Athletes want to get stronger and faster, but they also want to be better at the sports/activities they love. This article isnâ€™t intended for one specific sport, but for people who love to do a little bit of everything. A great athlete is someone who excels at almost everything they do, and while a bit of natural talent helps; you need to have a different mentality when you train. Most of us if are not training for something specific, but want to be better at everything we do. So, if you want to be a stronger basketball, tennis and soccer player, maybe throw in some badminton and swimming now and then, but also be a killer mountain biker and skier, this article is for you.
Being stronger will help you be a better athlete, but you donâ€™t want to compromise athletic ability for strength. If youâ€™re a basketball player and you put on 20 pounds of muscle, but lose your good shot, youâ€™ve gone in the wrong direction. You can stick with whatever exercises you like and enjoy, but itâ€™s very important you donâ€™t neglect your core and leg strength. Donâ€™t get caught up worrying about how much you can bench press compared to other people in the gym, focus on more dynamic exercises.
Grab a buddy and toss the medicine ball back and forth. Get on the cables or grab some bands and do some exercises that involve twisting. Try some Olympic type exercises that use the whole body instead of spending 20 minutes doing curls. For explosive leg strength, head to an open area and do some plyometric exercises. In the end, you want to be stronger, but not awkwardly bulky.
A key aspect of being a good athlete is having great flexibility. Not only does it help to prevent injury, but it also helps you maintain and increase your athletic ability, especially as you get older. Try a yoga class or get on the floor and do the old routine you used to do in high school. The important thing is that you spend time stretching.
Donâ€™t let yourself be satisfied with 5 to 10 seconds down to your toes, the key to becoming more flexible is holding those positions. Try to get a little deeper into your stretch as you exhale and do each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Becoming more flexible will help you increase your range of motion and ward off the threat of becoming bulky and clumsy as you strength train.
All athletes would like to be able to do what they love longer without feeling fatigued. The best way to increase your endurance for a certain sport or activity is to do that activity! Iâ€™m amazed sometimes at how I can be in great biking and basketball shape only to go skiing early in the season and feel the burn way too early! So in addition to the myriad of exercises that increase your cardio, thereâ€™s no replacement for doing exactly what you love more often!
Balance and Agility
Great athletes have great footwork, hand/eye coordination, are nimble and make everything they do look effortless. Try to use exercise balls in the gym to stimulate your core and balance muscles and donâ€™t be afraid to look goofy. Stand on one foot while you do curls, try to do a standing squat with one leg, anything you can do to put yourself off-balance.
For great agility training, get out the footwork ladder and remember those plyometrics. Try to incorporate two things at once; throw a lacrosse ball back and forth with a buddy while you do karaokeâ€™s or play soccer after you just worked out. If you can do it while youâ€™re tired, you can do it better fresh for sure!
As I said before, being a great athlete is a combination of many things. Get stronger, faster, more in tune with your body, and most importantly do what you love more often and youâ€™ll see awesome improvements in your game!
About the Author
Cooper is passionate about health, fitness & blogging. When he’s not working out he writes about Velashape, cooking and a myriad of other topics. He’s also active with Sono Bello on Twitter and Sono Bello on Facebook.