Train Like An Athlete, Even If You Are Past Your Prime
At Garage Strength, we work with a lot of clients who have stopped their athletic careers. They may have aged out, had kids, or just got caught up in other facets of life. A lot of times, these veterans miss training like athletes. They want to train like an athlete to reap all the benefit within their lifestyles.
For instance, by doing a lot of jumps, explosive work, and things that help people build coordination and be more athletic, people are able to build an overall healthy lifestyle. This is an important factor that needs to be kept inside of training. But as people age, they need to be more specific about their warm-ups and more in tune with their body.
1 & 2. Nice Solid Warm-Up With Bilateral And Unilateral Exercises
The first exercise we recommend to perform in the warm-up is a banded single leg RDL. The movement with the band requires a little pull and requires balance. This movement targets the posterior chain, wakes up the hamstrings, requires a hip-hinge, and is performed unilaterally. The unilateral movement gives feedback to the athlete to get an idea of what is tight, how they feel, and where they are at. Perform this movement for three sets of seven to nine reps on each side.
Now in between, perform an easy bilateral movement. An easy bilateral movement is a squat with a jump. Get good depth with the full foot entirely in contact with the ground. Perform a nice little hop at the top of the squat. Do this for five to seven reps, then rest for maybe thirty seconds, and go back into the band work with the single leg RDL.
This will get the blood flowing, the heart rate up, and give the feeling of being nice and elastic getting into the athlete-based workout.
3. Do The Easier Dynamic Movement First
We believe doing an easier dynamic movement first is important. We like to have clients hold a band and do a single-leg lateral jump over a mini-hurdle. Clients will perform the unilateral plane from both sides. This will build greater coordination. The movement will also get the body off-balance and correcting for that loss of balance.
Work through two to three sets at a lower intensity. By the fourth and fifth sets, the body will start to feel GOOD. This primes the body to be able to then perform the higher-end, more complicated movements that help people feel really explosive.
4. Make The 2nd Exercise The Most Difficult Exercise For The Workout
This exercise is the most difficult. We love using hurdle hops. Hurdle hops are a difficult exercise and movement. Hurdle hops make clients feel like absolute-machines.
The hurdles can be set up from three to five hurdles set up in a row. The goal is to be coordinated and react quickly. A key factor while working through hurdle hops for four to six sets, try to react quickly and land softly. A good cue when doing jumping movements, and trying to feel more athletic, be quiet on the feet like a ninja.
We do the most difficult movement second because the body will be warmed-up, potentiated, and capable of executing as well as one possibly can.
5 & 6. Finish With An Easier Ballistic Movement & Recovery
A ballistic movement involves throwing something. People can do medicine ball throws for height, med ball throws into the ground or wall, or swing a sledgehammer. We really like to have clients do dumbbell snatches. We will have them do three to five reps to each side over four to five sets. Make sure the ballistic movement doesn’t beat the body up, it feels strong and athletic, and explosiveness is a focal point.
The last thing that needs to happen to train like an athlete is to take recovery seriously. Make sure to be eating well (one gram of protein per body weight, good carbs, healthy fat) and get into the sauna a few days out of the week. Doing this will help older athletes feel healthy and continue to coordinate rapidly.
Any age range can train like an athlete. Athletes are explosive, perform unilateral and bilateral movements, and demonstrate coordination through a wide range of movements. Training like an athlete is easier than people think. Utilize a simple dynamic warm-up that alternates bilateral and unilateral movements. Make sure the first movement in the workout is achievable but does an excellent job of priming the body for the next exercise. The next exercise, the second one, will be the most difficult movement performed in the workout. It will require the most coordination, athleticism, and explosiveness to perform. From there, end the workout with a ballistic movement and make sure to put a premium on recovery once done. Do this and run circles around the other athletes participating in rec leagues, chasing children around the yard, or just feeling better internally.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.