Here are 4 of the many exercises that anyone who plays a sport at any level should have in their training regime. These exercises have been chosen because of their carryover to athletic movements and for their injury prevention benefits. See how many of these you already do!
1. Bulgarian Split Squat:
This challenging and highly functional movement improves your balance and strength. Since it’s a unilateral movement (one limb) you are training the muscles in your leg similar to how you will be using them when playing. Basically if your sport requires you to run, you should be doing this exercise.
Be sure to start out with just your body weight at first and progress using dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. If you have never done any single leg work before, I suggest performing a regular split squat for a couple weeks before giving this a go.
2. Chin Up/Pull Up:
These are the king of vertical pulling movements. Having a strong back is important in injury prevention, especially in the shoulders. People often put too much emphasis on the push movements and forget to give their back some love.
Once you have mastered body weight pull ups, further increase your strength by doing loaded pull ups with a weight vest or belt. If you aren’t able to do a chin up yet, I suggest you do just the negative portion in a slow, controlled effort. Another option is lat pull-downs until you have the required strength.
3. Single Leg Deadlift:
Here’s a great unilateral movement (one limb) that develops the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and long adductors) and enhances balance. This safe, challenging, and very beneficial exercise will help make sure you don’t pull your hamstring during that quick burst. It will also help you pack on muscle in your glutes and hamstrings very effectively.
Keep the weight relatively light until you’ve got a good grasp on the hinge mechanics and your balance holds steady. Once you’ve mastered it, feel free to see just how strong you can get with these. You won’t regret it.
4. Ab Wheel Rollout:
This is easily my favorite core exercise. The ab wheel rollout develops the ability of your anterior core to prevent your lower back from extending. Basically what that means is a strong core will help keep your low back healthy.
This is a challenging exercise that I recommend doing only after you can perform a proper full plank for a minimum of 30s, preferably being able to hold for 60s. Start gradually and eventually you’ll be extending all the way out.
Work these exercises into your training program and you will reap the benefits.
Are any of these exercises one of your favorites? Leave a comment below and let me know!