Suddenly everywhere we look the workouts have gone insane. What’s that all about? Anyone who has read my stuff regularly, knows that I believe in hard work. However, just because a workout is named something that sounds tough, and or gets you out of breath, does not mean it is a smart or viable way to train long term.
The truth is the number one type of exercise we can do for our health is strength training, And the number one reason folks don’t feel that they can workout is lack of time. With this in mind,why choose a program that says you need to confuse your muscles and workout 5 – 6 – or 7 days per week for an hour or more? The truth is that anyone from the elite athlete to the un-fit office worker can get all they need from two or three well thought out 30 or 45 minute workouts per week.
What’s that saying about a fool and his money? I’ve noticed that the “insane” workout folks are now trying to sell agility ladders and other tools to make folks more athletic etc. Don’t fall for the hype. Unless you want to be a world champion at using the agility ladder, don’t bother buying or using one. No matter what anyone tells you, it will not give you better footwork for your chosen sport.
If you are a soccer player, what do you think will be more beneficial:
A: 30 minutes of agility ladder drills.
B: 30 minutes of extra time spent practicing skills with a soccer ball for improved ball mastery?
Let’s talk science for a moment.
1. Purported “speed drills” that do not replicate exact sprinting body mechanics (same speed, muscle contractions, angles of force output, etc.) may not transfer to improve speed. Again, the principle of specificity states that to become proficient in any activity, the activity itself must me practiced exactly. Anything “almost” or “close” is NOT exact. Therefore, general drills such as high knees, skips, bounds, box jumps, or other slower-moving actions (relative to all-out sprinting speed) can be used, but more as a part of a dynamic warm-up routine.
2. Straight-ahead sprinting and change-of-direction agility drills elicit a “plyometric”(stretch-shortening) effect. Therefore, whenever you’re sprinting and doing agilities, your doing plyometrics. No need to spend an inordinate amount of time jumping on and off boxes.
3. Speed gadgets and gimmicks such as parachutes, rubber tubing, sleds, weighted vests, and the like are nothing exceptional. They by themselves will not make you “run like the wind” after their use. They can be used for variety in a conditioning program (repeated use can create fatigue), but that’s about it. It is a fact that running with weight or against resistance alters running mechanics from those used in unweighted sprinting you’ll experience during a game (sport-specific). Therefore, keep your running both sport and energy system-specific by replicating the situations / runs you’ll face in competition.
So to sum up, it’s not about feeling tired, sweating profusely or earning a T-shirt…It’s about consistent and progressive hard work on brief, intense, and infrequent programs designed to support your goals.
Remember Train Smart, Win easy.