3 Exercises Every Athlete Should Do | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

3 Exercises Every Athlete Should Do

December 11, 2012 | Carl Galloway

Must See Strength Training Videos


People waste a lot of time at the gym doing exercises that aren’t particularly effective. They also overlook essential moves that can help improve stability, mobility and strength—three areas that every athlete needs to improve. If your workout plan doesn’t include the following three moves, it isn’t worth the paper (or pixels) it’s printed on. Add Overhead Squats, Inverted Rows and Planks to your workout and watch your performance improve.

Overhead Squat

Perhaps no other exercise can tell you more about your body than the Overhead Squat. The move almost immediately brings to light any hip, knee or ankle issues you may have.

For example, squat with your hands out in front of you, then try squatting with your hands over your head and elbows locked. The Overhead Squat will feel more difficult, because it forces you to maintain an erect spine and mobile hips at the same time. When your hands are in front, you're able to round your back, giving you the illusion of having good squat depth and flexible hips. By placing your hands above your head, you lock down the thoracic spine and force your hips to actually work.

One of the best ways to perform the move is with a broomstick or dowel. Hold the dowel over your head like you would if it were a bar, then squat. Watch PGA golfer Scott Stallings perform the Overhead Squat.

Sets/Reps: 3x10, performed every day

Inverted Rows

These rows don’t just build a strong upper back, they also help keep your shoulders healthy and train your core, glutes, upper back and biceps at the same time. Your core must stay engaged throughout the move to support your spine, because your body is hanging in free space. Your glutes contract to maintain that straight spine position, and the muscles of your upper back and arms do the work of rowing your body up and down.

To perform the move, set a bar in a squat rack at about waist height. Hang under the bar with your heels on the ground. Squeeze your glutes to put your body in a straight line, then row your body up to the bar. Try to touch the middle of your chest to the bar on every rep while keeping your shoulder blades and glutes contracted.

Sets/Reps: 3x5

Planks and Plank Variations

Sit-ups and crunches are for your grandparents. To really build a stronger, athletic core, you only need to do one thing: stay still. OK, well, stay still while holding your entire bodyweight off the ground—in a plank.

Why are planks so effective? Look at what the core actually does. If you didn't have a stable core, your spine wouldn't be able to support the weight of your head. Your upper body would literally fold in half. So your abs spend most of the day maintaining some level of consistent contraction just to keep you upright. Planks not only help your body provide the support it needs at rest, but also when you need it most, during competition.

Front Planks, Side Planks, Moving Planks and One-Arm or One-Leg Planks are all good options to develop an iron core. Beginners should start planking on their elbows and feet, with abs and glutes contracted. Position your shoulder blades so that your back stays flat.

Check out the Shawn Porter Plank Series.

Sets/Duration: start with 30-second holds of the basic Plank and work up to two minutes. Then try some variations.

Topics: EXERCISES
Carl Galloway
- Carl Galloway, CSCS, is the head of sports performance at Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.) and a certified Olympic lifting performance coach through USA...
Carl Galloway
- Carl Galloway, CSCS, is the head of sports performance at Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.) and a certified Olympic lifting performance coach through USA...
Must See
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,100,065
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,544,302
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 2,652,841

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 224,492
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,154
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 26,383
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Dominate Your Bench Test With This Strategy

How Functional Training Has Overly Complicated Strength Training

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

4 Simple Golf Core Exercises to Increase Your Driving Distance

How Often Should You Vary Your Exercise?

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Exercise

Make Lifts More Challenging With Resistance Bands

The Best Single-Leg Exercises for Youth Athletes

3 Nordic Hamstring Curl Exercises to Boost Your Performance

Improve Your Squat Depth With 5 Easy Warm-Up Exercises

Develop Core Strength for Throwing

10 Ways to Get Stronger With a Sandbag

4 Deadlift Variations to Increase Your Pull

Master the Lateral Lunge to Improve Your Hockey Stride

How to Design a Greco-Roman Wrestling Training Program

4 Exercises to Build True Lacrosse Power

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

5 Exercises to Develop Soccer Power

4 Weaknesses That Can Ruin Your Exercise Technique (With Fixes)

Never Bench Press With Your Feet in This Position

7 Strategies for Faster Workout Recovery

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Kyle Lowry's 12-Week All-Star Training Program

7 Ways to Work Out Competitively Without CrossFit

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

A Better Way to Train Your Core

7 Best Lower-Body Strengthening Exercises

Mike Boyle's 5 Tips for More Effective Workouts

7-Exercise Core-Blasting Workout

12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

Increase Your Explosiveness with the Power Curl

Improve Soccer Agility with Lateral Strength Exercises

These 3 Single-Leg Movements Will Improve Your Squat Technique

The Science of Building Muscle: 2 Ways to Maximize Hypertrophy

Perfect Your Squat Technique With the Unloaded Squat

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

3 Post-Activation Potentiation Combos for Explosive Strength

Reach New Training Heights With Resistance Band Exercises

Mike Boyle: 4 Small Muscles That Can Lead to Big Gains

Build Max Power With These Pulling Exercises

How NOT to Perform a Pull-Up (With Fixes)