While reading this article, I want you to remember one thing… Strength is king. Now I didn’t say mass or size, but Strength. When dealing with strength, we have to remember that strength is relative to body weight. For example, a 130 pound gymnast that can bench press 225 pounds is relatively stronger than 300 pound American football player who can only bench press his bodyweight.
That being said, I want to go over what “fitness” exactly is (well to me at least). When we begin our fitness programming, we must remember that we will eventually be training for two separate objectives. Those objectives being:
- Base or General Fitness
- Goal or Sport Specific Fitness
So fitness doesn’t mean just “being in good shape,” fitness involves building our base fitness levels and then transitioning into a more Goal or Sport specific programming in order to accomplish something.
During our Base Fitness programming, we want to focus on:
- Building strength
- Mental approach
- Conditioning the body to work
When transitioning into Sport Specific or Goal Training, the idea is to improve our level of performance by:
- Increasing work threshold and levels of fitness
- Develop enhanced muscular recovery from intense Sport Specific training
- Enhance motor skills of Sport Specific movement
- Provide an appropriate connection to Sport Specific movement patterns
- Develop explosiveness
Depending on your training goals, some different building blocks to focus on during our Sport Specific training can also include work capacity and endurance – these training sessions should be introduced gradually, while their frequency and intensity should only increase if needed.
For example, to become a rugby player, first, one would need to be strong. Once strength levels are increased, a transition is made to maintain strength while focusing on sports specific training, like speed, work capacity, ball handling, scrum technique, etc.
If you were to enter in a powerlifting competition, you wouldn’t just train the big 3 (squat, deadlift, bench). You would first start off by increasing your strength levels on the big 3, while also incorporating accessory lifts. Once you are a few weeks out from the competition (I’d say 4 weeks max) then you would transition into Sport Specific training. Then, you would focus primarily on doing awesome things with your big 3 lifts, while also decreasing the rep range to between 1 – 6 reps (if you haven’t done so already). *I usually start a strength cycle by performing 10 reps. As the weeks go by and my strength gains go up, I’ll decrease the rep range while increasing weight and intensity.
CrossFit can be used as another, yet more complicated example. In CrossFit you have your daily WODs (Workout of the Day), which you complete and probably keep track of at your local gym or box. Then you have your competitions such as the CrossFit Open, as well as local and regional competitions. These everyday WODs comprise your Base Fitness. Now when you transition into your Sport Specific training, In my opinion, you would primarily focus on movements that you suck at. There are so many variables in CrossFit that your best bet is to improve on what you are not good at.
So basically what I’m saying is…
In short, start working on base fitness by increasing strength levels. Next, slowly incorporate sport/goal specific training into your programming. Lastly, at about 2-3 weeks out, focus on primarily your goal specific training and just enough base fitness training to maintain strength levels. Whether you’re 20 years old or 60, whether you want to compete in an event or win at your own personal level. Don’t just be “fit” for the hell of it. Pick a goal and achieve it…Be fit for a reason.
Always strive for continuous improvement. Experiment and change if and when needed.