Pro tips to boost your personal best


Pro tips to boost your personal best

There are many subtle exercises that - if done regularly - will lead you to beating your personal best (PB) performances and aid you in your sporting achievements. These are the pro insights many competitive sportsmen employ, from power lifters to golfers, rugby players and sprinters. Add them to your training regime and watch yourself reach new highs.

Proprioception
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Proprioceptors are essentially nerve endings that tell you, with or without vision and even if someone else moves your limb for you, where your limbs and body are in space. Proprioception is not just about overall body perception, it’s about correctly positioning limbs when exerting energy. With or without injury, your proprioception can be enhanced. This is important as even though proprioception is an ‘inbuilt’ ability, it can be consciously enhanced, giving you a dynamic edge to physical activities. Stand on one leg and then the other with your eyes closed, and balance comfortably. Repeat the exercise several times either side.

Set your cardio bar

Cardio is often fobbed off as ‘basic’ exercise for those who don’t want to push for the extremities, but a timed cardio workout, at a fair pace, can add a heightened baseline fitness and endurance to any sportsman’s performance. An hour’s timed session of short sprints, kettlebells, and skipping - interspersed with good old fashioned star jumps, push-ups and sit ups with only around 30 seconds break between exercises - will raise your bar on overall strength and endurance. If you’re panting and slowing 30 minutes in, make an hour’s dedicated cardio a thrice weekly discipline, and watch your performance soar.

Sprint reps - throw in a bit of pace

Whatever your current regime or sporting discipline, put a clock to your regular workouts every now and then. ‘Sprint reps’ are reps of the same exercises you normally do, but with a dedication to time and completion to failure. So, if you normally perform three stretch exercises, and then go into a combination weights-and-kettlebells routine at the gym, start your routine and don’t break between anything keeping an even pace - pause for breath only when you absolutely can’t continue. Pushing yourself along your normal routine at a consistent pace with no break ahead - your body needs to tap out on this one - will give you a whole new perspective on your strengths, and how to chase them higher.

Machines are good, but free weights give an edge

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The modern gym sees many people favouring machine workouts - presses, squats and indeed all the major muscle groups. The reason free weights are still around is because they give an overall body strength and stability targeted work on a machine never can. Almost tying into proprioception, free weights train the body’s kinetic chains, including the small muscles that stabilise and contribute to wide range movements. Machines typically target limited groups of large muscles, but, working with free weights gets right into the fibre of your body and results in holistic strength exercise science can’t emulate with training machines. Even if you typically don’t like them, employ free weights where you can and avoid misokinetic squat machines and the like. Correctly performed exercises with free weights result in an overall strength unavailable from anything else.

The mentality of surpetition

Stop comparing yourself to others’ progress! There is only one competitor against which to measure yourself, and that is you. In the age of social media, we are bombarded with images of super fit, gorgeous people, and that visual overload can have a subconscious effect on our expectations and performance. Surpetition (a term coined by Edward de Bono, who also coined the term ‘Lateral thinking’) is about competing against yourself, looking inward, getting better and better. When you pop your head up again and look around, don’t be surprised if you’ve gone up several notches in comparison to everyone else. Surpetition is the practice of not comparing yourself to others - hard as it might be - but only to your last attained goals. Record your gym weights or speeds in activities and stick them on the fridge. Week to week, focus on improving on them and only them - never mind the power lifters and Olympic sprinters.

All of these practices are employed by some of the most competitive and dynamic sportspeople on the planet. Make them your own - make your training regime wholly yours - and you’ll attain new heights in your chosen discipline!


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