Strength and conditioning (S&C) for sports performance. We know it’s a super important block to be the best athlete you can be but there is a very common theme emerging amongst many athletes that simply doesn’t serve them.
Their are 2 main goals of any sports s & c program and they are to keep the athlete as healthy as possible and to make them a better athlete.
And these 2 important goals rely on the combined effect of many different areas including nutrition, strength, power, mobility, injury management, recovery and speed to name just a few things.
But what I see happening with a lot of athletes is that they are directing a huge amount of their efforts into getting as strong as possible at the expense of many of these other areas.
I’m talking here about track and field based athletes and not powerlifting, strongman, olympic lifting, etc. which are all great sports.
I had one of our clients mention recently that a lot of his team-mates are after getting huge and brutally strong but their athletic abilities have dropped massively. They added a lot of muscle mass and strength above that which they needed for their sport and never learned how to utilise it in a sport-specific way.
End result is that they are being left behind on the field by the athletes who are focusing on becoming better athlete within their chosen sport and not better athletes in another sport such as bodybuilding or powerlifting.
And don’t get me wrong, getting strong is super important for athletes as it is the foundation for developing athletic power but there comes a point when an athlete is strong enough and getting even stronger doesn’t serve his or hers best interests.
They hit the point of diminishing returns when building all that extra strength isn’t really the best use of their limited time. Sure, it’s fairly cool to be that strong but last time I checked you weren’t competing in a powerlifting contest!
What we aim for in our athletes are optimal strength levels and once we achieve them we focus our time and effort into learning how to express those strength levels as fast as possible which makes us powerful and fast, the hall marks of great athletes.
A very important point to also take into consideration is that most athletes simply don’t have a whole lot of time for gym work when you factor in work, family commitments, practicing their sport, etc. and therefore that time needs to be used smartly if you are to cover all bases.
And focusing it all on getting as strong as possible all of the time especially at the expense of the many other important aspects of a smart s & c program is the way to become the best athlete possible.
So get as strong as you need to be for your sport and then learn how to apply that strength within your sport. You’ll be a much better athlete if you do and it’s what all the cool kids are doing.