I have watched the change first hand in elite tennis. I have watched the change first hand in elite rugby. I have watched the change first hand in elite swimming.
And now I am watching the changes first hand in elite BMX, with elite skating and elite mountain biking.
The changes I am talking about are how those that compete in the above mentioned sports have become genuine Athletes.
In eras gone by many of the top competitors were ‘sports people’ – they were good at their sport.
They might have carried a little extra chubbiness, maybe weren’t that fast, or perhaps couldn’t run out of sight on a dark night, but they didn’t have to because there was a very good chance their main competitors couldn’t either.
Nowadays, things are different.
Being strong and powerful with an ability to endure extreme fatigue are no longer an advantage, it’s a prerequisite. It’s a fundamental, a foundation.
And we’re seeing it in every sport and every discipline.
Just as tennis players are almost spending as much time in the gym as on the court, rugby players are building strength and power as much as they practicing their scrums and lineouts so you should be building your body off the bike to improve your performance on the bike.
This month we’ll look at improving your performance by improving your Strength.
What Should My Strength Program Look Like?
Depending on your age you should be incorporating two to three sessions of strength training every week.
You should focus on basic exercises like squats, deadlifts, chin ups, push ups (while I do like the bench press most people do it incorrectly so I only prescribe once people know how to set up and perform it properly).
Learn to do the above exercises with perfect technique. No one should be getting an injury in the gym.
There should also be some trunk exercises (not sit ups!) in your program too.
To start off, aim for three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.
You should be able to complete every repetition without any assistance. If you can’t, the weight is too heavy.
Here’s a rule of thumb you should apply if you train in a commercial gym: If you can train for more than 45 minutes you aren’t training hard enough.
Do I Need Some Guidance?
Just as you should use a mechanic to help set up and repair your bike then you should have someone help and guide you in building your strength.
Ensure the person helping is qualified to do so.
Qualifications that don’t count:
· “She has been training a long time.”
· “He has big muscles.”
· “They’re stronger than me.”
Qualifications that are essential:
· A Degree – they have studied for three to four years, not three to four months.
· An Australian Strength & Conditioning Association accreditation (a Level 1 is adequate but a Level 2 or above is preferable).
· Ten years of industry specific experience (why would you want someone to make their early mistakes on you??)
Am I too Young?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is that it really depends on how knowledgeable and experienced your Strength Coach is – the greater the knowledge and experience the more they can help you.
As an example, I have 7 year olds training in my facility BUT their program looks VERY different to my elite and sub-elite athletes!
Here is a link to some more information if you’re worried about stunting growth or other myths: http://propelperform.com/myth-busting
Should I do CrossFit?
Grant Jenkins is a Physical Performance Coach who mainly works with extreme and action sport athletes. Check out his website www.propelperform.com or contact 0409 625 263.