As a former collegiate athlete, I see the value of a solid strength and conditioning program for performance. As a personal trainer to many clients over the years, I have found that incorporating athletic movements is not only motivating and fun, it is a great way to lose fat and gain overall strength.
Don’t take this to mean that everyone should train like a college football player. Training like an athlete can be modified based on the level of the participant, but the basis behind it is to perform large muscle group movements, lift heavier weights than you are normally used to and have an overall plan that cycles throughout the year.
Here are some specific details about developing your athletic movement training program:
1. Training like an athlete is FUN: Throwing medicine balls, pushing the Prowler, squatting, lunging, sprinting, performing barbell complexes and swinging the kettlebell are just some of the FUN movements that can be done to lose fat using large muscle groups. The exercises tax the muscular system and the cardiovascular system. Metabolism is elevated and this ultimately leads to fat loss.
2. Using Large Muscle Group Movements: Squats, lunges, push-ups, chin-ups and overhead pressing are often the cornerstones of athletic training programs. These exercises burn a huge amount of calories and develop an efficient metabolism.
3. Combine Training Goals: Each workout provides training for strength, power, conditioning, balance and flexibility. Try to avoid focusing on one goal or muscle group; instead, combine them for a more complete workout.
4. Lift Heavy Weights: Many people are scared to lift heavy for fear of “getting big.” Athletes need to lift heavy weights to develop strength and power. You must push the threshold of your body. Lifting heavy weights will not cause women to “get big.” Instead, it will create huge bursts in hormones, adrenaline and overall metabolism, which leads to fat loss and muscle gain.
5. Have a Training Plan: Athletes have a very structured training plan. The year is broken down into training cycles, depending on the season or event they are competing in. Creating long term and short term plans for training based on your goals is very important to keep you motivated and from over or under training. Training cycles should usually last 3-4 weeks to provide consistent progression for strength, fat loss and conditioning.
Take a look at your workout plan and shift your way of thinking about training. Athletes are strong and toned, have high levels of cardiovascular conditioning, can move efficiently and have low body fat percentages. Why would you not want to mimic their training programs?