Being a student-athlete is a full-time job. It’s not always easy to balance school assignments, practices, games, travel, training, and the list goes on and on. The demanding schedule of a high school or college athlete can take its toll on the body, but your training schedule should not impact your performance.
Chances are your sport involves full-body movement patterns. So why commit yourself to single-body training sessions? The ever-popular “bro split” approach to training may work for those who want to look good in the mirror, but it may not be the most effective way to train for an athlete.
The body part approach to training can demand up to 5-6 days in the gym. And when life happens, it can throw off your training schedule. Miss the gym due to illness or travel schedule for games? Now you are out of sync with your training and frustrated you missed “arm day.”
Taking a full-body approach to strength training can offer student athletes many benefits. This training style can be flexible and time-saving. Chances are, when you are conditioning, practicing, and playing your sport, the entire body is involved. So why not train the body in a manner that complements what you do on the court, the field, or in the ring?
The muscle in your body does not know how to track sets, reps, or training splits. Muscle adapts and strengthens with tension. One does not need to perform several exercises to hit each area of the body. Train smarter, not harder, and focus on compound movements that hit major muscle groups and
Full-body training approach
When it comes to full-body strength training, simple goes a long way. Five or fewer exercises, and you move on with your day. One such approach could be the following:
- Warm-up: Jumping jacks for 3 minutes
- Lower body movement: Walking lunges 2-3 sets to fatigue
- Push movement: Push-ups 2-3 sets to fatigue
- Pull movement: Pull-ups 2-3 sets to fatigue
- Core movement: Plank 2-3 sets to fatigue
Another approach could be:
- Warm-up: 30 burpees
- Bulgarian split squats 2-3 sets to fatigue
- Dumbbell chest press 2-3 sets to fatigue
- Mountain climbers 3 minutes
Benefits of full-body training
- Less strength training sessions during the week. This allows more time for
- practices, games, and school-related work. And if you miss a session, there is no scrambling to rework the entire routine.
- Utilize rest days between to focus on conditioning workouts, skill work, balance, or general soft tissue recovery work.
- Our bodies are designed to move and work as a whole. This style of training can help with overall coordination and neuromuscular control.
- Greater recovery time.
- Boost in strength. With a full-body approach, you are hitting the muscles three times a week with recovery in between. With a split body approach, you may only be working for a muscle group once or twice a week. Your session volume may seem low, but collectively over the week, the overall volume of work on the muscle is high, thus forcing the tissue to adapt.
The goal of an athlete is to improve within their sport. Strength alone will not equal success. An athlete must have a balanced approach to training strength, agility, plyometrics, balance, skill work, and recovery. Effective full-body strength training can provide more time and flexibility to incorporate conditioning sessions or to work on lagging skill sets. It comes to training smarter, not harder. Try working on a full-body strength training program for 4-6 weeks and see how it can better fit your schedule as a student-athlete.