BlogExplosive ModeMarch

The Weakest Link in The Chain

I finally found something that resembled a gym. It had only been a couple days into my holiday but I was itching to get a work-out in. The countryside physiotherapist that greeted me at the door, gave a quick tour of the small outfit. 20 machines. That was it. He didn't have to worry about people dropping the weights, because there were none.'I advise my clients to do a full circle by going through each machine once' he explained. 'Younger clients may do two circles.' Even though I ended up circling back out to the parking lot, the physiotherapist theory was intriguing. Most of his clients were his physiotherapy patients that needed to re-balance their body in some way or the other. Contrary to traditional muscle specific rehab, the physiotherapist had found that using all available tools strengthened the overall muscle balance and the versatility kept the patients motivated.



Why Professional Athletes do Pilates and Yoga

Some machines in the gym remain untouched. Coaches don't recommend them, magazines don't mention them and my ego is convinced that they can not provide any instant gratification. But every now and then you will spot someone trying to read the instruction label on them. Perhaps because the free weights are taken, maybe an injury is playing mind tricks or maybe because it's rush hour. But no one appears to share the physiotherapist's theory.

A good coach knows when to use different machines for different purposes. Unfortunately, the discovery channel is turned on only once there is no game on the main channels. Athletes start doing yoga late in their careers, when they notice that their monotonous hardcore training has created imbalances and they can not tie their shoe laces with straight legs any more. They introduce Pilates to make up for years of neglecting small muscles groups and overall agility. The work on the weakest links in the body only starts once the weakest link is so loose that you can hear it.



Training the Weakest Link to Improve Total Performance and Avoid Injury

Any Coach Will Do

To this day, I'm still too brainwashed and influenced by my own experience that I would not do a circle of the twenty machines that the physiotherapist recommended. Unless, my coach told me to do it. That's what I pay him for. Without a coach, the imbalances in my body would actually be so emphasized that you could spot them from a block away. I wouldn't end up on the floor after an endurance work-out wondering what truck ran over me. I simply wouldn't do uncomfortable exercises. And I would be comfortable with that.

I'm convinced that people should train in a group or with a coach at least once a week. You can not let yourself decide what work-out you should do every time. Unintentionally, you are likely to create an imbalance in your body because of your subjective focus.

But I got to be honest, I love to jump from one machine to the other and to not repeat the same movement all the time. In my opinion, it's actually not such a bad idea as then the training is more likely to translate to a better sport performance outside of the gym. Not because the training is sport specific, but rather because the gym training was not directly counterproductive towards the sport.

Of Course Soccer Players Should Bench

In almost every sport, you are forced to move the whole body. The speed, strength or endurance of a movement is rarely dictated by a sole muscle group. A lot of times it's a question of how well your body can orchestrate itself. All athletes do the bench press. Not because they need strong pecs but because they need to teach the whole body to produce force. And it is likely that by improving your weakest link (muscle group or specific agility movement) you can easily improve your performance. But how do you find out what your weakest link is? There are a lot of tests that can reveal how well-rounded you are as an athlete. An example would be the NFL Scouting Combine that contains six measurable drills (40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill and shuttle run) or a Crossfit or Sealfit benchmark work-out for more endurance specific testing. But to really know what movement or muscle you should focus on, nothing beats a coach. Rather have one expensive session with an experienced coach than a lot of cheap ones with an inexperienced one. Finding out what is the weakest link in your chain could be the fastest way to improve your performance. If you can't find a coach nearby, then I know a physiotherapist.





There is a risk that your current training is the same as last year. If you did not train your muscles equally, you magnified the muscle imbalances in your body. Make sure you diversify your training this spring by ordering The Fit Businessman (Outdoor Edition) video guide now.



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