Athleticism is more than just running a ball to the end zone. It requires stamina, strength, and agility. What can you do to improve in those areas?
Do you want to be more athletic? Many of us do, and vBeing an athlete is more than just running a ball to the end zone. It requires stamina, strength, and agility. What can you do to improve in those areas?ery few of us would turn opportunities at athleticism down if it were offered to us. As a society, we envy athletes, flock to their events and revere them as celebrities. Simply look at the fact that the highest paid university employees across the United States are football and basketball coaches as evidence of this! Plus, many of us can recall taking part in athletics during our high school years, not just in being part of a team sport, but regular conditioning through gym classes. That regular conditioning allowed us to be in better physical shape. Who wouldn’t miss that feeling? Athleticism is also a whole lot of fun. So to mix up your current program, and give yourself an edge for that next pickup game, make sure your workouts are targeting these three physical traits:
Athletes need to be able to last past the first half of game day without collapsing in exhaustion, and their training reflects this. Most sports involve plenty of cardio: sprints, distance runs, swimming drills, stair climbs, and agility drills that leave you gasping. Cardio is the most widely performed type of exercise out there, and also overwhelmingly viewed as essential for health. If you want to be more athletic, you need to train for stamina. Even if you’re not up to running grueling step repeats yet, try to get in intense and diverse conditioning work at least three times a week and preferably more often. You won’t just notice pickup games getting easier, but flying up those steps at the office will also become delightfully easy.
Every kind of athlete benefits from being stronger. The stronger an athlete is, the easier a given task is on the muscular system, which will lead to better performance and less fatigue. Strength training will help you jump higher, sprint faster, kick harder, throw farther, swing with more strength, and do all of the above without wearing you down. As recently as a few decades ago athletes were discouraged from strength training for fear that any muscle gains would slow them down, but modern exercise science has demonstrated the dramatic performance enhancement strength training offers, and now new records are being set on a regular basis because of it. If you want to function at top capacity (and just make life all around easier) strive to get stronger. Make sure your program contains all the best compound exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and presses. Work on increasing the weight you can lift with these movements!
If you look around the gym, just about everyone is working on either strength training or endurance training. What they may be missing is agility. Agility is that extra ability that allows the best athletes to change direction instantly, dive for that impossible catch, out-maneuver those four oncoming defenders, and in general excel in their sport. Agility is definitely something some of us are born with more of (think naturally gifted athletes), but it’s also a skill we can work to improve. Agility is using your muscles with speed and precision, so including exercises in your regular routine that practice this will improve how agile you are over time. If you include exercises like jump rope, agility ladder drills, dot drills, obstacle courses, and shuttle runs into your program, you’ll notice a rapid improvement in your agility, and a subsequent improvement in your athleticism. Work these techniques in at least a few times a week and you may be the star in that next pickup game!
The odds are, if you exercise regularly you are getting in stamina work and hopefully strength work as well, but by incorporating all three skill practices, you should notice that your workouts will become more fun, and your daily activity will become easier thanks to feeling light on your feet and ready to move with speed, strength and precision whenever the need or desire arises.
See you at the gym or on the mountain trails!