Watching the Olympics is always incredible. We have all enjoy watching those athletes perform. We have all been wowed, shocked, and sometimes saddened. That’s why we watch.
As a coach that works with athletes in an Olympic sport, the march for 2020 has begun. Coach Crystal McCullough and I talk daily about the things that need to happen for our athletes to make the next team. Yesterday I was tweaking the jerk techniques of two of our female athletes. I want to go ahead and make the changes, so that they will be prepared for 2020.
As coaches we have to make sure that our athletes have “No Weaknesses”. That’s our job. We need to look at all the variables that we can affect, and then our job is to improve as many of those variables as possible. I am not talking just about programming and coaching technique. I am talking about all the mundane aspects of athletic performance.
This article isn’t just for Olympic weightlifting. I am talking about all sports. If you want to be great, you have to do the things that no one wants to do. If you are an athlete, I have some news for you. Everyone goes to practice and trains hard so don’t be bragging about that. All of my athletes train hard in the gym. However, what are you doing when no one is looking? That’s the question.
You can say the same thing for adult fitness. Everybody goes to the gym. However, what are you doing at home when the coach isn’t looking? Are you eating berries and almond milk as a snack, or are you grabbing a candy bar? Are you working on your mobility at home, so you can feel topnotch at work?
Let’s look at the variables that coaches can affect other than just programming and practice:
- Overall nutrition
- Body Fat
- Muscular balance
- Sports Psychology
- Joint manipulation to deal with aches and pains
These are just a few that I can think I want to touch on. A lot of variable will vary based on the sport, but all of these are pretty common amongst all sports. Optimal mobility is important in just about every sport on the planet. Notice that I said optimal mobility. That doesn’t mean to stretch everything for hours every day. Some sports require maximum mobility, and some sports like weightlifting require just the right amount. If a weightlifter is hypermobile, they could be at risk of injury due to joint instability.
Nutrition is an aspect of athletic performance that can be a real game changer. There is an optimal body fat percentage for all sports. The key is to find out that percentage, and then eat to optimize your own body composition. For all of you in strength sports, I have some news for you. Fat doesn’t move weight. Look at all the top powerlifters in the world, and you will see some ripped dudes. When I was competing, I was very lean. In weightlifting all you have to do is look at the Chinese. Those athletes are ripped and jacked. Fat has nothing to do with muscular contractions. It just sits there.
Nutrition is also important to overall recovery. If you are an athlete, you either need to understand macronutrient or find someone who does. It’s not just about losing body fat. It’s also about performance during training and competition. If you are a competitive CrossFitter, you are going to need carbs and lots of them. You need carbs for energy.
Recovery can be affected by nutrition, sleep, stress levels, and outside forces to deal with the stress on the body. The body treats working out the same as an infection. Isn’t that crazy? We break down tissue, and then the body sends a signal to repair the breakdown. The speed of those repairs as well as the efficiency of those repairs is what we call recovery. Besides sleep and nutrition, we use a team Physical Therapist, John Davidson, DPT to help our athletes recover and mend their aches and pains.
Muscular Balance is the new buzzword, but this time the buzzword is for real. If your athlete can reach and maintain muscular balance, they will have a better chance of optimal performance and a lower risk of injury. I am on my way to see Louie Simmons today, which I am very excited about. He has been preaching about muscular balance, since the 1990’s. Now people are talking about it like it’s a new idea. It’s not!
We developed a 24-point test that helps us pinpoint the weaknesses in our athletes. It gives us ratios that will help quantify muscular imbalances, give us ideas of what to target with accessory movements, and it will help us quantify improvement. We use this as a major tool to help our athletes have a better chance of competing on the International stage. All athletes and all people could use the same tool.
We came out with a book that has this test for all of you. The book has way more than just the test. It also tells you exactly what to do with each ratio. The book also has several of the techniques that we use to keep our athletes recovered and moving properly.
The book is called “No Weaknesses”. It’s a tool that I wish I had when I was competing at my highest level. If you are interested in this book, check it out here:
Supplements are another way to maximize recovery and performance. They key is knowing which supplements to take. Dr. Gray, my longtime sport’s doctor, is going to do several tests on our athletes. One of which is to determine which vitamins and minerals that my athletes are deficient. Then we can pinpoint, which supplements to give them. That is the best way to optimize supplement use.
Sports Psychology is something that I have been curious about for many years. I have watched it affect the performance of several athletes that I have worked with over the last few years. Some athletes are born with the ability to perform well during competition, and some struggle with negative or irrational thoughts. A good sports psychologist can help program healthier game day habits and thought processes.
Every athlete that competes is going to experience aches and pains. Sports at an elite level aren’t the healthiest thing in the world. You are pushing your body to its limit. At the highest point the body is somewhere between awesome and crushed. It’s that fine line that all athletes must learn to balance.
A big key is knowing when you are just aching and when you are hurt. If you aren’t able to perform the movements of your sport or you are altering those movements, I recommend going to a professional. The key is finding someone that you trust. We are blessed to have Dr. John Davidson, and Dr. Gray to go to. You need to find someone as well.
Remember the gym is just a small part of the equation. Everyone goes to the gym; so don’t pat yourself on the back. Real performance and fitness takes place outside of the gym. Every decision that you make is one that will get you closer to your goal or further away from it. Make those decisions wisely!
Check out our Athletic Performance Clinic February 9th with NFL Fullback Tommy Bohanon and me. All proceeds go to the youth nonprofits of both of us. Only $39 thru Friday! Read more below:
For a FREE Two Weeks, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .