The most important moves I do are compound lifts—like deadlifts, bench presses, and squats—because they train the neural pathways of my brain to actively fire multiple muscle groups at the same time. That way, I’m priming those signals—whether from my brain to my fingers (to pick up that bar) or to my hips (for power to lift)—to perform optimally even if I’m not exercising.
Secondly, deadlifts work your grip like no other. Even after I’ve played eight hours a day (or even all night), my finger movements still feel effortless; I’ve trained them to adapt to the constant demands I put on them. A lot of gamers like me, who play first-person-shooter games, struggle with forearm and finger strength.
But doing deadlifts with a mixed grip—one overhand, one underhand—makes holding a controller for hours much easier. I also deadlift with heavier and heavier weights, so when I’m playing multiple days in a row at a tournament, the constant stress of holding the controller doesn’t bother my hands. My brain and body are equipped to work in tandem.
Michael “Flamesword” Chaves is OpTic Gaming’s Halo master and resident gym rat. Follow him on Twitter.