Keep your eye on the prize: Enhanced gameplay–not performance in the gym–is the end goal

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Antoliy Bondarchuk developed a brilliant exercise classification scheme. Check it out below:

Image taken from the Altis Foundations course.

This classification system is intriguing on many levels, the pyramidal structure being insightful in and of itself. At the top of the pyramid sits “Competitive Exercises”, which includes playing the sport during live competition. The fact that this is at the top of the pyramid is a good reminder that the pinnacle of training is supposed to be enhanced gameplay.

That sounds like a “no duh” statement, but is that really how athletes (and their trainers) approach training during the offseason? Or is their training centered around getting as jacked as possible, or as strong as possible, with little thought behind how those qualities will transfer to sport performance?

Will adding 50lbs to your back squat or bench press make you a better lineman, midfielder, catcher, or libero? Maybe, but maybe not—that all depends on what will be different about you in response to adding those 50lbs to your squat.

Did your legs get bigger (more muscle), and did that extra weight slow you down? If so, that might make you a worse player. But if stronger legs will make you faster, then those extra 50lbs on your back squat might be great for you.

Athletes who blindly chase gym numbers without seeing the big picture of how these adaptations will impact sport performance are rolling the dice, hoping their hard work will pay off and make them better athletes.

Never lose sight of the end goal: enhanced sport performance. Sure, if hypertrophy will positively transfer to performance then make “getting jacked” a short-term goal. But remember that getting jacked isn’t the end-goal, it’s just a stepping stone towards being a better athlete.

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