3 Common Training Techniques Used by The Pros
Professional athletes—they look like they were hand-carved out of marble by Hercules himself. But how do they become as fast, lean, and muscular as they are? It all has to do with their behind-the-scenes training techniques. Professional athletes spend hours on end getting stronger and improving their performance for a select few games, races, and matches throughout the year. In the offseason, the summer training techniques they use are what sets them apart from the competition during the regular season.
If you’re looking to take your training to the next level and gain inspiration from the pros themselves, we’re here to help. Below, we’ll go over three critical training techniques used by elite athletes that can help you become better at your sport.
Any sport, whether basketball, football, or soccer, usually lasts well over an hour. This means athletes need enough endurance to last them throughout the entirety of their games. The best way to increase you’re your endurance and your aerobic threshold is through cardio. Cardio refers to aerobic exercises that require oxygen, such as running, swimming, and biking.
If you’re looking to become the next best athlete, you’re going to need to up your cardio game. Some cardio training techniques used by pros include:
- Running: You may hate running, but it’s one of the key ingredients to becoming a star athlete. Before you hit the roads, treadmill, or track, you’re going to need a pair of cushioned running shoes and breathable gear. Once you’re equipped, try some of these running workouts:
- Mile repeats with 2-minute breaks in between each rep to build endurance
- 200-meter sprints with a 30-second break in between each rep to build stamina
- 50-yard dash repeats to build fast-twitch muscles
- Biking: Sometimes, too much running can cause a lot of stress on the body due to the high-impact nature of the sport. To reduce the chances of getting injured, try hopping on an e-cycle, fixed-gear bike, or a stationary bike at the gym. A perfect form of cross-training, biking will get your heart rate up and increase your endurance, while reducing the impact on your shins, knees, and joints. Some training techniques include:
- 90-minute bike ride at a steady pace
- 60-minute bike ride with 3-minute pushes, 1-minute breaks
- 60-second hill repeats
- Swimming: If you’ve ever swam laps, you know how tiring it can be. Swimming activates almost every muscle in your body while causing little stress to your body due to your body’s buoyancy in the water. This makes it a common training technique for pros to prevent injury while still increasing their cardio. Some swimming workouts you can try include:
- 1-mile swim (roughly 70.5 laps in a 25-yard pool)
- 100-meter warm-up, 4 sets of (1 x 75-meter freestyle, 1 x 25-meter freestyle kick, 1 x 75-meter breaststroke, 1 x 25-meter breaststroke kick, 1 x 75-meter backstroke, 1 x 25-meter backstroke kick). 100-meter cool-down
Along with endurance and cardio, professional athletes focus on strength. Strength is needed to outperform the competition, whether a QB throwing a football the furthest or power forward making a basket. In order to have enough strength, professional athletes hit the gym roughly 4 to 5 times a week, which the rest of the days consisting of recovery exercises and techniques.
When it comes to building strength, some common training techniques used by the pros include:
- Mobility exercises: Football, basketball, and soccer players consistently switch positions, pivoting, and turning in all different directions. To stay strong and avoid injury, focus on mobility exercises to strengthen your hips, core, and lateral muscles
- Plyometrics: Also known as jump training, plyometrics are exercises that consist of short intervals, but maximum muscle exertion, to increase power, such as box jumps.
- Push, pull, carry technique: many pros increase their strength with the push, pull, carry technique. This is where they push, pull, or carry a heavy object to shock the central nervous system and build muscle.
The key ingredient all professional athletes swear by is recovery. You can’t go 100 percent all of the time, or else you will wind up burning yourself out and getting injured. When exercising, listen to your body. If you constantly feel extremely fatigued or are suffering from nagging injuries, your body may begin to break down.
When it comes to recovery, some common techniques include foam rolling, static and dynamic stretching, and supplementing correctly with protein and other nutrients. Along with these techniques, you also need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. When you sleep, your body repairs itself and actually builds muscle by producing muscle-building hormones. Without enough sleep, you may never see the gains you’ve been working toward.
The Bottom Line
These tried and true techniques used by the pros are essential to becoming the best athlete you can be. As you can tell, being a pro is a 24-hour job. Aside from training in the gym and on the field, you need to take care of your body during the hours you’re out of the gym by eating well, sleeping enough, and giving your body the rest it deserves.