Successful sports people do not simply get fit by playing their chosen sport all the time. To get in shape and truly develop their bodies correctly to increase agility, strength and mobility, they have to go through a process of conditioning. Just practicing your sport will only be good enough if you are planning to stay at your current performance level. Fitness conditioning puts your body under stress to force it to adapt and to increase its physical ability. If you are planning to condition your body to increase athleticism, you will need to go through a couple of phases or fitness conditioning steps.
The first is the preparation phase, during which you get your system used to exercising itself. It is never a good idea to start off training too vigorously, as your body won’t be ready for it and you may give up in the end. Rather start with a moderate program and work yourself up to a higher level of fitness gradually. Walk, jog or run about three times a week at a pace that is comfortable for you. Be sure to leave days in-between where you allow your body to recover. If you are focusing on improving muscular strength, start your weight training with weights that are easy to handle and also get some rest between your sessions.
In order to become fit, you will have to increase your workout sessions as well as the intensity at which you exercise. Athletes working on cardio endurance should increase their running time gradually by a couple of minutes per week. During this phase, make sure not to skip too many workout sessions meaning don’t take two days or more off between sessions.
When training with weights to increase strength, you will normally start with conditioning in the third week of your exercise plan. You should usually do a set of between eight and 12 repetitions for each of the weight exercises. As soon as you can do more than 12 repetitions on a workout, you need to increase the weight for that specific exercise. This will increasingly put your muscles under stress and helps your body to reach a new level of fitness. To add variety to your program, include some other workouts that work on different muscles than the ones you usually do; this will improve your overall strength.
As soon as you have achieved your desired level of fitness, you need to maintain it. This means you won’t continually put your body under progressive stress in order to force it to adapt, but you will keep up with an intensive workout session at least three time per week.
Diet is a very important aspect with regard to fitness conditioning. Without the correct diet, your body won’t function optimally and you won’t gain the weight needed to build muscles or have the energy to get through your training sessions. It is all about carbohydrates and some basic calorie counting that will get you a long way, but it is also important to consume the correct type of foods. All athletes know that you need to stay clear of any junk food and soda drinks. Enough healthy proteins, fats, carbs and fruits and veggies will keep your body in top shape while you are working on your fitness.
Types of Training
If you are an athlete or weightlifter, you will focus mostly on either cardio or weight workouts. However, if you are playing ball sports, it is important to be both athletic and strong, so your training program will need to be better-rounded. Another very important thing for all sportspeople to work on, especially if you are playing ball sports, is joint mobility; you have to be able to move your limbs through a full range of a motion and with control.
Your mobility depends on voluntary movement and it is a form of active flexibility. Through inactivity, or injuries, a joint can become compromised and lose a lot of its mobility. This puts more negative stress on the rest of the body and the result is an imbalance that can cause aches and pains or just overall ineffectiveness. It is therefore recommended to also include a joint mobility workout in your exercise program to strengthen and balance your joints and restore the motion to your hips, shoulders, spine, elbows, neck, knees and ankles etcetera.
To excel at your sport, motor fitness is of the utmost importance. You need to work on your balance, co-ordination, reaction time and agility. Although there are several training programs to work on motor fitness, the best way to improve is to practice the sport itself. With ball sports, for instance, you need to constantly practice handling and passing the ball, as well as aiming and achieving goals. If you practice certain movements often enough, your body will remember it when you need it the most. For the “correct” memory, you need to ensure that you are using the right ball (if you practice with a heavier or lighter ball than what you encounter during a match, your body could over-compensate due to motor memory and may cost you the game.) Be sure to get the correct ball to practice with.