While it is true that to perfect a sport-specific skill, it must be practiced repeatedly and with precision - "perfect practice makes perfect" as the saying goes - it is also important that all areas of fitness are challenged. Simply put, you can be an athlete just by participating in a sport. But to improve your game, you must do more than ONLY that one sport.
Whether you're getting active for the first time by joining your company's kickball league, looking to move from the middle of the pack to winning an age group award at the next race, or trying to make it to the regional tennis competition, you will need three things:
Through high-intensity intervals, I help my clients improve stamina by gradually working them towards longer periods of work and shorter periods of rest. For highly dynamic sports that require explosive movements, such as sprinting or tennis, we do shorter intervals at "threshold". That's trainer geek-speak for going from aerobic to anaerobic exercise, where 10-30 seconds of an activity will cause lactic acid to accumulate, creating that fun deep burn that we love and know so well. This burning goes away after a few moments of rest. By working through this burn we can train the body to withstand higher levels of lactic acid. This level of activity typically involves "fast-twitch" muscle fibers, which are exactly what we use when we sprint, jump, or do explosive lifts. Improving stamina helps my weight-loss clients optimize their burn for their buck, and helps my athletes outlast their opponents in a game.
Stability is a concern for athletes who must move quickly in multiple directions. It is also a concern for clients prone to joint issues or rolling their ankles. By having clients perform resistance exercises that require balance, we work the "big mover" muscles (such as glutes, quads, chest and back) while also challenging the smaller stabilizer muscles. Exercises on the BOSU ball activate all the little muscles on the lower half of the leg, like the Tibialis anterior and Fibularis, two of the muscles with tendons that cross the knee and the ankle. A strong Tibialis anterior can help prevent "shin splints" while a strong Fibularis can help prevent ankle rolls.
For flexibility training, I address the client's needs by first determining if they are stretching, what stretches they perform and how often. There are conflicting studies on the effectiveness of stretching, but in my experience with running, rock climbing, lifting, dog-walking, child-bearing... you get the idea... stretching usually helps me feel as though I am recovering quicker from strenuous effort versus when I forget to stretch. It is important to note here that stretching won't prevent soreness. However, what flexibility training can do is help improve and maintain posture by relieving the tension of the muscles we just worked. Through that release of tension, we help the muscle return to it's normal length and take pressure off of its point of origin. By teaching my clients a variety of stretching techniques, we can also prevent future injury. The tighter a muscle is, the shorter it is, causing it to be more prone to injury the next time it must be exerted against a force. Lastly, it's just a really nice way to wrap up our workouts. My clients know I love to stretch with them, and it gives us an opportunity to talk about the workout and plan for the next one.
So whether you or someone you know is starting a brand new activity, or looking to take that competitive edge to the next level, consider how a personal trainer can help you reach your goals. I take the guesswork out of getting fit, and assign workouts that will compliment a variety of sport-specific training programs. Stamina, stability and flexibility are key components of nearly every sport and activity, and I have the tools and education to help those interested in improving these crucial components of fitness.
Contact me today to get started!