Want to perform like a Pro Athlete?? Then train like one!!

Too often I see young (or not so young!) athletes training like a bodybuilder instead of an Athlete. This common mistake can result in hampered or even reduced performance on game day.

A great example of this problem can be seen in the sport of Crossfit. An Elite level Crossfit athlete does not train the same way that an everyday person would. They split their training into blocks, focus on improving their weaknesses and understand how to train at an intensity that allows them to recover and be ready for their next session. The same can be said for a Professional Rugby League player or a swimmer.

Let’s look at the way elite sportsperson’s structure their training and how this could help you.

Plan Your Training Season

An Elite athlete will know in advance when they need to be at their peak. They then break their year down into blocks (Mesocycles) working backwards from their planned peak. Using the example of a Crossfit Athlete, lets look at how they may structure their year to prepare for the Open

Crossfit Open – Begins 25 Feb 2022

Peaking Cycle (Including Taper) = 8 Weeks 3/1/22 – 25/2/22

Strength Development Cycle = 12 Weeks 11/10/21 – 2/1/22

Muscle Growth and Technique Development Cycle = 6 weeks 30/08/21 – 10/10/21

With this basic outline, an athlete or coach can then develop workouts that will ensure they are ready to perform at their best during the Open.

Have a GOAL for every Cycle and even every session

A goal for each cycle is critical. The goal could be to improve your technique in a particular lift, increase muscle or lift a particular weight. Plan each session to ensure you are taking steps towards that goal. For example, if your goal is to improve your squat technique, add movements that will help with this. Your weakness could be core related, so adding additional core work might assist with this.

To follow on from this, if the goal of the cycle is to improve squat technique ;and you plan to do this by strengthening your core, then the goal for the session could be to increase your weighted plank time.

Prioritise Recovery and Nutrition

The best athletes understand the importance of recovery. If you want to perform at your best, you need to put as much focus on stretching, eating and sleeping as you do on training for your sport. The body needs to be well hydrated, fed with the correct amount of macro and micro nutrients and needs adequate rest to recover from each session. If you miss out any of these important aspects of recovery, you could be creating a recovery debt. By owing extra recovery to your body, you are inviting poor performance and injury into the equation.

Stretching and triggering are other additional modalities you can use to assist in recovery. It is important to think of these as the 10% with the 90% coming from Diet and Rest.

Remember that if you are using gym sessions to help you improve your on-field performance, your focus needs to be on the performance on the field. If what you do in the gym detracts from your performance on game day, then you are wasting your time in the gym.

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