The Fit 5: Sports Training


For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Facebook page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen.

This week, Sean Hyson C.S.C.S., Group Training Director for Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Fitness magazines, answers questions about how to train to be a better athlete.

Be sure to read up on all of Sean’s articles here on or in Men’s Fitness and Muscle & Fitness magazines each month.

You can also catch Sean on Twitter

1) Golf Training — asked by Jared Stopford

Do you have any specific exercises to improve my golf game? I read a lot about professional golfers (Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood) benching, deadlifting and squatting heavy weight, but will too much muscle negatively affect my swing?

“If you carry a lot of muscle in your chest, it’s possible that you could restrict your range of motion on your swing. But unless you are a bodybuilder or a very big guy, that isn’t too likely. The main lifts like bench press, squat and deadlift will all have a positive impact on your game because they strengthen the body overall, but to improve swing power, do rotational exercises as well. It would also be wise to do more volume of rotation work in the opposite direction that you swing so you can help offset the imbalances you get from lots of repetitions of your golf swing.”

2) Surfer’s Endurance — asked by Brad King

I’m an avid surfer and just changed to lifting heavier than I normally do to put on some extra muscle. Seems like it has really effected my paddling. My question is, will going from lifting high reps and medium weight to lower reps with heavy weight effect my endurance for paddling?

“If you do nothing but low-rep work, your paddling endurance will suffer. It’s simply a matter of specific adaptation. Low-rep work will certainly be useful to you, but do some higher-rep back-off sets to keep up muscle endurance. Or divide your week into heavy, low-rep days and lighter, high-rep days.”

3) Soccer Strength — asked by Tommy Ludan

What’s the best way to keep working out for soccer without completely exhausting your legs, and neglecting the upper body?

“Any well-balanced strength program can improve soccer performance. Training your legs will improve their conditioning and make it easier to run up and down the field. If you’re concerned about burning them out, just don’t train legs before a game. Make sure you train upper and lower body with equal attention. It may seem like soccer is an all-lower body sport, but a strong upper body keeps things in balance and can help you run faster.”

4) Basketball Ups — asked by Ricky Lafont

How do I increase my vertical jump and get a quicker first step in basketball?

“Increasing your jump begins with strengthening your legs, so be sure to use squats and single-leg exercises in your workouts. You must also work on your jumping technique. Stand with feet about hip-width and raise your arms overhead. Dip your hips and knees fast, bend your torso forward (but keep it straight), and throw your arms back. Jump as high and straight as you can. Using the arm swing and getting that counter-movement in before you take off makes a big difference. To work speed, get into a push-up position and then take off into a sprint for 25 yards. Don’t just stand up and run. Come out of the push-up at a 45-degree angle, driving one knee at a time to your chest. Do eight sprints like this, resting fully between each.”

5) Imbalanced Muscles — asked by Joshua Huynh

What’s the best method of training to overcome non symmetrical muscle strength?

“If you mean how to even out imbalances between limbs, do only as many reps with your strong leg/arm as you can with the weak one. In other words, stop short of what you can really do. The point is not to let the imbalance get worse. Work the weak side first in every unilateral exercise and it should catch up eventually. If you’re asking about how to balance strength on both sides of the body—as in your pulling exercises are weaker than your pushing ones—cut back on all pressing by about a third. Make sure that you do two or three times the sets for pulling exercises in a week that you do for push moves. This is a good guideline for everyone to keep their shoulders and hips balanced.”