The Myth of Sports-Specific Exercises

Read time: 1 minute

Fitness professionals like to complicate things more than necessary. Take sports conditioning, for example.

They talk specialized programming, the various qualities of strength, training cycles, and countless other variables. They’re valid factors, but they’re mostly based on studies done in a vacuum and under limited conditions.

I believe that these factors are mostly irrelevant for the average person desiring to excel in recreational sports.  

Fitness professionals sell the concept of specialized conditioning (exercise to enhance a particular sport) to their clients. (Really it’s a way to sell a service.)

This specialized conditioning program, however, is virtually useless for the average person, unless he/she has reached at least 95% to 100% of maximum potential in that sport — in other words, elite or professional level.

Only at this level can specialized conditioning give a slight edge. But until then, train hard in the sport itself. Enhance your performance with skill practice, intense drills, and game participation… not specialized exercises in the gym.

8-Olympic-gold-medalist Michael Phelps was forbidden by his coach to go near a gym until he maximizes his development as a swimmer. Only after maximum development as a swimmer could a specialized conditioning program give him an extra edge.

There are many other examples of elite athletes not using a specialized conditioning program, yet excel at their sports. 

If you’re like me and have a real job, friends, family, and a life, but you also want to participate in recreational sports (even at a serious level), then just make your body fit, strong, and sport-ready. A general — but good — exercise program will more than suffice.

Don’t waste time and effort on a specialized conditioning program that does little for your recreational sport endeavors. Just be fit, strong, and healthy.

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