With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics wrapping up this month, the Games are a great reminder of the reasons to train and take care of your body. These athletes spend four years focusing on a single event or series of similar events to deliver their best performance. This requires patience and commitment to the larger goal. The main difference between Olympic athletes and regular people like you and me is how our training courses are structured: 4-year courses with a single focus versus training to improve the rest of our lives.
Athletes start training at a young age and dedicate their whole life to performing once every four years. They have set cycles that eventually lead them to their peak performance on time.
Some of the common themes that you will see during games are examples of general fitness, strength, endurance, accuracy, and strength. Among the various events, there will be some common physical themes. What makes each event different is the sport-specific skills needed to express those common physical themes.
We can also apply these common physical traits to our training in the gym. Let’s learn about the different ways to develop fitness, strength, stamina and overall strength.
- general fitness It is the ability to perform most types of exercise with good technique, a moderate level of strength, and the aerobic ability to recover quickly. Combining steady-state training with short bursts of high-intensity work will create capacity requirements. Training the different reps ranges (3-6, 6-12, 12+) will help develop overall strength.
- Energy Developed using fast, explosive movements with a solid base of strength. We all need to use force at some point in our daily lives, from catching ourselves from a fall to pushing a skateboard to shooting baskets with our friends. Strength training prepares us to do all of these things quickly and efficiently. Hopping, jumping, medicine ball throw, and bell swings are just a few of the diverse methods of strength training. Ideally, repetitions remain low (less than 5) and focus on moving the weight as fast as possible under control.
- Endurance It is one of the most popular topics in physical activity. The goal of this type of training is how far or how long you can go before you need a break and how quickly you recover for repetition. You can train endurance with cardio equipment such as treadmills and bikes or with longer sets of strength training (more than 15 repetitions per set) with shorter rest periods.
- strength training It is the most common type of training we see in our gyms. Being able to move weight smoothly in a good manner is what drives the most positive physical changes. Strength training can be done in a number of ways that can compensate for training boredom and help those who train in this way enjoy a better quality of life as they get older.
Just like the Olympians, remember to keep aim and aim. Whether you’re training for the 5K in your area or just want to be stronger than you were yesterday, focus on one type of training at a time, and you’ll start seeing progress quickly.
Written by: Jenny Grimsley, Fitness Product Manager at VASA Fitness