So, you are looking to get in better shape? It might because you are currently unhappy with your physique, because you want to be physically strong enough to enjoy your favorite activities or to reach a healthier body mass index.
Or, perhaps you are an athlete who is looking to take your abilities to the next level?
At the end of the day, your reasons for wanting to improve your strength and conditioning are irrelevant. What matters is that you go about doing things the right way.
Strength and conditioning is a science, and there is still a lot to be learned about how the human body works. There is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to strength and conditioning. Doing things the wrong way typically leads to lots of wasted effort, frustration, and limited gains.
This article will highlight some common mistakes you should avoid when you start a strength and conditioning program.
1) Using workouts made for bodybuilders
This is one of the most common mistakes people make when they start a strength and conditioning program. Sure, it is better to train like a bodybuilder than to spend all your time eating chips and playing video games, but, unless your goal is to become a bodybuilder or look like one, you should not be imitating their workout routines.
Bodybuilders tend to be worried about one thing in particular, which is how good their body looks. They are not concerned about being strong, having good cardio or improving their endurance.
It’s easy to get drawn into working out like a bodybuilder since there is more information available about those types of workouts than anything else. Many people who get into weightlifting like many of the features they find on bodybuilders, and, for most non-athletes, improving the aesthetics of the physique is often the top priority.
If you just want a more buff physique, feel free to use bodybuilding workouts. However, if you are starting your strength and conditioning routine because you want to perform better as an athlete, you would be better off finding a workout that is designed specifically for your sport.
For example, if you want to improve your strength and conditioning to improve your BJJ game, you should find a workout plan that is made specifically for BJJ players. It might take a lot longer to find than a bodybuilding workout, but it will show you how to target the muscles that you use the most when rolling.
Try to include lots of compound motions when coming up with a strength and conditioning program for a specific sport. Your muscles rarely perform in isolation when playing any sport, and, generally speaking, you want to include many exercises that mimic the motion made when competing. For example, hip thrusts are a great exercise to add to a BJJ strength and conditioning program since it imitates the hip motion that is often used in the sport when bridging and passing.
2) Not adding mobility exercises
Mobility exercises are often ignored when most people draw up fitness programs. Most people want to be stronger and faster, but few realize how much mobility plays into all that. It is impossible to have perfect biomechanical control and motor-control, but these things can be significantly improved.
Improved mobility means muscles are more efficiently used when you work out and compete. Limited mobility affects your ability to perform moves correctly, so workouts become less effective.
Mobility goes past stretching for a few minutes. You need to dive a lot further than that, but yes, stretching is the bare minimum when working to improve your strength and conditioning.
3) Too much low-intensity cardio
This is one of the biggest misconceptions that people have, that low-intensity cardio is always great for strength and conditioning. Sure, it has its place, but most people tend to overdo it. We have all watched popular movies like “Rocky” where the hero is shown jogging to dramatic music as he prepares to face his arch-rival.
The problem is, there are not that many sports where it is actually helpful. If you are a long distance runner, then sure, add lots of low-intensity cardio to your workouts. However, if you are preparing for an explosive sport, low-intensity cardio would not be as helpful. Many sports require short bursts of energy that are followed by periods of low activity. What such a person needs is high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
HIIT training takes less time than low-intensity training and it can provide better results. It leads to greater fat burn and cardiovascular endurance. It is also easier to integrate with strength training, and it is kinder to your lower body — particularly your joints.
4) Neglecting what you are training for
Regardless of how effective your strength and conditioning program is, you still need to practice your sport. A BJJ player will not become significantly better by improving their strength and conditioning, but neglecting their training, and neither will someone who does Muay Thai.
A strength and conditioning program is more effective when you are simultaneously working on your skills in whatever activities you want to get better at. Make sure you do not get to the point where your strength and conditioning program becomes a bigger priority than sharpening your skills.
Get better at what you do and you will get the most out of your strength and conditioning program.
Most high-level athletes recommend strength and conditioning programs to all who take part in physical competitions. It gets your body in optimal shape to perform the moves and techniques that are part of your sport. When done properly, it will make you stronger, faster, leaner, healthier and more athletic.
If you are looking to take your martial arts skills to the next level, consider starting a strength and conditioning program.