What Kind of Exercises Should Athletes Focus On – Sport Specific or General Purpose?
When designing training programs for athletes, one of the many factors to consider is the split between sport specific exercises and standard weightlifting exercises. For example, should swimmers be doing dead lifts and squats? And should sprinters be doing bench presses?
The answer to this question varies from athlete to athlete and factors in their specific level of development.
More often than not, a specific area of an athlete’s body will be overdeveloped in proportion to other parts of their body. Sprinters and cyclists usually have larger lower bodies than upper bodies, and boxers usually have more developed upper bodies. So, to compensate for these lagging areas, traditional bodybuilding exercises should be incorporated to a certain degree.
Take a cyclist for example. Obviously, always training on their bike will develop their legs a lot. But, it is probably a good idea to throw in some upper body exercises like the bench press to balance things out. Now, the chest and upper body is not very important in cycling, but having some balance is important for stability.
The same thing goes for boxers. Their legs get a pretty good workout when they box, but it should be supplemented with some squats and dead lifts to help them with their explosiveness and lower body power.
It is important to make sure athletes are on a balanced training program. Depending on where there strengths are, this may include both sport specific and general bodybuilding style exercises. While it sounds counterintuitive that an exercise like a bench press would be able to help a cyclist, but it is true, and it does offer some improvements. Sometimes the things you think might be useless turn out to be the most effective!