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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Specialized Training

I was at the mega-gym yesterday and saw a guy with an unusual routine. I hadn’t ever seen any of the exercises he was doing, and kinda thought he was making the stuff up as he goes. They all seemed unconventional and awkward and I had no idea what he was thinking. Then I started to pay attention to his routine. He kept repeating the same motion. It almost looked like he was practicing a tennis ground stroke from the ready position. It wasn’t until 20 or 30 minutes of trying to decipher his regimen that I realized what he was doing.

After solving the puzzle in my head I approached him to see if I had, in fact, put 2 and 2 together. It turns out he was a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies and was strengthening the muscles he will need to pitch out of the stretch this season. All of his routines were carefully scrutinized and approved by the trainers for the Rockies. To me he looked unconventional, but they were all necessary components to his job.

It got me thinking about targeted versus general training. For most of us a general routine will work best. If done properly, a general routine will help us tone and strengthen our muscles in a uniform manner. If, however, you are a professional athlete or training for a specific challenge, you should look into a more targeted routine.

For example, if you are going to train for a 100-mile bike race, and that is your only intent, you should probably focus more on endurance and legs, than you would on say, your pecs. Sure, you will probably still work your pecs out from time to time, but putting your rear end on the saddle will better help you train for your specific task.

Likewise, this Major League Baseball pitcher needed to strengthen his core and all the muscles he will be called upon to use at his job. This is not to say he doesn’t do a general routine also, but his goal for that day was to strengthen a specific muscle group, even if it garnered some attention from the other gym members.

So the take-away I had was to keep my same general workout routine, until the time comes that I need to hone my training for a specific activity.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

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