The following article is a guest post from David Leyland. I actually met David a few weeks back at Jon Goodman’s Personal Training Seminar. David’s a smart dude and you should listen to what he has to say. Add him on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/david.leyland.1 and check out his website here: http://daveleyland.com/
Professional athletes are ripped. This is the physique that many will seek.
However, not many people outside of competitive athletics will take on the strategies needed to develop the physique of Adrian Peterson or Misty May. Some Bros may search “how to exercise” on the internet and find some body part split routine that looks something like:
Day 1: Chest and Tris for the guys
Day 2: Back and Curls for the girls
Day 3: Seated leg extensions and hamstring curls
Day 4: Shoulders and more Bis/Tris
Day 5: Rest and then repeat cycle over again
Some girls may search “how to exercise” and find a sweet “toning” workout consisting of elliptical, pink dumbbells and crunches. I’m not going to say either of these programs don’t do anything, but they won’t get you that lean athletic look you have been looking for. Body part splits are meant for body builders and may get you to look like this if you put in the time….
Which isn’t a bad thing if that is your goal! However, most of us don’t actually want to get up on stage and compete ever. For women, these “toning” workouts may get you some results if you have never exercised before, but you will surely plateau before reaching your ideal body goals.
So here are some tips for both males and females that will help you implement athletic workout strategies without actually having to be a competitive athlete yourself!
I don’t want to dwell on this too much, for there about 2,000,000 blog posts on how lifting heavy stuff is good for everyone….including women!
Athletes train by lifting heavy weights, getting strong, getting powerful, and getting fast. They aren’t in the gym frolicking around with light weights in the hopes of becoming beasts on their field of play. Squat, Deadlift, Press, and Pull heavy. That means under 8 reps and always try to use more and more weight while keeping sound form. Don’t get to a weight you are comfortable with and settle. Aim for the next level!
If you are a woman and afraid that weight training will make you bulky, please check out Girls Gone Strong here: http://www.facebook.com/GirlsGoneStrong. They are a group of women making a push to promote weight training for females and fight the stigma of it making women bulky monsters. Their site should be launching soon and when it does it will be great stuff that hopefully causes new trends in female training.
Do athletes go on the elliptical for 30 minutes at a time? No. Maybe for a recovery day from their other 4-6 days of intense training, but that’s a big time “Maybe” still! Sports aren’t performed at a monotone pace. Football, rugby, basketball, hockey, even soccer (despite what it may appear like) are filled with bursts from 3-45 seconds. There is a period of rest and then they repeat it over and over.
Now, I’m not here to say steady state cardio is completely useless. This is one of the hot topics in the fitness industry that could be argued for a month, tears would be shed, blood would be bled, and no one would likely win. However, all I am going to say is that you have to implement some more intensive conditioning into your workout routine in addition to steady state cardio if you want to possess a more athletic physique. Athletes don’t do steady state cardio for a living. It may help them with their training and be a necessary part of a workout program, but it is not what they do in practices or games for the majority of the year.
Try doing some 20 yard sprints and walk back as recovery, then repeat. Try doing the same up hills. Try doing different drills where you involve backpedalling, lateral movements, and jumping. Try using an agility ladder. All these things can give you an athletic type workout that will help you towards your goals faster than any machine in the gym ever will.
A big difference I see between when I work with athletes and when I work with average Joe’s is their core strength. I’m not talking about their differences in 6 packs, even though many athletes possess a wicked one. I am talking about the core that is so strong it makes you impossible to tackle, impossible to be pushed off the puck in the corners, or impossible to battle down low in basketball.
This is the type of core that an athlete needs to have, and really it should be the type of core we all strive for as well. Anti-extension and anti-rotation core exercises are the way to go in order to build this STRONG core. Also, here is a sweet exercise I like to implement to build that athletic, “like a rock” type core I was talking about.
As I hinted at earlier, body part training days should be left for the bodybuilders. If you want to look like an athlete rather than Ronnie Coleman, full body or upper/lower body split workouts are the best choices.
Athletes don’t need to split up their workouts into body parts. They are movers, and movement involves a lot of muscles from a lot of joints, not some in isolation. Athletes will often train with full body workouts because they are doing so many compound movements involving multiple muscles in the body. Not just biceps and triceps. They may also train with upper and lower body splits to have a more specific focus for each day, but not so specific they forget about their end performance goals in search for a “pump”. In the end athletes need to able to move well, for that is what truly separates them from most of us. Another inch on their arms is way less important than the ability to get faster, jump higher and knock people over when needed.
Let it be known, I’m not an “arms training hater.” I just don’t think it deserves its own day. If one of your goals is to build bigger arms then arm training should be part of your routine. However, implement it at the end of your workouts.
Athletes also need to have a greater emphasis placed on leg strength. Most body part splits will typically only have 1 leg day and it will be to burn out with a focus on hypertrophy and isolation. Athletes often have massive, bouldering legs, that may not be the prettiest, but guess what….they do work baby! [Editor’s note: I disagree with David and think that big legs looks freakin’ awesome. Support the 26 inch thigh cause.] They also fill out a pair of jeans and that’s not just skinny jeans.
Try one of these two 4-day workout splits for a change up if you are currently splitting your workouts into body parts.
Monday: Lower body
Tuesday: Upper body
Thursday: Lower body
Friday: Upper body
Monday: Full body
Wednesday: Full body
Friday: Lower body
Saturday: Upper body
Athletes train for a living. If you really want to look like an athlete you are going to have to put some serious work into your body. This means 2 things, 1) consistency day in and day out with your program and 2) BRING THE INTENSITY IN THE GYM!
Trust me when I say, I’m not that guy who thinks the gym should be no fun and any sign of laughter means you should be banned for life. I love having fun in the gym. Heck, you need to as a professional if it’s what you are doing for hours on end day in and day out. However, the amount of intensity some people workout with does not seem conducive to their goals. Get NASTY! Get mad at those weights and destroy your sets! Crack a joke between sets and then get back at ‘er. Also, avoid the 5 minute breaks because you saw someone you haven’t seen in 2 days and you need to catch up. Take training seriously, that’s what athletes do and it’s what you should do too if you are serious about your body.
I hope I have provided some information here on how to exercise that is easy to apply and will help you get you the results you have been looking for! Thank you Jason, for giving me the opportunity to guest post! Any questions please comment below.
Stay strong (and athletic!),
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