Maybe you tend to think of an athlete as a professional, or as someone who participates exclusively in running or marathons. But the term actually refers to anyone who is proficient in physical exercise. That’s quite a wide area.
You might have a certain degree of natural athletic ability, or you might have honed a particular proficiency. So let’s look at some of the different kinds of athletic ability and how to develop different areas for all-round, well-balanced fitness.
Stamina is about training your body to make the most efficient use of its energy supply. If you want to increase your athletic endurance, sticking to one routine with no variation isn’t the way to do it.
The best way is to mix it up by combining some cardio days with strength days. Use compound movements instead of only isolated ones and reduce the resting time between sets.
Strength training isn’t just about lifting heavier. Developing as an athlete is about a balanced approach that will build your base.
Speed is the result of more power, while explosive strength is about speed of muscle contraction. It’s not about either explosive strength or power, but about the combined effects of both.
We’ve already spoken about developing speed through strength, above, but agility can also be improved with sets of sprints or high intensity cardio with a few seconds of rest between – also called high intensity interval training or HIIT. Do the same using a skipping rope or do single foot hops.
Not only does flexibility improve your performance, but it also helps in preventing injuries. Add in some flexibility workouts, as part of your weekly routine, to help increase blood circulation and also ease mental tension. Yoga is good for athletes, too!
Sports-specific training needs the balance of participating in a wide variety of different exercises. This maintains your fundamental skill set and keeps you fit for life.
Planet Fitness offers facilities and classes around South Africa. Use the Club Locator or claim a free week trial here.