Top Four Exercise Categories Every Training Program Must Have

There’s literally tens of thousands of exercises you can do to train for your sport in a gym, some common, others not so common. When designing your own program and deciding on what to include, there are some exercise categories that can have a huge impact on your training results.

There are some elements of training for sports that are pretty common amongst most programs; concepts such as it is important to train using both strength and power exercises, to make sure you emphasize both the upper and lower body in your workouts and that you should include energy system training in your program, the new term that old-school “cardio work” is now know as.

But there are other elements that can be included in your program that most athletes do not realize the impact of when designing their training plan. Remember, the ultimate goal of training is to improve your performance in your sport.

What if someone gave you the inside secret that allows top athletes to shine in their sport? Top athletes make sure they have a training program that maximizes the time and energy they put into working out, creating lasting results and performance improvements.

Here are four of the most impactful exercise categories that I have found are missing in a lot of athlete’s training programs. I have put together a short video explaining some examples in each category so you’ve got plenty to work with when you get back into your training routine.

Exercise Category #1
Soft Tissue Mobilization

Top athletes know that training and competing hard really beats up their body. They are tight, tired, stiff and sore after a practice or game and athletes push themselves hard in each training session.

But in a training situation you can’t get a massage every time you train, practice or play a game. Nor can you spend time in the clinic getting treated for every ache and pain.

So, how do top athletes overcome the discomfort and restricted motion that inevitably occurs after all the work they do? Enter the concept of soft-tissue mobilization.

What is soft-tissue mobilization? Basically it’s a quick and easily implemented way to gain some of the benefits of getting a sports massage treatment but being able to do it at the gym or following your activity. It’s loosening up your muscles and connective tissue so that most of the restrictions are gone before its time to play, practice or train.

Using a foam roller, softball, lacrosse ball, PVC pipe or medicine balls, you can literally feel like a rejuvenated athlete after spending a bit of time working on mobilizing your soft tissue.

Check out the soft tissue video on the right to see a couple of key areas to roll out and gain the benefit of this type of exercise.

Exercise Category #2
Dynamic Flexibility Work

Long gone are the days of doing a warm-up and then just going right into your power or lifting exercises. Top athletes know they need to reinforce full range of motion in key areas of their body.

How can you do that without enrolling in a yoga class or spending what seems like hours every day stretching?

Top athletes use exercises called dynamic flexibility and perform them prior to engaging in the main part of their workout so that their body is ready and capable of moving through a full range of motion in all movements.

In addition, top athletes build these dynamic flexibility exercises into the circuits they are performing in their workouts. So instead of just sitting there taking a rest after performing a lift, athletes will perform a dynamic flexibility exercise during their rest time.

Here’s a video on the right of some great dynamic flexibility exercises you can build into your training routine.

Exercise Category #3
Stability-Based Training

Training programs should emphasize strength and power development but one of the key concepts top athletes include with these two points of emphasis is stability-based training.

Why stability? Think about how effective a cannon would be if you tried to fire it while sitting in a canoe. I don’t see anything positive in that situation.

If you want to harness the power of the cannon, you need to anchor it to the ground in order for it to be effective.

Same thing applies for athletes, no matter how strong they get in specific movements; they will need the stability within their body to be able to apply that strength in competition.

Check out these stability based exercises in the video on the right that you can perform in your training program.

Exercise Category #4
Lateral-Based Training

Sports are multi-planar events; that means, they demand performance in all planes of motion. But most strength training exercises demand just vertical loading; you are lifting a bar or dumbbell against gravity.

One of the most under-rated methods of improving your performance is to incorporate lateral movement training into your program. This can be lateral strength training, core development, lateral power exercises and lateral movement skills.

Check out the lateral movements video on the right to learn some exercises you can incorporate into your training program.

So now you have the inside scoop on how to train like an elite athlete.

Take the exercises here and put them to good use in your program. Remember these tips will help you gain an advantage over your competition and allow you to maximize your preparation efforts in the gym.

Soft Tissue Mobilization

Dynamic Flexibility Work

Stability-Based Training

Lateral Based Training