Opinion: Why Training Like the Pros Will Make You Unhealthy

January 25, 2013 | Lee Boyce

Must See Strength Training Videos


I know, I know. The title sounds like a contradiction. We should all look to the exemplars of strength, power, speed and athleticism as role models on whom to base our own training, right?

Time for a reality check.

The problem with the field of exercise and fitness is that the media puts out propaganda to which consumers and diehards fall victim.

We have to remember a few things about exercise. First, most of it is unnatural. I don't believe our bodies were made to go into a fixed environment and start pumping out repeats of a movement with additional weight in the quest for strength, size or athleticism. We make the decision to do these things to our bodies to achieve certain results.

Second, people are contra-indicated, meaning that each person has different needs and demands, so a mass of people should not all be doing the same thing to reach the same goal.

Third, exercise is supposed to improve health. But does it really? This is where my title comes from. (Learn how to prevent injuries.)

The media teaches non-athletes that training like an athlete is “hard core” and will produce best results. (If you've ever logged on to my website, you know I'm no stranger to challenging this view.)

The conventional wisdom about exercise makes it a conquest or a challenge that you need to meet to emerge victorious. The sad thing is that this attitude is held by people who admire athletes and believe they must train just as hard to match their performance.

No one asks whether a sport and its training are "healthy.” Yet I’ve yet to find a popular sport that actually promotes long-term health and wellness among its players. The frequent heavy lifting in football, high impact landings in gymnastics and single-side dominance in baseball indicate that these sports cause tightness, risk stress injuries and promote muscle imbalance. (Learn how to prevent muscle imbalances.) This is why the best strength coaches are those who keep their athletes injury-free.

After athletes retire, most begin to see the effects of the stresses they have put on their bodies. Bad knees and other chronic joint issues plague many retired athletes, caused by overuse and trauma they sustained to meet the demands of their sport. That's the truth.

For the Average Joe, training like a high-performance athlete won’t transfer to the field. Recreational people who engage in intense training have good intentions, but there’s an inherent flaw in their approach. Most want to set a personal record, often at the cost of form, mobility and other health-related fitness goals.

There's nothing wrong with tracking progress, improving lift numbers and getting stronger. But it would be your saving grace to think about yourself and your needs and not drink the copy-the-athlete Kool-Aid. If you're not a sports athlete, it’s time to reconsider what your actual needs are to live a long and healthy life.

Lee Boyce
- Lee Boyce is a strength coach based in Toronto who works with strength, sports performance and conditioning clients. He contributes to many major magazines, including...
Lee Boyce
- Lee Boyce is a strength coach based in Toronto who works with strength, sports performance and conditioning clients. He contributes to many major magazines, including...

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,267,361
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 197,143
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Views: 396,957
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

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,189
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,450,145
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,255
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,916
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,152,827

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

There Might Be a Good Reason Tim Tebow Looks This Ridiculous

There Might Be a Good Reason Tim Tebow Looks This Ridiculous

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

Strength Isn’t Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

Strength Isn't Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Building Brakes for More Speed

Building Brakes for More Speed

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

Build Powerful Muscles With Velocity-Based Training

Build Powerful Muscles With Velocity-Based Training

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

Olympian Carrie Tollefson's Core Workout

Olympian Carrie Tollefson's Core Workout

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

YardBarker