Pillar 4: Target Weaknesses
“If you work only on what you’re good at, you may get good,” says Rooney. “But if you work on what you’re not good at and make that good too, you can become great.” This strategy improves performance and helps prevent injuries.
Exhibit A: Bolt. “I started working with Coach Mills in 2004, when I failed to qualify for the finals in the 200 meter at the Athens Olympics,” Bolt says. “Glen rebuilt me from the ground up.” Back then, Mills saw in Bolt a gifted but flawed athlete. Bolt’s height, the attribute that now seems his greatest asset, was slowing him down. He was imbalanced, Mills observed, running behind his center of gravity. He also suffered frequent hamstring injuries. Mills realized that both problems could be addressed by building Bolt’s strength, which helped him increase his stride length and maintain his maximum velocity. Longer strides would help him use his height advantage but only if his feet could hit and leave the ground as fast as his competitors’. The combination has made him unbeatable: At the 2009 world championships in Berlin, Bolt covered 100 meters in 41 strides, compared with 45 for his rivals—and set a new world record.
Exhibit B: Hardee. He excelled at sprinting and jumping in college, but struggled in the three throwing events of the decathlon: javelin, discus, and shot. Working with his coaches, he recalibrated his training. “It’s a combo of core work and explosive movement-specific drills,” Hardee says. “Plus, I was sharpening my technique for each throw and watching video.” Two world championships later, it’s safe to say it worked.
So how will you upgrade your own training? Rooney suggests making a list of your three weakest areas. These could be exercises, like deadlifts or pullups for a lifter, or sport-specific skills, like climbing for a cyclist. Or they could be overall fitness qualities like flexibility, or specific injury-prone muscles or joints. Seek guidance from a trainer to learn how to fix your weak areas, and track your progress with tests every 4 weeks.
If you find that a weak core is on your list of problems to fix, here’s a solution, courtesy of Ballantyne: It’s called 5-Minute Abs.
Do these exercises as a circuit; when you can complete three, your core is no longer a weakness.
- 1 Swiss-ball plank:(with your forearms on the ball) 30 seconds
- 2 Swiss-ball jackknife:(hands on the floor, shins on the ball; use your lower legs to roll the ball toward your torso while keeping your back flat) 20 reps
- 3 Swiss-ball rollout: (with forearms on the ball and feet on the floor, roll the ball forward as far as you can while keeping your body in a straight line) 12 reps
- 4 Side plank: 40 seconds a side
Read more at Men’s Health: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/six-pillars-olympic-fitness?fullpage=true#ixzz22FsEdiNN