Specific to your sport
I have great respect for people who play a sport, whether it at international level or just recreational. It’s obvious that the sport you enjoy is the one that you will pursuit and reach new heights and constantly trying to improve your performance! That shows a test of character in itself as I have mentioned in a previous blog. But I am not here to keep typing up compliments to all you sports people to make your heads and egos so big that they won’t fit through the front door, no no no I am actually going to talk about fitness to improve your game!
You may think that carrying out a sport is enough fitness and enough resistance for your muscles to grow and endurance to develop. But in fact when you subject your body to that specific sport you are putting it through a lot of stress which the body and mind haven’t been able to develop outside of the game. This can then result in injuries, less than peak performance, inability to correct posture through movement, inability to develop power endurance…bla bla the list goes on. Yea really giving you guys compliments now aren’t I!
This is why it is imperative to carry out sports specific workouts. Now sports specific just means you execute exercises related to your sport which will improve your game. So you don’t need head to the gym and carry out the standard exercises as some may not benefit you and your game. You need to develop each segment of your game and in order to do that you must carry out the correct exercises and intensities. If at this point you have no clue how to start out a work out plan related to your sport then you can build up a systematic plan such as the following:
1. Think about the fundamentals of the game.
2. Break your sport down – Think about which muscles are being used, how intense is it, what body positions are most used etc.
3. Is it an endurance based sport, or power or even both. You really need to think about the fitness levels of your game and how long it lasts for. If you are a rugby player then you need to build endurance, speed, power and agility, however if you are a sumo wrestler then you very much need power…..believe it or not!!!
4. Decide on the specific exercises you need to carry out which will benefit your muscles and you need to decide on the amount of sets, repetitions, rest periods, volume and frequency of training.
5. Do you have a friend, partner, family member or anybody else who plays that sport or a related sport who can train with you.
Above are 5 simple steps that you can follow to help you formulate a plan. Obviously you can always ask a coach to take you through the exercise sessions! But carrying out exercises outside of your game is important. This is where your muscles will get their training and practise in order to perform on the day. Think of it this way – Would you go in to an exam without revising? I know if you are a moody, rebellious teenager then the answer would be ‘ uhh yes’ but for anybody else you would revise right. So it is the same with carrying out your sport. With exercises outside your game you have that option of rest periods, planning, technique training and the choice of lifting heavy or light, whereas in the game you are straight in to the thick of it without all of these options. Due to this, your skeletomuscular system just doesn’t have the capacity to tolerate the forces placed on it. It’s outside the sport where your systems develop the resistance against external forces whether from the ground, person or object.
Let’s take an example of a sport where most people think you wouldn’t need to exercise for – Formula 1. Once again well done today Hamilton for winning! He must be carrying out sports specific work outs 😉 Think he reads my blogs!
Right anyway .. so in formula 1 people don’t realise how much g-force is being subjected to the drivers’ body. The faster the drivers go the more force is being applied especially to their neck, core and vertebrae. This over time can wear away the vertebrae and cause instability especially in their lumbar region. This then leads to other issues which we won’t dive in to today. Apart from the g-force action, think about the amount of times they are breaking, accelerating, constantly contracting their legs and core. These are only 2 aspects arising from a days race in a formula 1 car. So it only makes sense that you strengthen the musculature around joints. However, it cannot be any sort of exercise at any intensities! Formula 1 is a very endurance based sport with lots of forces being subjected on to core regions. So you need to be thinking about endurance, isometric workouts which will benefit the body.
So it’s not as easy as saying you can do a sport and be the best at it. To be the best at your sport you need to compliment it with specific workouts that will benefit your performance. I know for a fact that if you do that you will definitely improve.
Without elaborating any more about this topic, I want all of you who don’t do any extra exercises to go follow those 5 steps above and formulate a sports specific workout of your own. Yes granted it might take you hours or even days to work one out but it’s well worth it. I know it works, I have helped many people who participate in a sport and at different levels of the game too and they all say that doing specific workouts work!
Remember one thing – You don’t go in to an exam without revising!