There is still a lot of myth that surrounds exercise and fitness. Guys these days are still doing the same thing that was being done in the 80’s: body part splits, going to failure, muscle confusion, lots of isolation work and other issues still dominate when it comes to working out. I’m sure part of this is a side effect of bodybuilding era; much of what people do in the gym these days is still geared towards getting you ready to look great in a string bikini with the darkest spray tan possible.
If you want to look huge or compete up on stage, sure, you should probably train like a bodybuilder. But most people don’t want to train like a slow, over-inflated bodybuilder nor do they have the time to spend hours in a gym 5-6 days a week. Most people just want to feel good, be a little stronger and look good naked, string bikini optional.
We instead need to train like playmakers. We should train like the guy breaking a tackle and racing down the line for a touchdown, or the shortstop that makes a diving grab turning a double into a double play. Not only do athletes typically embody what we consider an “ideal” body, they actually have a body that is quick and powerful; they have bodies that are built for performance. Can you imagine a typical bodybuilder making a diving grab for a touchdown?
Here are three reasons you should train like an athlete
You’ll build lean, dense muscle
If you think of the typical gym bro walking around with his string top and jug of water, he’s always kind of puffy. For most bodybuilders, their whole year culminates in one or two days where they look as good as they do.
Training like an athlete requires lifting heavy, compound movements that tax your entire body in a much different manner than lifting high reps in isolation. This is, by far, the most important aspect of training like an athlete. Our muscles do not work in isolation; they all work together in unison to move us and produce force. Let’s look at leg extensions versus a back squat. Both are “leg exercises” however the squat is much more than that.
For instance, when you use the leg extension, only your quads are doing any work. You do a set of 10-15 with 40-50lbs on the machine and feel a deep burn in your legs. Once you’re done, you move onto the leg curl machine, then do some kickbacks for your glutes. If you instead did the squat, your entire lower body has to work to lift the weight and you’re lifting much, much more than 50lbs. It’s impossible for you to squat and then stand back up with a heavy weight without using every, single muscle in your lower body. On top of that, your abs and back have to stabilize the weight to prevent it from pinning you to the floor. The squat works your entire body with one exercise and releases a torrent of human growth hormone and testosterone as a response; your entire body will get bigger and stronger as a result.
You can stop worrying about “cardio”
When’s the last time you saw a world class athlete jogging on the treadmill? Instead, they’re spending their time jumping, throwing and sprinting; they’re doing things explosively and exercising in a manner that forces their entire body to perform. They don’t need to waste time with cardio because they’re training to become faster, stronger and more powerful while getting shredded in the process. When you switch to training like an athlete, you’ll spend your time building a quick, reactive, explosive body while building a lean physique.
You’ll have better posture and fewer injuries
Athletes have to be in tip, top shape while moving well and feeling good. If their structural integrity is compromised, it spells the difference between a million dollar contract and sitting third string on the bench. There’s no room for injury.
This means you spend time stretching, strengthening and mobilizing areas that are weak before, during and even after your workout. Once you start taking care of your body, you’ll notice the little aches and pains will start to disappear rather than accumulating into bigger issues. You’ll also notice you posture will improve, your energy levels will increase and you’ll feel stronger and more powerful.
Training like an athlete and focusing on strength, power, athleticism and health is the most effective way to increase your results in the gym. Treat your body like the explosive animal it wants to be and it will repay your efforts several times over.