With weightlifting and core exercises proving to be effective ways to improve your physique and get fit, an athletic workout has presented a whole new level of strength training. Regular bodybuilding improves your physique by shedding away fat and putting specific muscles under varying stresses. On the other hand, athletic training amps up the usual sets and weight to increase the performance for people who play sports.
Training for athletics and training for size have some important differences that you should understand. If you plan to train for either, you need to use the best methods that could get you the results that you want. The vast majority of those who are involved in athletics would spend some time during the off-season and, in some cases, during the on-season as well, in the weight room. Building up muscle tissue helps them with their power, speed, blocking ability and even agility and flexibility, depending on the training you wish to undertake.
If you are aspiring to have that athletic body, then you should prepare your body not only for intense workouts, but also for the mental fortitude needed to get you to the level you have always desired. Although this sounds all too much, being athletic can come easier by following these tips to make your muscle build-up program a little more manageable.
Pre-Workout Routine is Key
You might have heard this before, but the things that you do before the actual workout is as important as what you would do during the actual session. Pre-workout stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. You also need the flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints during your workout. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tighter. As such, when you call on the muscles for activity, they tend to become weak and unable to extend all the way. This puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. You need all the comfort you can get for that intense training that comes after.
The next thing to take note of is nutrition. The food you take before your workout can make or break not only your performance in the gym, but also in your planned gains of those rock-solid muscles. The first few things that generally come to mind when thinking about nutrition are the term “whey protein,” “creatine” and of course, the notorious “post-workout anabolic window.” There’s no question that your post-workout nutrition is critical to your success.
However, what many people often overlook is the vital importance of pre-workout nutrition for long-term muscle-building goals. A sound nutrition regimen, if followed correctly, can help you experience dramatically noticeable gains in muscle size and strength. To visualize the importance of pre-workout supplementation, picture your body running on an empty stomach while training. You may feel a little sluggish and your performance may suffer. If you’re lucky, you may still achieve a little bit of a pump. Then again, what you may not realize is that you’re experiencing a dual negative effect.
As a general rule, your pre-workout nutritional regimen should be broken down into two phases. The first phase consists of having a meal one to two hours before working out (depending on your metabolism). The second phase takes place 15 to 30 minutes before working out and consists of supplements that you should consume to further fuel your workout. For best pre-workout supplements, you can check the best ones in the market at http://supplementyouneed.com/top-5-best-pre-workout-supplements/ and get the ones that you need for your program.
Start Pumping with Cardio Exercises
Cardio exercises, as the name implies, primarily trains the cardiovascular system. It makes your heart a more efficient machine, which is important for your sport and for long-term health. You can maximize the positives and minimize the negatives of cardio by following one simple rule: Make your cardio exercises specific to your sport. Try to simulate the endurance demands that your sport places on your body by keeping the work-to-rest ratio similar.
Ditch the steady-state cardio workouts and start a more structured strength, power and anaerobic fitness routine. In order to gain maximum strength and muscle, you need to move heavy weight, and increase the load and intensity of the workouts. Lift heavy and work out hard for short bursts of time – pushing your body harder, but for short durations. Cardio is necessary, thus upgrading slow steady-state cardio for intensive cardio gets the heart rate high and keeps it there for a short time, followed by an equal amount of recovery time.
It is suggested that you use the heaviest weight that you can manage to lift with correct form for a total of 5 repetitions. Focus on the large muscle groups that function as prime movers, such as quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, and back. Alternate cardio days with sprint intervals at 85% of you max heart rate (220 – your age), and use a heart rate monitor to ensure you’re working at the correct intensity.
Interval running is a good way to complement your cardio exercise. It consists of intense running or sprinting for short distances, followed by walking or complete rest. For instance, you can mimic the energy demands of football by doing an exercise intensely for 3-5 seconds and follow it with 20-40 seconds of rest. This is like the format of a game, where you work hard during a play, and then have a short recovery period before the next play.
Pushing or pulling a weighted sled is also a great way to prepare for the conditioning needs of sports like football and wrestling. It’s especially great to do it in a group of four to six athletes. One athlete can push (or pull) the sled a short distance. He or she can then recover while the other athletes take their turn. Repeat 10-12 times or alternate a push set with a pull set.
Choose 8 to 12 exercises that engage a variety of muscle groups. Perform 10 reps of an exercise, and then partially recover while moving to the next station/exercise. Repeat the circuit after a long rest period.
Never Skip Leg Days
All strength and power sport athletes need to develop high levels of leg strength for optimal performance. Leg strength contributes to speed, power, balance and agility, key components in almost all sports. Traditional resistance training programs typically overlook single-leg exercises due to their difficulty and awkwardness. This is unfortunate because single-limb training is extremely important in developing sport-performance skills, as well as being of assistance in the development of muscle size and strength.
In addition to training sport-specific muscle actions, the advanced athletic leg-training program is highly demanding on sport-specific energy systems. Therefore, a high-volume of training combined with short inter-set rest intervals can be used as a metabolic conditioning aid and for the alteration of body composition.
Most of the programs you’d see for legs are strictly for mass building or putting up powerlifting numbers. These workouts serve their purpose, and if your goal is to get bigger or put up huge numbers, go for it
Increase the volume, use eccentrics, hit those higher reps sets and don’t waste precious energy on anything else. Lunges diagonally, backward and to the sides can help the lower muscles be trained completely. Bench extensions and 1-leg squats can help improve muscle power in the legs.