Get Shredded Training Like an Athlete

athletic female body.jpg

When asked to imagine your ideal body, what do you see? If you are like many people, you envision a lean toned-looking version of yourself with the strength, endurance, and mobility to take on whatever you desire at that given moment – whether it is repping out pull-ups at the gym, spending an afternoon hiking around a lake, or just trying to keep up with your kids. If you imagine something similar when picturing your ideal body, what you really want is the body of an athlete.

How do you get the body of an athlete? You train like an athlete.

 

Tip #1 Lift Heavy

Forget what you have been told in regard to “toning” your muscles – a muscle can only get larger or smaller, and cannot be toned or lengthened. To achieve the toned look many people are after, one must have well developed muscles with a fairly low body fat percentage.

To address the first task, a training program focused on heavy resistance training is crucial. This resistance training program should be built around compound movements (squat, deadlift, bench press, etc.) with reps ranging from 1-12 per set. The combination of compound movements with heavy resistance is the ideal recipe for developing strength and lean muscle mass.

 

Tip #2 Sprint

When watching athletes move during competition, how often do you see them jogging around the field? Not often. When athletes move it is usually an all-out sprint followed by a brief period of rest. Their training reflects this as well.

When working towards that athletic body, consider ditching the elliptical for some sprint training. While slow and steady cardio is long and tedious, sprint training is fun and can be completed in a fraction of the time.

The beauty of sprinting is how stressful it is to the body (in this case, stress is a good thing). Because the body cannot rely on oxygen as heavily for fuel during sprinting, it burns more calories in an equal amount of time, compared to slow and steady cardio. As a bonus, sprint training can also improve a person’s power, endurance, and lean muscle mass.

No room for sprints?

An alternative to sprinting is high intensity interval training. By performing high intensity intervals of an exercise paired with short periods of rest, a person can enjoy similar benefits to sprinting without the necessary space.


Tip #3 Ditch the machines

If you ever have the opportunity to walk through a collegiate or professional training facility, you will see walls full of squat racks, platforms, and benches; but what you will not see is very many weight machines or pieces of cardio equipment. Coaches at this level understand to get their players stronger and in better shape, they need to focus on using free weights over machines.

The great thing about free weight exercises is they give you a bigger bang for your buck over machines. First, free weight exercises are greater at improving strength, compared to weight machine exercises. Second, because free weights are not fixed to a specific path, your body is in a constant battle to balance the weight and stabilize the body as the exercise is being performed – all this work burns more calories and also improves coordination and stability.


Putting it all Together

Now that you understand the importance of training like an athlete, it is time to put together your training program. Below are two examples of a 3-day/week and 5-day/week training program outline. These programs would be perfect for someone looking to gain strength and lean muscle, while also reducing their body fat percentage.


3x/Week

Monday:

  • Medium sprints (20-40 yards) with medium rest (60-90 seconds)
    • (10-15 minutes)
  • Medium rep weight training (3-8 reps for primary exercise, 8-10 for accessory exercises)
    • (30-45 minutes)

Wednesday:

  • Short sprints (10-20 yards) with short rest (10-30 seconds)
    • (10-15 minutes)
  • Low rep weight training (1-5 reps for primary exercise, 6-8 for accessory exercises)
    • (30-45 minutes)

Friday

  • Long sprints (40-80 yards) with long rest (90 -120 seconds)
    • (10-15 minutes)
  • High rep weight training (6-10 for primary exercise, 8-12 for accessory exercises
    • (30-45 minutes)


5x/Week

Monday:

  • Medium rep weight training (3-8 reps for primary exercise, 8-10 for accessory exercises)
    • (45-60 minutes)

Tuesday:

  • Medium sprints (20-40 yards) with medium rest (60-90 seconds)
    • (20-30 minutes)

Wednesday:

  • Low rep weight training (1-5 reps for primary exercise, 6-8 for accessory exercises)
    • (45-60 minutes)

Thursday:

  • Short sprints (10-20 yards) with short rest (10-30 seconds)
    • (20-30 minutes)

Friday

  • Long sprints (40-80 yards) with long rest (90 -120 seconds)
    • (10-15 minutes)
  • High rep weight training (6-10 for primary exercise, 8-12 for accessory exercises)
    • (30-45 minutes)