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5 Training Tips from a Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach

There are some things in life that you just wish you knew sooner. There are also some things in life that are so simple and easy to do, you wonder why more people aren’t doing them.

This is where this blog will (hopefully) blow your mind.

The tips below aren’t anything special, BUT, if done well, the results you’ll see WILL be special.

Tip 1 – Lift with Intent

Think of your sport training for a second...

You get to training on a cold and wet Tuesday night. You had an average game last weekend and you think you might be on the chopping block. You know that you have to train well and hard tonight to eliminate those doubts the coach might have. Fast forward a couple of hours… You’ve trained well. You’ve given it everything on a cold and wet Tuesday night. You get home exhausted, but at least you know you’ve given 100% and hopefully kept your place in the team.

Now we’ve set the scene, think about your strength training... If you have the above attitude when it comes to your sport specific training,

why the hell wouldn’t you have that same attitude when it comes to your strength training in the gym! The gym shouldn’t be any different than the field.

Training with intent is something that needs to be ingrained within you when you walk inside the gym. So that every time you complete a gym session, you know you’ve bettered yourself.

Examples of lifting/training with intent:

- Don’t wait for the S&C coach to tell you to increase your weights. Do it yourself.

- If the session is designed to be high intensity and physically taxing, make sure it is.

- If you weren’t happy with your technique on a lift, seek feedback and perfect it before you leave.

- You’re on your last set and feeling good, pump out a couple more reps.

- Check what you lifted last week and beat it (or progress something, see next tip).

Tip 2 – Always Progress Something

Every time you’re completing a strength training session, I want you to think, “What can I progress today?” We (coaches and gym users) always need to be manipulating something in our programs. What I mean by that is,

we always need to be changing something in a planned and progressed way.

Whether it be improving your squat technique, or adding another 2.5kg onto your bench press, or being able to pump out 10 reps instead of 8, these are all ways we can progress and get better each and every session.

Examples of how you can progress something in your program:

  • Intensity/Load - Adding an extra 2.5kg or 5kg each week or each fortnight will put an added stress and stimulus on your body/muscles, and therefore forcing your body to adapt to the new weight. The majority of the time, if you increase intensity, volume usually decreases to allow the body to adapt, then you can slowly inch back up to the original volume with the new weight.

  • Volume (Reps/Sets) - Decreasing volume (reps) usually goes hand-in-hand with increasing intensity (load) as mentioned above. Whereas, if you’re not able to increase the intensity just yet (for example, a 2.5kg increase each on DBs), increasing your sets by 1 or 2 reps will give you the incremental gains you are searching for.

  • Tempo - To put it simply, the slower the movement, the harder it will be for you to execute. Slowing down the movement increase the time that our muscles are under tension, therefore improving muscle growth and strength. Try counting to 3 on the down phase of your lifts and see how much harder it is!

  • Technique - This variable is harder to objectively measure than the above. Improving your technique on a lift is 100% a progression. This allows you to execute the movement in a more efficient and safe way, which will only help with you being able to progress the above variables in due time.

Tip 3 – Technique trumps Load

The last thing I want to see when coaching, is athletes pushing the weight so much, it compromises their technique. As much as we all love seeing people put 100kg+ on a bar, if the individual sacrifices technique for load, then it’s pointless.

You should always look to master the technique, before even thinking about adding excess load on. This is why technique, will always trump load!

Tip 4 – Track and Record

This tip seems so simple and easy to do, but the amount of people that don’t do it is astounding! Recording your workouts and the weights you lift in those workouts only helps your future workouts.

Future you: Have a plan, stick to the plan, record results from the plan.

It’s a tried and tested method, and one that if you do and do consistently, you’ll see the benefits in your performance and results with your strength levels.

Tip 5 – Train for your sport, not bodybuilding

If I had a dollar for the number of teenagers that have explained their strength training program to me, and it is straight off a bodybuilding building website, I’d be a very wealthy man. Training chest and tris, back and arms, etc. is great… if you aspire to be a bodybuilder. But for individuals looking to excel in their chosen sport, you need to be training for your sport! Seek out help from a professional S&C coach to advise you on how to best approach your strength training in relation to your sport.

You train for your sport, so why not strength train for your sport?!
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