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
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 34,226,849
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 3,583,083
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 4,985,554

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,466
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,478
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,723
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

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,368
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,988,602
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,504
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,175,033

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

How to Improve Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

3 Simple Strategies for a Better Workout

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

Grab a Broom for This Fast-Paced, Full-Body Workout

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

Todd Durkin

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

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

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout