Training for Performance

I’ve recently trained a wide range of clients wanting very different results, but they are all linked in one way without them even realising! We all train for better performance no matter what it is we do. I’ve trained marathon runners, tri-athletes, cyclists, clients wanting to build muscle and those that just want general fitness and a weekly push in the right direction. Whether you want to become a stronger cyclist, a quicker runner or just to have a healthier heart, lungs and rest of the body, the first thing you need to do is train to cater for what you do! This is where so many people go wrong. For example, if you are a sprinter, you wouldn’t train by running marathons, you would perform speed drills and power exercises for short bursts.

I recently played a round of golf (which was long overdue!) and I realised how much the sport is based around technique and flexibility. If you get both right, the power seems to come naturally. The twisting motion of a golfer needs a lot of core strength, especially the sides(obliques). This made me think about sports in general and what we do to train for them. The more I thought, the more questions I came up with. After playing football for so many years, the obvious thing was to relive the training I had taken part in day after day and question its methods. One example is; a footballer is constantly on the move but it is not all one paced, there are changes in speed and direction. Obviously endurance is necessary but why are so many teams pre-seasons based around long, one paced runs for miles on end. How many footballers run at the same pace continuously for a full 90 minutes? So is this kind of training necessary? One question that really stands out in my mind is…If most football matches are played at 3pm, why do English clubs train at 10-10.30am? A lot of european clubs have been known to train at the time a match would be played, helping the body get used to performing to the best of its ability at that time of day. So why do we insist on doing things differently? Is it small details like this that prevents us being the best at a national level? Do we do enough homework about the sport we play and how to achieve success?

It’s not just about sport, it’s about those that want general fitness. You might think “How can you train for performance when it’s general fitness?” Well, when you are training for general fitness, your performance is your every day life and the functional movements you do with every step you take or every time you stretch to pick something up off the floor. The majority of people don’t play a sport, so training to stay fit and healthy in a functional manner is key. Flexibility is so important, especially later in life when bones start to fuse and muscles get used less and tighten up. So with this in mind, when we exercise why do so many people neglect stretching the body before and after a workout? It is so important to stretch straight after a workout to prevent the muscles tightening up and losing flexibility in the long run.

So next time when you enter the gym, park or even your own front room for a workout, think about what you want to get out of it and what the main reason is for you exercising. Once you understand why you are exercising, then you can train specifically for what you need, to enhance performance.