The Lost Art Of Athleticism Part 2: How To Address Your Training Imbalances

 In The Everyday Athlete


(This is a continuation from our first blog on “The Lost Art Of Athleticism” which you can read here)

On a piece of paper write down these eight characteristics:

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

Now, for each characteristic imagine an elite athlete that embodies a characteristic. Example, Usain Bolt for Speed.

You are now going to score yourself out of 10 for each characteristic. Bolt, under speed, would score a 10 out of 10 as he is the fastest man in the world. Now, comparing yourself to Usain Bolt, how would you score yourself (be honest!)? Now, repeat this for the other seven characteristics.

Is there anything that stands out and surprises you? Maybe a lack of balance in the numbers? Most people tend to score between a 1 and 6 on each of the characteristics, with a disparity between each one.

[bctt tweet=”This is normal because as human beings we tend to focus on our strengths and play to them, forgetting our weaknesses. ” username=””]

But also, as we, the Everyday Athletes, age, we tend to stop performing some of the characteristics all together. Life just happens.

This test can quickly highlight the areas where we are potentially lacking in our own training and can be done anywhere giving us a baseline to objectively assess our own fitness or for the coach to assess that of their clients. This is our baseline and starting point. But once we have the numbers, now what?

Does Your Training Plan Contain All Eight Characteristics?

Once you’ve written down your numbers, take those eight characteristics and ask yourself if you are incorporating these elements into your training.

[bctt tweet=”It’s a simple Yes or No.” username=””]

Yes? Great! Maybe you only need a few minor tweaks, but this should not mean you’ve scored evenly across the board. Unless you’re an elite athlete. If it’s a no, well, you must ask yourself if is this because you are training for something very specific (such as a powerlifting meet)? Or, are you ignoring some of the key characteristics completely? And if so, how is this affecting your overall performance?

Applying This To The Everyday Athlete

If you’re an elite athlete, you’re potentially going to see some variations in numbers here depending on your sport. It happens because each sport is unique. However, for the rest of us, the goal is to have a balance.

Not everyone wants to compete at a sport and that’s OK. But, if you ask anyone if they would like a better quality of life, you’ll find the answer is always a resounding yes. The Everyday Athlete is not concerned with high-level competition at a chosen sport, they are more concerned with living their lives to the max. Improving each of these qualities will have a tremendous carry over to daily activity and life as a whole.

The Lost Art Of Athleticism

[bctt tweet=”We’re losing strength, speed and agility as we age.” username=””]

It’s a never-ending battle and a fight we won’t win, but ultimately, we can slow it down. In our late 20s or early 30s, we all start to lose muscle mass and function. The cause is age-related sarcopenia. Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3 – 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss.

So, it’s common knowledge that we need to hit the weights more as we age. However, speed and agility is something that is rarely spoken about and yet, as we age, we’re getting slower. It’s becoming a real problem. This scares me. Next time you are walking down the street, look around you and the number of people shuffling along. How many have lost the ability to move quickly?

The reason is that most people lose the ability to move quickly once they stop playing a sport and this, I believe, contributes to accelerated aging. More importantly, a lack of understanding around these eight characteristics causes more and more training plans for the aging Everyday Athlete that don’t contribute to speed or agility. In fact, a lot of training plans are becoming very static in nature. It’s simple: athleticism requires movement. It’s a move it or lose philosophy. Likewise for balance and co-ordination. As we age, we need to address these qualities. When was the last time you did any balance or coordination drills?

In Summary

At Strength Matters, we believe that everyone is an Everyday Athlete, and that the athletic qualities and characteristics needed to perform at an elite level also apply to the everyday person who wants to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. However, without understanding what athleticism is and the eight characteristics outlined by Bompa, you cannot truly put together a training plan to help counter the simple fact that as we age, we’re losing strength, speed, agility, co-ordination and balance.

Our goal is to help train and develop the Everyday Athlete so that they can compete to the best of their ability at the game of life, whenever it calls. So how do we put this all together? Not everyone is ready for speed and agility work, right? And what about conditioning? We’ll address in the coming weeks.

Love this article? Want to read more? Then read the following blog…

What Is The Everyday Athlete?


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Showing 2 comments
  • Yvonne

    I absolutely love your take on being an everyday athlete. I am enjoying all that I’m learning reading the blogs.

    • James Breese

      Yay! 🙂 So much more to come!

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