So I know if you’ve been following ‘ole BR here on the blog for a while then you know my love for strength and lifting heavy stuff. Having said that you also understand my love for being able to move and to move well. I love utilizing different tools for strength in terms of lifting, throwing, toting, and however else an external load can be handled for the purpose of getting stronger. On the flip side of the coin I also really enjoy engaging in athletic performance drills on a regular basis. After all this is the other side of my program. Keep reading to get some more insight on this stuff because it is just DA Bomb, as the kids like to say these days.
Do You Train Like An Athlete?
Ok, this is an interrogation that consist of one question and one question only. Do you train like an athlete? If I had a dark room with a single lightbulb and had you strapped to a chair how would you answer this question? Ok, maybe I don’t have to go through all of that to get the answer out of you, but if you are going to answer the question then you’ve got to answer it honestly. So I’ll give you a second or two to do so…
So now that we have your answer let me simply take a moment to display the reason as to why I incorporate athletic performance drills into the training equation just in case you were wondering. Well first of all, aside from myself my students benefit hugely from being faster, quicker, and more agile. Understanding the importance of performing as an athlete means that you have to buy in to the fact that athleticism is a built trait…not just something someone happens to be blessed with having.
Now granted some of us are blessed with more physical characteristics that are better suited in some areas more than others, but the fact still remains that in order to be the best possible athlete for your sport you’ve got to work at it, period. Strength and athleticism are skills and like any other skill they have to be practiced. Now having said this the trick to strength and athletic performance involving speed, agility, and power training is that most people are just simply in the dark in terms of knowing what to practice!
I mean if you watch a basketball player and you yourself have never played the sport you still understand that you have to go out and dribble the ball, shoot the ball, and pass the ball. These are just commonly recognized skills for the sport that you (even if you are a novice) recognize that you must have in order to play the game. The recognition of such skills related to strength and performance may seem apparent to a young novice, but they are almost always way off target when it comes to practicing the right skills.
The point is that you’ve got to have a good plan. This goes for the strength part of your training as well as the athletic performance side of your training. The bottom line is that by training like an athlete you make yourself more well rounded, you give your body a change from the usual pounding you may take in the weight room, and as I always like to say you keep the movement blade sharp. Performance speed and agility drills not only benefit your nervous system, but they are beneficial to your state of mind as well.
I personally tend to engage in more athletic performance type drills during the warmer months of the year. I can tell you that after the initial adaptation from doing agility ladders, speed drills, and cone drills my body goes through some radical changes. I mean I literally perform better in the weight room because my recovery is always faster, the few aches and pains I may have from heavy lifting go away, and I can immediately tell that my body just feels more mobile. Generating fast movements in sprinting, hopping, and jumping type drills just do wonders for the body in my opinion.
To give you a little taste of some fast paced footwork that I like to engage in both for myself and for my athletes I always like to start with some agility ladder high knees. Check these out.
High knee runs are a great way to start on some agility ladder drills and they don’t require a whole lot of space either. In addition to performing these you should work on knee and elbow action to generate arm and leg drive during the act of sprinting. Once you get used to these you can move on to vary it up by performing some lateral high knee drills like I’m doing here. Once again pay attention to the rapid movement of my knees going up and down along with my elbow drive. I’m not bragging on myself here, but just merely trying to point out the purpose of generating strict running form and power during the act of this particular sprint drill.
Do you see what I’m getting at now? You’ve got to be willing to get out and move! Athletic performance is just as crucial as lifting. I mean let’s face it when the unpleasant stuff hits the fan and you find yourself right in the middle of a zombie apocalypse you better be able to get your rear end out from under a barbell and start hitting some high knee strides away from the danger zone! 🙂
To sum it up athletic performance will enhance your performance in the weight room and without a doubt on the field of play. If you need a little further guidance on getting a sound strategy for your strength and conditioning program then make sure you get yourself a copy of my Brandon Richey’s Better Than Steroids ebook right here.
Do you engage in athletic performance drills of your own? If so I’d like to hear about them in the comment box below this article. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend.