Summer’s over, and class is back in session. Interested in making real progress this fall?
With the start of a new semester upon us, it’s time to get things in order. And I’m not just talking about class schedules and social calendars; I’m talking about your training too.
The start of a new semester is great time to wipe the slate clean and reassess your strength and conditioning routine. There are many different ways to refine your training, but there are concepts and tips I’d recommend you consider regardless of the training program you use.
Some examples? Here are five that I tell every athlete I work with:
1. Do more rows
Whether you’ve been playing sport or Xbox all summer, you should consider including more row variations in your training plan. A commonly used program ratio is double the number of rows to presses. Row variations I recommend include inverted rows, dumbbell rows and cable rows. Make sure to use a full range of motion and don’t overly shrug your shoulders up when performing them. Real athletes, after all, are judged by the strength of their posterior chain, and rows undoubtedly help there.
2. Perform more loaded carries
I’ve written about carries before, and the more I work with athletes, the more I believe they’re a game changer. If you haven’t been including loaded carry variations such as farmer’s walks, suitcase carries and waiter’s walks, I strongly suggest you do so this fall. Add in a light carry to your warm up, and use heavy bilateral variations such as farmer’s walks towards the end of you training program. They’ll build grip and core strength while improving your overall conditioning in only a few short weeks.
3. Get durable and avoid injury
A training goal should be injury prevention. This is especially true if you play collision sports such as football or rugby. It doesn’t matter if you’re strong and fast if you’re unable to withstand game contact. The foundation of durability is being able to move properly. Make sure to include some form of mobility work in your warm up, and select exercises that target areas where you’re particularly immobile to include as fillers in between exercises of your workout. For example, if your hip flexors are tight, work on hip mobility between squat sets.
4. Don’t forget soft tissue work
Along with mobility, taking care of soft tissue work is crucial to staying injury free and increasing performance. Grab a foam roller and devote 5-10 minutes to taking care of your soft tissue quality. Foam roll the major areas of your body including your calves, quads, IT band and thoracic spine. If you’re new to foam rolling, this will be initially tough, but you’ll quickly improve. Foam rolling will also leave you feeling and performing better when you’re going through any workout, which is ultimately going to help you reach your goals faster.
5. Get a training partner
I’ve found a key to training success isn’t necessarily the exercises you choose or the number of sets or reps you do, but rather plain old consistency. Having a training partner means you’re more likely to complete your scheduled training sessions, while making sure those sessions are of a better quality.
There are a million different ways to train, but by applying even some of the rules above, you’ll hopefully make your training this fall season your best yet, regardless of the program you’re following.