The vast majority of athletes that we train on a weekly basis all tend to have the same issues that are holding them back from performing at the best.
While there are a lot to choose from, here are 3 of the most common issues that we see
1) THE ATHLETE HAS A MAJOR ISSUE OR RESTRICTION THAT THEY ARE IGNORING OR UNAWARE OF
Most of us have some type of issue or restriction in some area of our body- hips, ankles, upper spine (thoracic spine) etc. and these can be managed and improved with proper programming, mobility work and a good manual therapist.
But on a continuous basis we are seeing athletes training for marathons, iron-man triathlons, sprint triathlons, high level GAA matches, rugby (those tackles are ridiculously demanding and punishing on your body no matter what end of them you are on), cycling (which is one of the worst position to keep your body in for long periods of time) and other high demand sporting events. who have massive ongoing issues that they are completely ignoring and feeding into with the intensity and demands of their sport.
- Huge gaps when trying to touch their toes
- Unable to do pass most basic tests such as the hurdle step in the Functional Movement Screen (stepping over a rope set just below knee height)
- Unable to hold a plank for 30s
- Hyper-extended necks (cervical spine) which can cause very serious issues
- Postural muscles that are practically asleep and not doing their jobs. This leads to very stressful pressure on the joints of the body
- Previous injuries and operations- torn achilles tendons, heel spurs, dislocated shoulders, etc.
If this sounds like you and you continue to push your body through these issues without addressing them, it wont be long before your body puts a halt to your progress through pain or injury. I have seen a lot of amateur athletes recently who have been forced out of their sport, both short term and long term, due to ignoring there particular issues until it got so bad that they had to stop. This is a huge shame.
2) TERRIBLE STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROGRAMS
This is a huge factor we come across. An important point that you must understand is that when you are an athlete, your training in the gym must be 100% geared towards improving the qualities that your sport requires and fixing the issues that we mentioned in point 1 above.
For example, if you are a GAA athlete, some of the qualities you need to develop include:
- Shoulder and thoracic spine mobility to catch a ball from overhead
- Explosive leg power to take jump up for that ball, to accelerate explosively, etc
- The ability to decelerate and change direction quickly
- The ability to sprint repeatedly over short distances
If you class yourself as a serious athlete, and you should if your goals and sport include the activities mentioned above or similar, then you must forget about the pec-dec, bicep curling, random stretches that you just throw in at the end of your session, etc. and get a complete strength and conditioning program that is 100% designed for you, your goals and your sports.
3) YOUR LIFESTYLE DOES NOT SUPPORT THE DEMANDS OF YOUR SPORT
What are the demands of your sport?
- taking physical hits
- making sacrifices- eg. Staying off alcohol, staying in On weekends, not seeing your family and friends as often, etc.
To manage these demands, you must give your sports the serious attention it deserves if you have high goals. Your must organise your lifestyle to support you:
- get to bed at a decent time
- remove the processed foods from your diest
- get hydrated
- allow your body every opportunity to recover
- make time for the gym
- get regular physio/physical therapy sessions
- plan your budget to pay for competitions, equipment, courses, professional coaching, etc.
- manage your personal time to allow for all these important elements
As you can see, for those who take their goals and sport seriously, there is a lot more to it than just going out and practising your event. The athletes who realise this are always the ones who perform at their best consistently