Redefining a “Fitness Program”
Weight training is not a fitness program.
It’s part of a program. That is, if you aspire to be better average.
It doesn’t matter if it is MMA, Rugby, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding or Badminton, you’re still a form of athlete. An athlete can’t just get by adding weight to a movement, there’s more to it than that.
Think about it, the average athlete probably spends five hours of their week training – 3% of the week. The other 97%? Probably sitting on their ass – reading this, in the car, at work, at university, in a chair watching TV. We spend hours upon hours sitting. Leading to muscle imbalances, faulty movements patterns, poor posture, weakness, pain and poor performance.
Ideally we would take preventative measures by looking for an alternative to sitting all day, such as standing. As well as living a whole different lifestyle, which is more “natural”. However this is obviously impractical therefore we must constantly work on fixing the side-effects of this way of living.
Just adding weight, movement and loading to the structure isn’t the key. To have a complete program you must address all these areas:
1. Warm Up (movement preparation)
This is a process of undoing that other 97% of your day – mobilising the hips, developing range of motion, activating the glutes, and re-gain correct posture and movement. Going into training without proper movement patterns is dull, it hardly makes the training worthwhile, as you’ll only be teaching your body to move poorly, in an inefficient and weak manner. Click here for my approach to warming up.
2. Resistance Training
3. Prehabilitation and Balance (injury prevention)
There are usually a lot of areas of weakness which are common amongst most individuals – poor thoracic mobility, core weakness, overdeveloped anterior shoulders and pectorals, weak upper back, tight hips, lack of glute strength. Firstly, you must identify these imbalances or faulty movement patterns, which everyone will have in some form or another.
Then they must be targeted through correct exercise selection and/or mobility drills. You cannot be ignorant to this. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Sometimes you need to take a backwards step, fix your imbalances and then come back stronger, before the injury gets you first.
4. Core Stability
You need to train the core for stability, both directly and indirectly. Compound movements such as deadlifts, squats, cleans form the foundation, but supplement them with a couple of direct exercises. Particularly focus on rotational core exercises as they are VITAL for almost all sporting actions, yet often underused.
5. Skill Training
Master your endeavour/play your sport. Simple, yet too many people miss the point of training, if you want to improve your sporting performance act like it. Train like your an athlete in your sport, not like a bodybuilder. If you want to be a bodybuilder, just be a bodybuilder!
Skill training should be prioritised over everything else if you’re a real athlete.
You need to mobilise, stretch and foam roll, at the bare minimum. Recover faster = train harder. Move better = Perform better.
7. Energy Systems Training
Train the energy system which is required for proficiency in your sport/ area. This doesn’t mean long constant cardio, unless that’s your sport.
Implement strongman training, sprints, sled drags, complexes, conditioning sports, rowing or whatever you feel will benefit you most. This doesn’t need to be boring. Even if your goal doesn’t directly require any conditioning, you will indirectly benefit in someway. For example, a powerlifter having a higher work capacity for training is always a massive bonus.
Your nutrition program should be inter-woven with your training program, this goes without saying. It doesn’t matter if it is composition or performance based goal. There is no need to eat the same amount of food in a overload/ overtraining phase as there is in a rest phase.
I could double this list, with lifestyle factors, stress management, psychology, etc… but the goal here is outline the importance of taking a more holistic approach to your training. Like anything, the more factors you manipulate towards your goals, the easier and quicker you will obtain them. What other factors you think are vital to a fitness program (comment below)? I’d massively appreciate any likes, shares and awesome people to follow my social media! Thanks all.