There are many different reasons why people exercise. Generally, for majority of the population, it is to look good, feel good, and lose a few pounds. This has to be the single most popular application in today's society. This is a point generally reached by many who have been sitting on their rumps for too long, shoving crappy foods down their throats...but that is for another discussion.
Majority of the time, people end up failing on their "look good, lose some weight" goal, and quit. But sometimes, you get a small group of people that actually do well. They start to get it. They change their diet, they include rigorous exercise into their regular schedules, and they become, what they lazy ones call, a "fitness nut".
Great! So they lose a few pounds, they feel good about themselves. They might even pack on a bit of muscle tissue and feel strong and in control. But what next? This is where some people begin to fall off the wagon, because they don't really know what to do next. That is why we are here to discuss application. What I mean by this is to now take that body you have overhauled, and apply it.
Sure, you could go on exercising every day, and be perfectly happy with that. However, for most people, they tend to get bored. I highly recommend you now apply yourself to something athletic. Let us remember that throughout human history, sports and games have been a pretty big part of our lives. Before there were big box gyms, weight loss pills, tv, and internet, there were games and sports to participate in that kept people lean and fit.
Again, it is perfectly acceptable to maintain a healthy lifestyle with something that interests you, but if you are one of the lucky few that enjoys 'playing', and want to get better at that thing - whatever it is - then you then need to think about training specificity so that you can properly apply yourself. This tends to be a natural progression for many, as they become fit and now feel confident in seeing what they can do!
Whether you want to sign up for a marathon, a mud run, or be a 'weekend warrior' by competing in basketball, soccer, hockey, or any other sport that you are a fan of, there comes a time when you must apply yourself to that sport and specify your training accordingly.
I have to say, this what separates a general personal trainer from a specific strength and conditioning coach. A personal trainer can be good at motivating people to get in shape, but only a sports trainer or properly certified strength coach can help you target your program to your specific needs.
The inspiration behind this blog comes from a few different videos that I saw on youtube this past week. First off, we have a man by the name of Stefan Holm doing some hurdle training. Take a minute and observe the size of this guy's legs. Do they appear big and strong to you? Not really! However, this man has trained his muscles to be as explosive and powerful as possible, allowing him to jump as high as he does here. He looks like a gazelle!
Sure, with the previous example, as well as the next one, there may be some preexisting talent here, so I am by no means saying that any 'average Joe' can go out and dunk a basketball. The point here is that it is not always the biggest muscles that make the best athlete, it is how you apply your muscles to a specific goal or task.
Next we have Jeremy Evans, who just recently won the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Competition. Again, this guy is not built like a bodybuilder. Sure, his legs are muscular, but it is his application of these muscles that won him the competition. Below is a video of him training as well as his highlights.