When you become tight and restrict movement, your body starts to compensate, thus forcing other parts of the body to work harder than they have to, which will eventually cause pain and injury. Mike Boyle and Gray Cook came up with the "Joint by Joint" concept that looks at each joint's function from the ground up.
Here are the basic functions of each joint:
- Ankle – mobility
- Knee – stability
- Hip – mobility
- Lumbar spine – stability
- Thoracic spine – mobility
- Cervical spine – stability
- Glenohumeral (shoulder) – mobility
- Scapular region – stability
Before every workout you should warm up using this joint by joint theory. You will set yourself up for a higher-level training session when you learn to warm up the entire system.
During the week, schedule times to foam roll, stretch, and work on your mobility. Just keep in mind, when you get hurt you can't train, and if you are not training you will not get better. Implement flexibility and mobility work into your training program at least three times a week to see improvement and reduce injury.
Component #5: Functional Strength and Power
If you lack specific strength and power, you will not maximize your performance in your sport. Functional strength is having usable strength that will transfer to the "playing field". Plain and simple, the stronger athletes excel.
As endurance athletes are very focused on their specific training they tend to forget about their functional strength and explosiveness. These traits can lead to better performance and reduction of injury. Implement strength workouts into the training program that promotes muscle balance, stability and explosiveness.
But strength and power is not lifting heavy weights with improper form. When done incorrectly you can create imbalance, a weak muscle system and poor movement qualities. Plan and perfect your movements in the gym. For every upper pushing exercise, add an upper body pull. When lifting, focus on perfecting movement, not on high-repetition work. Do not let your form suffer.
Component #6: The Mindset
The first step to achieving any of your goals is the power of believing in yourself. You must create a positive mindset that consistently has you believing in your abilities. If you show up to the gym or to one of your workouts with a negative, non-believing attitude you will have a lack-luster training session.
Mental conditioning needs to be worked on just as much as physical conditioning. We need to teach and train our thoughts to be positive. Did you know that 80 percent of most humans' thoughts are negative thoughts?
The crazy thing about that is we can do something about it: We can change our attitude, our thoughts and our mindset. But just like we prepare and train for a 5K or marathon to get faster, we must put in the mental training to improve our mental performance. Just like training the body to get faster, stronger and more athletic, we have to train our thoughts to become more positive, energetic and confident. It takes daily work for this to happen.
Here are several strategies to follow to improve your mindset:
Daily Affirmations. First, when you wake up you must create positive thoughts before you even jump out of bed. Do not wake up muttering, "ugh, another day." Say things like:
- "Today I will be my best and give my best."
- "I will move closer to my goals."
- "Nothing will get in my way."
- "I will tackle my problems head on."
- "I will drop body fat."
- "I will improve my times in my workout."