Specific training leads to specific improvements, it also leads to specific weaknesses.
For example, many of our kickboxers experience elbow pain that is a direct result of the volume of elbow extension (punching & push ups) thankfully easily fixed with a few reverse curls. I have worked with many cyclists and triathletes, most of whom made great gains on the bike after stretching the quads/hip flexors and bringing up the hamstring strength.
The athletes mentioned had all trained specifically for a sport and their injuries/weaknesses were a direct result of this.
The majority of what we do here at Wild Geese falls under the banner of General Physical Preparedness or GPP. I only put people on specific programs at their request and most often because of a specific goal or event that is on the horizon.
The GPP training is the most important of all, for without it you don’t have the foundation from which to specialise. Think of the school system, as a we came up through school we gradually reduced the topics we studied going into ever more detail, right up untill the university where we can even take a subtopic of what we studied earlier.
Your sports and fitness life should be no different. Build a wide base of skills and abilities in balance, only then go into detail on one particular area.
In doing so you will have strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, stamina and coordination. You will have the ability to go into whatever sport you wish with confidence or when you move into a specific training program on the run up to an event, you should have no weaknesses waiting to trip you up.
You’ll be less at risk of that groin strain on the soccer pitch, that hamstring pull on the track or gassing in the ring.
You’ll be better able to maintain a high skill level in the face of fatigue, you’ll have enough power to finish strong in a race or make that last tackle.
A well rounded GPP program will cover:
- Hypertrophy (optional)
- Muscular balance
- Intra Muscular Coordination
- Identifying and eliminating weaknesses
- Cardio-Vascular efficiency
- Core strength
I’ll tell you now that most programs being followed in most gyms don’t cover half of this list. The most common issues I see on a daily basis are:
- Weak Glutes & Hamstrings
- Tight Hip Flexors & Quads
- Weak core, specifically low back
- Weak upper back
- Tight Chest (pecs)
- Tight Upper Traps
- Improper breathing patterns
I’ve trained martial artists, Rugby players, Soccer Players, Triathletes, GAA players, Runners and Cyclists as well as general office types. And this list applies in the majority of cases.
It makes sense then that your GPP program must include a LOT of work for the rear of the body. That means Pull Ups, Bent Over Rows, Deadlifts, Bridges and of course the major Kettlebell lifts (Swing, Snatch, Clean)
Round out your training and you’ll see your performance and physique jump forwards.
P.S. There is a Kettlebell Lifting Workshop taking place at Wild Geese on December 4th, details in the side bar.
PPS The Wild Geese Boot Camp training program has been written up into a PDF manual with highly detailed photographs and suggestions for personalising the training. The eBook is being edited and should be ready for release in early December. Watch this space.