When it comes to gym based exercise, we firmly believe in training like an athlete as much as possible, the caveat being that not everyone is ready to train like an athlete.
So what should training like an Athlete look like?
Well we firmly believe that there are 2 types of athlete:
Your sporting athlete
Your life athlete
By sporting we mean Athletics, GAA, Soccer, Rugby, Boxing etc etc
And the requirements of your gym training is to make you robust, durable and fit to perform your sport at the highest level without breaking down with injury and yet feeling like you can go toe to toe with anyone because you know you have done the work.
By life athlete we mean you may not be actively participating in sport but perhaps you once did, you may dabble in a bit of running, maybe you are a gym goer who wants more, wants to train hard but safe in the knowledge that you are doing things right but you like the finer things in life.
By that I mean you like to have the energy to play with your kids, to join in a 5 a side game if needed, maybe you play a bit of golf at the weekend.
You Look At The Bigger Picture
And want to remain as fit, strong, happy and healthy life long.
In order to do this what should your gym work consist of?
Let’s break it down into movements:
Squat patterns – the ability to bend at your knees using your quads, glutes and hamstrings
Lunge patterns – the ability to bend at your knees but one leg at a time, testing your balance In the process
Hinge – this is the ability to bend at your hips to pick something up without using your back too much instead focusing on the backs of the legs like the glutes and hamstrings. Use exercises like Deadlift and kettlebell swing variations BUT we careful we see most people doing more harm than good with no supervision or poorly qualified trainers (these should not be hurting the back in any way)
Horizontal Push – the ability to push something away from your chest eg Press Up or Bench Press using your chest, shoulders and your arms
Horizontal Pull – This is very important as we tend not to use the muscles involved enough. Dumbbell, Barbell or TRX rowing movements are great for using the upper back and shoulders along with your lats working underused muscles to balance your posture.
Vertical Push – the ability to lift something over your head – most people do not have the ability to do this safely because of modern lifestyles we round at the shoulders, flair at your ribs and potentially use your back when you should not – therefore this needs to be trained well using suitable exercises based on the individual
Vertical Pull – the major and most popularised exercise for this is the chin up or pull up and these are great bang for your buck exercises that people should strive to be able to do.
However the majority of people are either too weak or too heavy to do them and will need to do modified versions of them.
We see so much about core this and core that in the media these days but before you do any direct core work you need to test your ability to be actually able to carry something in both hands (2 heavy bags of shopping) or one hand ( a heavy suitcase). You should be able to carry half your own bodyweight for at least 30 seconds. A popular exercise for working on this is Farmers Carries or waiter carries.
As you can see from the above categories you are working on movements that transfer directly to real life situations whether that be pick up a child into your arms or pick a box from the floor and put into a high press, lift the couch up to clean under it.
We train our athletes and our general population (life athletes) clients using the same movement patterns but adjust the exercise, the sets, reps, intensities and times to suit the person based on their ability to do the movement safely but just like the sporting athlete you must train hard enough to be robust and durable to withstand the rigours of life, helping to feel fit and strong and feel happy and healthy.
Remember discomfort brings Growth in the mind and the body.