There is a sucker born every minute. The fitness and strength training niche is one that is full of personalities loaded with guys/girls that want to make a splash simply by shaping your perception as to which training program is the best. Debates and internet forums are full of coaches that want to tell you which training methods are the so-called best and where your focus should be in regards to your training and your gains.
Where you should be physically is pretty simple. At the end of the day you should be strong and you should be able to move well…that is all. Aside from that any other physical extremes involving you being able to do such things as bend nails, to deadlift buildings, or to possess the ability to jump out of the gym is all more possible if BOTH movement and strength are emphasized.
One of the common trends I see concerning various coaches and strength programs online is that people tend to neglect to promote balance in their training. What I mean is that if you’re a football player looking to get stronger and you go and emphasize strength then you shouldn’t do so at the expense of the more dynamic qualities of your athleticism. You’ve got to be able to run, jump, cut, and move. I mean you can’t just go be a powerlifter for the sake of building strength and ignore your athletic needs.
The same thing can be said for other athletes on the other end of the spectrum. For instance, let’s say you’re a fighter looking to condition yourself for the ring. Yes, conditioning is vital, especially in the sport of Muay Thai or MMA, but if you’re emphasizing the element of conditioning at the expense of strength and speed movement then you’re limiting your performance in this way as well.
So what is the answer? Unless you are specifically a powerlifter, or purely an endurance athlete the answer is that you need a more hybrid strength and conditioning program that is balanced in training you for both strength and athleticism.
After cruising around the internet I’ve noticed that the push to get folks to enhance their athletic fitness is not too great. All I’m seeing is post after post on how to go about deadlifting a house, or how to lift a sh*t load of weight, period.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m the first guy that’s going to push for strength. I mean I love lifting heavy weight and lifting it well. However, I’m also a die hard proponent of building and fine tuning athleticism and to build athleticism you need to be dynamic in your training.
For instance, in addition to developing a powerful squat we can also implement double and single leg box jumps as I’m demonstrating here.
Now obviously the double leg box jump should be mastered first, but without even loading we can drastically intensify this movement by performing the single leg box jump as seen here. Just keep in mind that these should be performed with control and stability.
Box jumps should also be progressed by manipulating height, but there is no need to perform crazy ass 40 inch box jumps all the time to prove how high you can jump. There is a time and place for that, but by perfecting the technical aspects of a proper box jump by sticking a soft landing, flexing at the knees/hips, and landing softly you will gain greater control of this movement.
In addition to this you will notice that I’m not stampeding my jumps by jumping onto the box and then jumping off of the box. After each jump I simply step down and reset myself to perform the next jump. This is because the “set up” of performing each jump with precision and power is absolutely necessary in progressing into more intense jumps and mastering overall athleticism. It’s also about reducing stress on the joints as we want to stress quality in our training.
You have to be fit to perform these in a safe and respectable manner and I would always recommend consulting with a professional (preferable me!) before implementing a plyometric program. There is a progression, but the benefits are huge!
If you don’t have a box to perform these on then no worries because you can always just perform a standing long jump. For this one I’m jumping off of one leg and landing on BOTH. Check these out.
As you can see equipment is not necessary in order for one to develop athletic fitness. The key to building a more athletically fit body is all about adding in the dynamic nature of movements that will challenge you to create stability in different ways.
When performing these just make certain to stick your landing softly and to make sure that your knees don’t buckle inward on the landing. These are tremendous for helping you enhance your fitness and total body control.
You’ll soon notice that by stressing the dynamic quality of your training you’ll also benefit the pure strength side of your training. You will also notice that it will significantly play a role in enhancing your overall conditioning and recovery as well.
Take the time to enhance the development of your athletic fitness. I hope you enjoyed this post and please post up in the comments below to share your own experiences in developing your athletic fitness. Stay strong and keep training smart.
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