Holistic Exercise For the Whole Athlete

Many training regimens take a Body Part of the Day approach – maybe chests on Monday, backs on Tuesday, biceps and triceps on Thursday, and legs on Friday. Monday’s workout, for example, would focus on pushing exercises such as bench presses and pushups. That’s probably appropriate for bodybuilders and power lifters, but for everyone whose sport involves using the whole body, the whole body should primarily be exercised together. The body parts will work together more effectively – and more safely – if they’ve been trained together.

The individual-part focus persists partly because of the mistaken impression that the best athletes are the ones who look like muscled bodybuilders. That’s rarely the reality. Unless you’re, say, a football lineman, too much size can hinder your range of motion and your speed. A sports performance program that exercises the whole body in multiple planes of motion will be more effective for athletic performance and safety than four days that focus on isolated body parts.A 60- to 90-minute program that includes lifting, agility, quickness, and vertical jump on two days, with another two for general fitness and another two for specific sports skills, is optimal weekly preparation for most sports. The body develops the neuromuscular pathways – commonly called muscle memory – that enhance total performance in the sport. Overemphasis on bench press, for example, overlooks the fact that, except for weightlifting, no sport calls for bench presses. A comprehensive program will prepare the body to respond well to any challenge it faces on the field.

Questions for parents to ask trainers and sports performance coaches:

1. Do you think you can predict a person’s athletic ability by their appearance? How?

2. How many days a week does your program spend in the weight-room? Why?

3. Does the training program take more of a body-part approach or a whole-body approach?

The All-Age Performance Training System™:

The All-Age Performance Training System™ works on all aspects of sports performance training – strength, speed, agility, explosiveness, and balance – during each of two 60- to 90- minute workouts a week. These things are trained together quite simply because most sports require athletes to do these things simultaneously. Two other days are used for 30-60 minutes of fitness and endurance, and the system provides for two additional days to rest and recover or work on sport-specific activity.

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