Thursday, 15 September 2011

"Train like an athlete, look like a bodybuilder"

Take a look at any top 100m sprinter competing today and chances are they have the physique you dream of. Yet they don’t head to the gym and do endless sets of bicep curls and ab crunches! In this post I aim to show you the benefits of training for performance, like an athlete, yet reaping the benefits of looking great.
So what makes an athletes training routine different to your typical bodybuilders? An athlete would commonly train using a full body workout split or a push versus pull split. They would split the movement patterns into what the body does not what muscle group it is like a bodybuilder. Using a body part split is not only a thing of the past it’s completely non-functional. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with training using a body part split, I’ve used it myself many times and seen some good results from it, it just has a few major flaws.
 In my opinion the benefits from training using a full body split or an alternating push/pull day outweigh those of the typical chest on Monday, back on Tuesday kind of split. Let me explain, with full body training you can hit the muscle 2-4 times a week and the more you stimulate a muscle to grow, the more it will grow! Its also great if something pops up in your schedule and you have to miss a session, no problem as those muscles will still get trained in your next workout. Taxing a large amount of muscle in a session could also result in greater anabolic hormone stimulation, perfect for lean muscle gains. You’ll also get greater energy expenditure per workout again due the amount of muscle being hit in one session. This could mean three things, one you can skip that boring cardio, two you could eat more or three you can gain muscle whilst actually losing fat now who wouldn’t want that?
There are a few other key points that an athlete would abide by that we can incorporate into our training.
·         Each rep should be lifted explosively. This is a technique known as submaximal accelerative efforts. This hits the fast twitch (type 2) muscles fibres hard, which have most potential for growth and are responsible for lightening quick muscle contractions.
·         Train using free weights. Free weights not only improve strength but they help improve balance simply due to their unstable nature.
·          Don’t shy away from Olympic-style lifts. These could include lifts such as the power clean, snatch and jerk. They can improve your overall strength, power, balance and coordination. Now you can’t get more “bang for your buck” than that.
The last point I want to touch on is progression. However you train to see results you must progress each week by lifting more weight, completing more reps or shortening rest periods between sets etc.
Regardless of whether we compete in a sport we’re all athletes of everyday life, so why aren’t we training like them?...