“One of the misconceptions in the sports world is that a sports person gets in shape by just playing or taking part in his/her chosen sport. If a stationary level of performance, consistent ability in executing a few limited skills is your goal, then engaging only in your sport will keep you there. However, if you want the utmost efficiency, consistent improvement, and balanced abilities sportsmen and women must participate in year round conditioning programs.The bottom line in sports conditioning and fitness training is stress, not mental stress, but adaptive body stress. Sportsmen and women must put their bodies under a certain amount of stress (overload) to increase physical capabilities.” Tancred, 1995
Many people affiliate the term ‘training’ or ‘fitness’ to just strolling into a gym either loaded with weights or treadmills.
But the truth is, the term has such a broad meaning which people have misunderstood so badly, to the extent that they just have no clue what they do in the gym or on a treadmill, but as long as it makes them slightly tired or sweaty, they feel they have achieved something.
How many times have you come across someone in the gym that attempts to bicep curl or tricep pull-down the whole line of weights on the cable machine and sees that as their ultimate sign of progress? How many times have you seen others scoff at people run for a few miles and stick to the lighter weights for multiple reps and sets? How many times have you come across a guy/girl who dead-lifts a phenomenal amount of weight for the size he/she is?
The truth is, each person should be training for their own goals. And the goals vary depending on the person, their sport, their weaknesses/strengths and much more.
However, while the goals of every person may vary, the components of one’s ‘fitness’ or ‘training’ are of few. This means the goals are generally based around these few components.
1) Power – Exerting maximum muscular contraction/force within the shortest amount of time (A combination of Strength and Speed)
E.g: Weightlifting (to some degree), Wrestling, Judo
2) Strength – How much a muscle can exert itself against resistance.
E.g: Maximal Strength sports – Powerlifting
3) Cardiovascular Endurance – Ability and efficiency of the heart in providing blood and oxygen to the working muscles.
4) Muscular Endurance – Ability and efficiency of a single muscle to contract under a sustained strain.
E.g: Rowing, Boxing
5) Strength Endurance – Ability of a muscle to contract maximally repeatedly.
E.g: Baseball throws, Roundhouse kick
6) Flexibility – Ability of extending range of motion within the body.
7) Agility – Ability to perform explosive fast movements within opposite directions.
E.g: 90 or 180 degree turns/cuts in any field based sports
8) Balance – Ability to control movement of body when either moving or being still.
9) Coordination – The ability to combine all/most of these components effectively to perform a movement.
NOTE: Most sports contain a combination of many components. It is very rare an athlete only possesses just one!
Notice anything missing? Were you looking for something? Hypertrophy/mass/size?
Well that’s the thing..
Being muscular or aesthetic or ‘dench’ ISN’T a component of fitness. However it may be a by-product of some of the training done by an athlete, or an aid to helping him/her achieve one of the components.
Hence many argue, Bodybuilding not being a sport, but more an art. A deep appreciation for the outward look of muscular symmetry but not with much function to do something within a sport which require skill along with any of the above mentioned components. However bodybuilders themselves may vary individually; some will decide to stay more athletic than the others by working on some of the above mentioned components of fitness.
(This is not a rip off on bodybuilding!)
If your goal is to truly stimulate muscle growth or fat breakdown so that you look more aesthetic and ‘bigger’, then there is no problem with sticking to the principles of training for hypertrophy or lipolysis and cracking on with just that! I stress with sticking to the principles due to it allowing you to not be one of those wanderers who just have a vague idea of the concept of training and freestyle as they go along, but instead, is a person with set goals and an understanding mindset towards where their routines will lead them towards.
Don’t forget! Being powerful doesn’t necessitate you will be extremely muscular and aesthetic either. It’s very easy to think a huge muscular person is very powerful/strong, but that isn’t always the case! Power is a combination of strength AND speed and they will need BOTH. As for their strength, their are many types; is their relative strength compared to others in their weight class up to standard? Well, that’s another question in itself!
What are YOU training for?