are generally looking to build bigger muscles and use more isolated exercises like biceps curls, together with an emphasis on nutrition for size. Whereas sports fitness training looks at developing functional movement and will use whole body exercises for efficient movement, nutrition may be used for energy demands, recovery and specific weight categorised events. Amateur athletes are often seen using the wrong routine for their development.
How is your training program put together? When you ask a runner if he trains at the gym the answer is yes, but it is usually doing cardiovascular training, the martial artist will often train at a gym that has a punch bag, then there are people who have the energy to complete 3 fitness class sessions back to back.