The Lost Art Of Athleticism Part 1: Why Everyone Needs To Improve Strength & Athleticism As We Age

 In The Everyday Athlete


Key Learning Points:

  • Everyone is an athlete; they just don’t know it
  • Everyday Athletes should train the same eight characteristics as elite athletes, with modification
  • The Eight characteristics of athleticism
  • How to quickly assess your current training plan
  • We don’t just lose strength as we age, but speed, agility and overall athleticism as well

At Strength Matters, our philosophy is simple: We believe that everyone is an athlete.

Yes, that’s right, everyone. Now, if you just read that and are thinking, “I’m not an athlete,” stay with me. I’m going to help you unleash and discover your inner athlete. I’m also going to help you understand the importance of being athletic and having the mindset of being an athlete, for what we call, the game of life.

[bctt tweet=”We believe that everyone is an athlete.” username=”strengthmatters”]

When coaches and trainers talk and write about athlete’s routines and training schedules we have to assume that they’re referring to the elites—the 1% who compete at the highest level. Why? Because nearly every single article or video out there is “elite” this and “elite” that. I often joke that if you combine the words “elite” with “Russian” and “secret” you have an instant best seller.

These words are sexy, designed to lure you in and play on the celebrity curiosity factor that modern society thrives on. Don’t get me wrong, they lure me in too, however, after ten years of train and error that led to multiple injuries, something slowly started to click and now I think that maybe I shouldn’t be doing these Super Elite Russian Top Secret Workouts.

Why? Because the athletes, celebrities and everyone else who are “successfully” performing these routines probably have ten to 15 years of prior experience and preparation leading up to these workouts. And they probably aren’t having to deal with the day-to-day stresses of life that most people have to cope with. It might also be something to do with genetics, but hey, I’m no expert.

The day-to-day stresses could be family, work, lack of sleep, travel—you name it.Life sometimes just gets in the way of everything else. And that’s ok, because we’re on this planet to live our lives and make the most of our precious time here. You’d be mad not to. So we’ve decided that instead of focusing on training programs and strategies for the elite athletes who make up 1%, we are going to focus on the other 99%. The Everyday Athlete, which is where most of us sit.

How do Athletes and Everyday Athletes Compare?

Before we look at the Everyday Athlete, let’s first look at the qualities required of an athlete and the term “athleticism”. If you type “athlete” into Google, Wikipedia will tell you that “an athlete is a person who competes in one or more sports that involve physical strength, speed and/or endurance”. Type athleticism and you get, “the physical qualities that are characteristic of athletes, such as strength, fitness, and agility”.

Both are vague. Consider how many non-elite athletes compete in sport every weekend. Per a study in the U.K. 16 million people over the age of 16 play sport every weekend. Are they all elite? No. Should they all be training like an elite athlete? My guess would be, no. Why? Because they have lives, careers and families, and cannot commit the same amount of time and dedication as that of an elite athlete. Remember, elite athletes commit their entire lives to their sport and their risk of injury when performing these elite programs is extremely high.

Don’t forget:

[bctt tweet=”The #1 rule in training is don’t injury yourself or others.” username=””]

[bctt tweet=”The #1 rule in training elite athletes is don’t injure them. ” username=”Strength Matters”]

However, I strongly believe that the Everyday Athlete should strive to attain the characteristics of athleticism as it allows us to live a fuller, happier and more meaningful life. But what is athleticism and how do we define it? Personally, I prefer to see athleticism as a combination of the Eight Biomotor Abilities coined by Tudor Bompa. And he defines Biomotor abilities as the components of overall physical fitness.

These qualities are:

  • Speed
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Power
  • Flexibility
  • Agility

In athletics, movement is life and developing these eight skills can improve how you move and by having a better understanding of their relationship to each other, it allows us to plan our training more effectively. Each sport and position within the sport contains and prioritizes these eight skills differently. Knowing what and how much of each you need of each is key to working with the elites. For example, the strength needs of a powerlifter is very different to that of tennis player.

Now this alone can be broken down into hundreds of discussion points about the specific needs of each at every different sport, however, we’re talking about the Everyday Athlete and their needs, not the elites.

Training And The Everyday Athlete

There are many factors that go into a comprehensive strength and conditioning program, but by looking at these eight biomotor abilities we can quickly see what’s missing from our own training and can begin to address the imbalances.

You see it’s important to understand that all eight of these abilities can be performed by the human body at any given time, and in any combination. In fact, all eight abilities work in conjunction with each other at various times throughout your day-to-day life, sport/competition or even within the same movement. You may not know it yet, but they do.

Athletic goals and needs will determine which combination of abilities are trained and get the most attention. But, essentially the Everyday Athlete needs a healthy balance of all eight. However, most training plans are embarrassingly unbalanced. Too much emphasis is often placed on one ability, which can leave someone feeling strong, but without the power, speed, coordination, agility and balance needed for coping with everyday life.

[bctt tweet=”You see, life is all about moderation and balance. #alldaystrong” username=””]

Unless you’re an elite athlete, that is, and that is when all this goes out the window and it’s all about top-end performance. To address this, we first need to get a baseline assessment of where you or your clients currently sit.

We’ll go into this more in Part 2 which you can read here…

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The Lost Art Of Athleticism: Part 1
Article Name
The Lost Art Of Athleticism: Part 1
James Breese uncovers the lost art of athleticism and discusses the 7 Fundamentals of Human Movement and the 10 Components of Athleticism and why we need them.
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Strength Matters
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  • Aron

    I agree that having a balanced plan is the way to go instead of a narrow focus when training.

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