Want to Be a Better Athlete?
Want to be a Better Athlete?
It seems everyday people approach me with the same questions about how to become a better athlete. These are individuals with goals such as running an obstacle course race or completing the Boston Marathon. High school and college athletes, weekend warriors and of course people who just want to look like an athlete. Most of the time these individuals are dedicated gym goers who log hours of workouts each week but just can’t seem to get to the next level. They often have been performing the same workout week after week with little to no improvement. What amazes me is that these workouts usually have no athletic movements in them what so ever. Instead, they either involve heavy upper body exercises (particularly with men) or low weight and high repetitions as they do not want to bulk (particularly with woman). Note: you will not bulk up just because you push yourself to lift something heavy (I will go off on this in a future blog coming soon).
If you want to be a better athlete or simply become one in the first place, you must train the Posterior Chain. The Posterior Chan is defined as the low back, glutes, hamstrings and calves. All workouts in our personal training programs and boot camps have a heavy emphasis on the posterior chain. These muscles are often underdeveloped due to neglect and poor execution of lower body lifts. People tend to focus on the muscles they can see in the mirror. This is a big mistake as these muscles play a major role in all athletic movements and one’s overall quality of life. The harder you push on the ground, the harder the ground will push back on you thus allowing you to run faster, jump higher and throw farther. To do this, you need a strong low back, hamstrings and glutes. If these muscles are weak or inhibited you will tend to over compensate; this is the cause of many low back injuries.
To strengthen the posterior chain we recommend starting with bodyweight and light resistance training exercises such as the squat (the box squat is a great exercise to start with), deadlift, low back extensions, and unilateral exercises like the lunge. Functional strength training such as tire flipping , heavy sled pushes/pulls and farmer walks will yield huge results as these exercises force you to use your posterior chain as well as your whole body. This is important as no athletic event that I know of requires the use of one muscle group yet people love isolation exercises. Full body movements will force more neurological recruitment and synchronization in turn making you stronger in all your lifts. These exercises also require large amounts of energy and endurance adding the benefit of being great for fat loss. Not to mention improving coordination something very crucial to athletic performance. A strong emphasis should be put on learning proper form in the beginning to build a strong foundation. Once you build up this base strength then you can safely add weight and start performing heavy core lifts.
When it comes to improving athletic performance or simply day to day activities it all starts with the posterior chain. Try gradually adding these movements into your workout program. Remember as with any program it will only work if you perform the exercises correctly so give us a call or come on into Meta Performance Center and we’ll be more than happy to help.