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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Training Like an Athlete-Part II: The "Competitive" Athlete

By: Joel Luedke


A couple weeks ago we wrote the first part of this article, 'Training Like an Athlete-Part I: The 'Everyday' Athlete' and highlighted some of the majors things you need to focus on when you're training that hard.   It isn't always about just going harder, it's about having an plan and a well rounded program.  In this article we dive deeper into what training like a competitive athlete and what areas might get overlooked.


Plan for the Macro, Adjust the Micro
We truly believe you need to have a plan for your training.  For most the means you need an annual plan, for some that means looking at 4 years.  It is important to create this plan around competitive seasons, major events and other highlights of the year.  This allows you to look at where you can peak your training, where you can recover and also where you can maintain.  Without this plan you can be lost in your training programs.

While it is important to have the big picture laid out it is a guide, not an end all be all of your training.  You may have to and probably should adjust on the micro phases of the annual plan.  Even in the most perfectly crafted program things don't always play out that way.  Injuries, life events and other issues come up that can positively or negatively effect your training.   Being ok with these changes is important and to not let them throw you off your bigger plan and know that at certain times things need adjusting and that you can always get back on track.

Mobility and Correctives
Work in the weight room is about more than just picking up heavy things and putting them back down.  While that I important and play into the development of the athlete it does little good if you  aren't able to move your body through full planes of motion.  You have to work on mobility and be able to let your body take the stress of change in motion and extreme body positions.  Make this an area of focus.

Along with having improved mobility there are also areas that leak energy that could potentially lead to injury down the road.  This is where we focus on 'corrective' exercises to help address areas of potential injury and get ahead of a problem.  They can be simple and built right into the program but a few minutes each workout will be worth it in the long run.

Conditioning & Strength (not always Strength & Conditioning)
Often referred to 'strength and conditioning' the conditioning part often takes second and can even be non-existent.  The conditioning portion of training is of paramount importance.  While strength is extremely important the ability to move and stabilize is equally important if not more.  This is not an area that you can neglect and if you do it can set you up for injury or at least decreased performance.  Start at the basics and move up to the speed and sport-specific training.  Becoming a better, more well rounded athlete is the first start to improving your sport.

Rest, Recovery and Nutrition
In the first article we mentioned the other 22 hours of the day.  That doesn't change for this type of training, it gets taken to the next level.  
Rest: You have to get minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep.  Not just sleep but good quality sleep that allows your body to regenerate.  This is 1a. of the tops things that needs to be a priority to keep your body running at high capacity.  (LINK: 5 Hacks for Better Sleep)
Nutrition: This is part 1b.  This isn't to say you have to have perfect nutrition all the time and eat completely clean food at all times.  What it does mean is that you need to eat enough food.  If you are under consuming your calories it will lead to decreased energy, reduced recovery, and potentially injury.  We find a lot of people undercut and by quiet a bit, use a calculator or get your calories expenditure measured to get the best idea.
Recovery: This is an area you should focus on and brings in the areas of foam rolling, cold plunge, graduated compression and a whole host of other ideas to help your body get ready for the next workout.  There is a lot of things you can implement for not a lot of money so don't get carried away or feel the need to but also don't neglect this area at all.

There is a lot to take care of with training but when it is put into a system it can all be managed and work to your overall benefit.  Happy training.

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