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By Columnist Michael Meredith – Athletic Coach:


Over many years as a coach I have encountered many athletes training for a variety of different sports. Individuals that I like to refer to as “recreational athletes”. I use this term as opposed to semi or professional athletes whom are paid or sponsored financially to support their athletic pursuits.

For most of us though, performance is the pursuit of pure passion, whether it is the local 5K park run, or playing A-grade in the local soccer competition. Athletic pursuits are usually the balance of life including a full-time job, relationships, and for many, looking after children whilst trying to fit in training and competition some where in the middle.

With such a variety of recreational sports on offer, sports-specific training is an absolute necessity, but there is a number of foundational training elements that get missed all so often, one of the most important being strength training.

The stigma attached to strength training is completely old school and out-dated and I do believe I have heard every reason under the sun why individuals wont do resistance training…

“I don’t want to look like a man.”

“I’m naturally strong, I don’t need to lift weights.”

“I hate the gym, it is full of posers.”

The list is endless, but with advancements in sports science and a better understanding of the human body. Strength training goes well beyond pure aesthetic results. We are all human and are made-up of the same foundation, muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs etc. Therefore, the philosophy should be the same in regards to foundational strength.

Many Athletes will vary in aesthetics, genetics and body composition based on their chosen sport, but the reality is we all need to be strong. It doesn’t matter what sport you choose: runners, soccer players, tennis players, tri-athletes, obstacle racers, rugby league players, even netball players .

Being strong will make you a better athlete. You do not need to spend hours in the gym to be strong. Two days per week strength training is more than enough to get the results almost all recreational athletes need to build and maintain a strong foundation. This does not necessarily need to be in a gym as there is some fantastic equipment available that does not require a gym to use. A good quality strength program will focus on lower and upper body compound movements and multiple movement patterns, or exercises that engage two or more different joints to fully stimulate entire muscle groups and multiple muscles – squats, lunges, deadlift, presses, push ups, pull-ups etc.

We need strength for a number of reasons including sports specific strength, strong muscles, strong joints, strong bones. These elements all come together towards injury prevention. A weak foundation will leave you exposed to a number of injuries that as a recreational athlete will leave you frustrated when you can no longer train or compete.

Whether a recreational or professional athlete, if you dedicate yourself to a sport, then you put your body on-the-line and risk injury. Therefore, you need to take all elements of training performance seriously. Prevention is always better than cure. So if you build a strong foundation, rest and allow your body to recover, and do all the little things right, then you will increase your longevity as an athlete. In addition, you will enjoy your sport more and decrease your chances of injury greatly.

Strength training has many variables to consider including; techniques, loads, volumes, time, and results, but its very easy to seek advice, which I highly recommend, to get a program and seek some support to learn how to train correctly. Strength training is extremely simple when done correctly but learning is the most important element. Learn your muscle activations, techniques, and what exercises train what muscles and how to perform these exercises correctly.

Consider this an education in exercise. Once you gain a better understanding, the results will evolve rapidly. No matter what your chosen sport, strength training must be an integral part of your training program, but keep it short, sweet and maximise your workload against your allocated time.

Overall, be fit, be strong, be healthy, and be happy.

About Our Athletic News and Review Columnist – Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith, Master Personal Trainer, Elite Obstacle Racer, Former Sydney A-grade rugby league player, Runner, and all-round health enthusiast, is the Founder of Aussie Athletes Health and Performance. As a coach, Michael’s philosophy is to focus on health and performance. His 12-week training programs for men and women, include strength and fitness, OCR (or obstacle course racing) and recreational running. Micheal aims to narrow the gap between strength training and aerobic endurance so that his clients’ can balance the two effectively to create the fittest, healthiest version of themselves.

“After more than 5-years as a Personal Trainer, I have helped celebrities, recreational athletes make it all the way to an élite level of fitness. In addition, I have annually sponsored two ‘everyday athletes’ as a mentor. This give one male and one female the opportunity to take on certain events throughout the year under the guidance of the #teamaussieathletes community.”

“My major focus as a trainer is to complete an exercise science degree and turn my Aussie Athletes business into a community based-group that operates out of its own head-quarters. Aussie Athletes Health and Performance is now operated via two of Australia’s premier Fitness First Platinum Clubs in Sydney Australia, these being in Park Street Platinum and Bondi Platinum.

Disclaimer: The information published in this column are based on the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


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