Every athlete or sports person knows how important physical fitness is to his/ her performance. It is an undisputed fact that better physical fitness leads to better athletic performance.
But will improving your general fitness help you become really great at your sport? The short answer is – not necessarily.
While improving your general fitness levels can help improve your performance, to become a top-level athlete or sportsperson, you need sports specific fitness training, not just general fitness training.
If all this seems a bit confusing to you, don’t worry. In this article, I will explain what exactly you need to do to take your sports performance to the next level.
But first, to make it easier for you to understand, let me explain the difference between improving your general fitness levels and improving your sports related fitness.
When you join a gym and start working on your fitness, your trainer usually focuses on 5 key areas – your muscular strength, your cardiovascular endurance, your muscular endurance, improving your overall flexibility and finally, your body composition – which translates to the proportion of muscle and fat in your body. All these aspects are important in making you a fit and healthy person.
General fitness helps you lead a healthy and more fulfilled life. It improves your body functions, helps reduce chances of illnesses and injuries, helps fight the negative effects of stress and, on the whole, makes you a lot happier.
General fitness also plays an important role if you are an athlete or a sportsperson. A good athlete needs to work on all these elements on a consistent basis to maintain or improve his/ her performance levels.
However, many athletes tend to hit, what is known as, a performance plateau in their careers. This is when they are unable to make any significant progress in their sport, despite focusing on their fitness and practicing regularly. While this can sometimes happen due to psychological factors, in most cases, it is their physical fitness that keeps them from achieving their best.
So, how can you avoid this performance plateau and achieve your dream of becoming a top-level sportsperson?
This is where sports specific fitness comes in.
What is Sports Specific Training?
To get to the top in any sport, you need to be able to meet the physical demands of that sport. This means that you will need to continually look at developing physical attributes such as agility and power in addition to focusing on skills specific to that sport.
Sports specific fitness will help improve areas that are critical to success in your particular sport – whether it is agility, balance, co-ordination, endurance, power, explosive strength or speed.
Want to See Real Improvement? Pick the Right Trainer
Wrong training strategies can do more harm than good to your sports performance. Good sports performance is as much about co-ordination between muscle groups as it is about strength and speed. An expert sports specific fitness trainer will have a thorough understanding of the dynamics that go into each sport movement and will focus on training the muscles that help in that particular movement. Training the wrong muscle group might actually hamper your progress.
So, when an expert sports specific fitness trainer creates a programme for you, he/ she will take into account everything, from the target muscle groups and movements, to the energy system you operate in while playing your sport.
Which Energy System Best Suits Your Sport, And Why is This important?
There are 3 energy systems that determine how energy is stored and utilised by the body during a sport or athletic event. These are called Phosphagen, Glycolytic and Oxidative systems. Understanding the energy system is key to developing the right kind of fitness programme for you.
Phosphagen Energy System: Any sports activity that requires quick explosive energy and maximum power output during a short period of time usually uses the phosphagen energy system. During these activities, your body utilizes ATP molecules present in your body to produce energy required for quick bursts of activity.
Another characteristic of such activities is that they usually have longer recovery periods. These activities usually last between 10 to 30 seconds. Examples include a 100 meters race, long jump or throwing a shot put or javelin.
Training programmes for such activities could include exercises such as short sprints, plyometric exercises such as box and squat jumps, or heavy resistance training with low reps.
Glycolytic Energy System: This type of energy system uses carbohydrates to create ATP molecules that are broken down quickly to create energy for the particular sports activity. Glycolytic or Anaerobic energy system is used mostly in sports and athletic activities that require high-intensity bursts of activity lasting from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
They usually take about double the time of work for recovery. Examples of this would be football, hockey, and tennis.
Training for the glycolytic system usually involves brief circuits, or short interval high intensity training like HIIT with longer rest periods (usually 60-120 seconds). You can also do resistance training of moderate intensity to train this system.
Oxidative Energy System: Unlike the first 2 systems, the oxidative system uses Oxygen to produce energy. Oxidative system is used mostly in sports and athletic activities that are of low to moderate intensity levels and last for a longer period of time – typically greater than 3 minutes. Activities like long – distance running, swimming laps etc. use the oxidative energy system. You can train this system by completing longer training sessions including distance running, low intensity, steady-state exercises etc.
If you are an athlete or a sports person, chances are, your general fitness levels will already be high. A good sports specific fitness trainer will look at building on top of this foundation and improve your fitness specific to the sport that you are focusing on.
If you want quick, measurable, and sustainable improvements in your sports performance, one of the best things you can do is to talk to Alex Kenchington A.K.A the Health Minister in South West London.
Get Real, Measurable Results Working With the Health Minister in West London
Not only is Alex a highly skilled and trained health and fitness trainer, he is also a former amateur boxer which means, unlike many trainers who have just taken courses to get certified, Alex actually has been in the ring and knows what it takes when it comes to sports fitness.
He is an expert when it comes to both holistic health and fitness and sports specific fitness training. He has been trained and certified by some of the top fitness institutions in the world such as CHEK Institute, FMA Strength Institute and 8WeeksOut. You can check out his fitness programmes here : https://www.health-minister.com/bespoke-training/
Once you start developing your sport specific motor potential, you will start seeing dramatic improvements in your performance. It will boost your endurance and help you last longer on the field. You will notice more consistency in your performance and will be able to make better decisions under pressure.
The Health Minister’s programmes are tailor made to meet your specific needs. They are also flexible and make the most efficient use of your time. So, you can be sure that you will see real, measurable results.
Depending on your specific need, these training programmes can include exercises that target core conditioning, developing explosive strength and agility and also boosting your endurance.
Now that you understand how you can improve your sports performance with the help of sports specific fitness training, we will look at how the Health Minister can help condition your body to achieve peak performance in your chosen sport.
When you work with Alex, you can expect to see considerable improvement in key areas such as speed, explosive power, strength, conditioning, flexibility, recovery etc.
Before you start your training, the first step is to undertake an assessment of your current fitness level.
The Health Analyser:
When you sign up for the Health Minister’s Sports Fitness Programme, you will go through a Health Analyser Assessment first. Alex will do a thorough assessment of key aspects such as your goals, your medical history, your lifestyle factors, your current state of health including your sports fitness levels and your state of recovery.
After the Health Analyser assessment, you will be provided with a dashboard that will help you track your progress.
Bespoke Training Programme:
Once Alex has all the information he needs about your current fitness levels, he will create a bespoke training programme that is designed to help you achieve your specific sports fitness goals. He incorporates key elements of core conditioning, strength training, HIIT training etc. to help create the best possible training programme for you.
With his deep knowledge and years of experience working with athletes and sports people, he is uniquely placed to help you achieve your sports goals.
Beat Performance Plateau and Achieve Your Sports Specific Fitness Goals
Every top-level athlete or sports person knows the importance of working with an expert personal trainer to improve his/ her sports related fitness. While talent is important, there is only so much that mere talent and enthusiasm can help you achieve.
To perform at the highest level, you need to breakthrough fitness barriers that can hold you back. The best way to do that is to work with a qualified expert who can identify your problem areas and create a focused program to help you succeed.