There is a large number of trainees who actually want to be fit across a broad range of fitness indicators – they want to be strong, they want to be fast, agile, flexible, and they want to have endurance. It goes without saying that the athlete and the regular person will have different training goals and different training timelines. But could the average person actually benefit from training like an athlete?
The answer is, yes – if that person could replicate the athlete’s lifestyle. Otherwise, he will have to adjust his training to accommodate his own needs. The simplest way to do this is to use techniques that athletes use to boost or improve a certain attribute. For our purposes here, strength will be used.
Strength itself has many attributes – maximal strength, explosive strength, and strength-endurance come to mind. To improve any of these three, an athlete uses certain training methodologies that ordinary people would find uncanny.
For increasing maximal strength, athlete wisdom would say to do a low number of repetitions for a few sets with the heaviest possible weights. Under-training is usually the first accusation of these people. But many athletes need to get stronger WHILE training for their sport as well – and the low volume workouts allow them to develop maximum strength while staying fresh for their technique work.
How does a non-athlete take advantage of this training technique? It’s simple, you train for strength with this technique, and try to be more active outside the gym by walking for an extra hour or even going for a few laps at the pool. These exercises will keep you moving without taking away from your strength development. You can also do abs. Here is an article on ab training.
To improve explosive strength, plyometrics and speed training are very effective. Again, the key here is to focus on the quality of the movements and not on getting fatigued. That is counterproductive for real strength work. The training effect you are looking for is an increase in strength – if you repeatedly fail repetitions, you will get used to failing repetitions, not to mention get your central nervous system fried.
For strength-endurance, the key is to use heavy weights (not too close to the maximum) with more volume. To do this, repetitions per set are kept at a minimum, but more sets are done during the workout.
The average gym goer can tweak his training routine to incorporate some of these effective strength-building