6 Steps To Train Like An Athlete
6 Steps To Train Like An Athlete
Training like an athlete can involve high-rates coordination with technical coordination movements, like a dumbbell snatch. Absolute strength movements, like a back squat, can be done within reason. Dynamic trunk control work can be trained at slow speeds with a focus on stability, squeezing through the abs while holding a stable foot or we can even do explosive work with a hydroweight going side to side. Either way, the focus will be on dynamic trunk control so that the body isn’t collapsing all over the place. Training dynamic trunk control will help with abdominal and back strength so that when things are being picked up around the house or in the yard better control is maintained to prevent random injuries that occur as aging sets in.
We can even train plyometric work by keeping it simple at a tempo, pace, and ability that is right for age and capability. Want the hurdles higher because you’re explosive? Raise the hurdles! Not feeling too snappy? Lower the hurdle. It is just important to use plyometrics to improve overall athletic ability at an older age.
We can even do speed training so that we can continue to beat our 11-year-old children, nieces, and nephews doing sprints in the backyard or at family get-togethers. Beating children in sprints is important to continue growing that ego; I know from experience. As we age, we also need to prioritize our nutrition just like athletes. As we age, we need to do simple mobility exercises to stay limber like athletes.
Everything mentioned is important and key to training like an athlete. If you are a trainee between the ages of 30 to 50, or even older, we must train like athletes because it is fun and enjoyable. Our bodies can handle it as long as we take it to step by step with a logical progression.
At Scale: Plyometrics
It is incredibly important to implement plyometrics at the appropriate scale relative to capability. It is similar to training young athletes. We don’t just throw kids into doing crazy jumps, hurdle hops, or stair jumps. Not at all. We build them up.
Training high rates of coordination transfers over to regular life. If we slip, we can still brace ourselves. A movement like simple bunny hops will help with developing a faster rate of coordination. If you feel confident as an older athlete, more pliable, or feel stronger, do bounds to train high-speed coordination. But remember, do it at your speed and your tempo so you don’t risk injury.
Unstable-object-based training is great in a warm-up, making things more complicated, and increasing the body’s rate of coordination. At Garage Strength, we like to use balance pads and we particularly like to use PVC pipe walks.
On the balance pad standing on one leg, we can work through different positions like a hip lock or an airplane. The balance pad in unstable positions will raise the body temperature and challenge athletic ability at an older age.
Technical coordination movements, like a hang power snatch, can be looked at as a challenging mental drill. The more precise and the more efficient we become with the movement the greater we challenge ourselves mentally. Not only will that help us as athletes, but it will also help us stay sharp in the space between the ears.
Absolute strength work is cool. But as we age, high rep hypertrophy work is even cooler. Getting blood flow and increasing mechanical tension leads to more stable joints and a healthier overall body.
We still want to push heavy weights with our legs (squatting) and with our arms (bench pressing). But we also want to chase a pump. No need to go heavy when doing curls for the upper body. The idea is to feel stable. No need to kill yourself with weight selection, just try to get 30 to 35 reps, burn a lot of calories, and feel good.
We can do hypertrophy leg-based training as well. It will lead to healthier knees and bigger quads. The other big payoff is a ton of calories will be burned as well.
As we age, we can still do high-speed movements that focus on dynamic trunk control, like tornado lunges with a hydroweight.
DTC, or dynamic trunk control, can improve falling mechanics. Superior DTC will improve the way you brace. Having decent dynamic trunk control helps you when you fall unilaterally or bilaterally. Not having trunk control we will collapse in our hips, stumble, and fall further forward. As an athlete, DTC training helps with agility for athletes, but as we age DTC training helps us avoid tripping and falling and anything along those lines that can lead to catastrophic injuries like a broken hip.
A lot of times as we age we stop sprinting. We are no longer playing sports and feel no need to run. The thing is running sprints is extremely healthy; it has even been shown to increase testosterone if done regularly. Sprinting is a primal feeling of exercise that is imperative as we age.
Sprinting also helps with staying limber. It helps the hips be more mobile and it helps with DTC. It also really helps with a stumble reflex. Imagine walking along and your foot gets stuck. The stumble reflex means the front foot goes forward. It is a reflex that is trained just by sprinting just like the cross-extensor reflex. Now I’m not saying to train to trip over, but I am saying that sprinting will keep the body firing quicker and help with not tripping.
A big part of training like an athlete is recovering like an athlete. We have to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves, participating in mindfulness, focusing on our nutrition, and working through mobile positions. We need to be doing things that make us feel better.
Ultimately, we can all train like athletes as we age. It comes back to being patient, learning, and slowly increasing the load as training improves. With exercises that require a high rate of coordination, it is important to take it slowly as we build into higher speeds to prevent injuries. Yes, we want to train like athletes but it isn’t about peaking in the athletic realm. Instead, it is about having fun, being healthy, and being stable.
Keep pushing yourself, but do it within your limitations. Don’t go crazy. Enjoy your training. And that is what it is all about training like an athlete as we age: make it enjoyable!
Yo, It's Dane
Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!
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