Come with me as I travel to an alternate universe in which I have a 5 year old son. Stop laughing it could happen in real life. In fact it may have already happened which is why I change my phone number every other week.
Look how much fun they’re having!
Now if I had a son I would immediately transfer onto him all my unachieved hopes and dreams. These hopes and dreams mainly involve me playing in the NHL as a beloved 3rd line grinder on an original 6 team who occasionally pots a dramatic OT winner in the playoffs, gets the girl, wins the lottery, and then becomes the first man to successfully train a shark to do his bidding.
Apparently this fire haired fellow beat me to it.
I cannot achieve these dreams at this point and if my alternate reality son…lets call him Jarome…is to become this hero of whom I just spoke than he is going to need to be skating by day 2 and attending hockey camps and hockey specific dry land training just as his fists start to uncurl. This to most people seems like the best way to get their son, who probably won’t hit puberty until he’s 17 and who doesn’t really like hockey, to make it to the NHL. DREAMS ACCOMPLISHED! I LOVE YOU JAROME!
Myself, Jarome, and some woman who photo-bombed our picture.
On a more serious note if I had a 5 year old son I would have him enrolled in gymnastics. Mainly so that he can wheel mad broads, but also because of the fact that it will get him generally physically prepared to play any sport that he so chooses; and he will play sports. PIANO IS NOT A SPORT JAROME!
In fact General Physical Preparedness (GPP) is the best way for athletes of all ages to excel at their chosen sport.
GPP simply involves developing an athletes general conditioning to improve strength, speed, endurance, flexibility, structure and skill. This can be done through bodyweight training, strength training, strongman style training (use of odd shaped implements), and even everyones favorite Crossfit. GPP is the foundation upon which sport specific skills should be built.
The old school Soviet Strength and Conditioning Coaches emphasized GPP for all their athletes before they developed specific sport skills. They produced some of the most dominant athletes that the world has seen. They also had some pretty great PED’s but that’s besides the point.
GPP in action.
Whether you are a wrestler or a lacrosse player getting yourself stronger, increasing your balance and coordination, and becoming tougher in general will make you a better athlete. There is no need to be preforming ‘sport specific’ drills if you want to get faster or more physically intimidating on the field, court, or ice surface.
Getting faster does not involve dancing around on speed ladders or running around with a parachute attached to your waist.
If you want to go from this:
mixed with this:
Here is what you should be doing.
Dan John summarizes the basic movements which should be mastered by athletes and the general population as Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, and Loaded Carry. If you utilize these 5 movements in your training program than you should be good to go. The one that I think goes the most under-utilized is the loaded carry.
When I added loaded carries into my own training I noticed an almost immediate increase in my strength, muscle gaining ability and overall endurance. I literally started to get thicker in my forearms, neck, chest and abs. I felt more confident and stable during dead-lifts and squats and I just generally felt more ready to preform any type of physical task. Athletes should be utilizing loaded carries in their workouts if they have any desire to dominate in their chosen sport. Here are three loaded carry variations that you can use to become like my son Jarome.
Zercher Sandbag Carry
You can buy a sandbag online, make one yourself or if your lucky enough your gym might have them for you to use. You can easily find out how to make one online, or you can just grab an old duffle bag, buy an 100 pound bag of gravel from your local hard wear store and get to work.
For the zercher carry just hold the bag in front of you at chest level and hug it to yourself.
Farmers Walk/Suitcase Carry
Pretty simple. Grab some heavy dumbbells and go for a walk. For the suitcase carry just grab one. For both exercises make sure that you are keeping your core tight, shoulders back and chin tucked.
Pretty simple once again. Grab some dumbbells, a weight plate, or a sandbag and walk with it over your head. Don’t drop it on yourself.
How often and How far?
You can preform these movements up to three times a week as a ‘finisher’ for your regular training session. A 50-100 foot walk there and back is usually good. 2-3 sets of this should do the trick.
This human knows what I’m talking about.
So there you have it. If you have a young child get them involved in gymnastics or an activity that teaches them basic balance and coordination skills. They will gain strength safely, learn how to coordinate their bodies, and learn how to do backflips; which are awesome.
If you are a young athlete who wants to get better at your chosen sport, get stronger. Drag a sled, put a sandbag over your head, take some heavy dumbbells for a walk.
If you are just a regular dude or dudette, such as myself, who wants to build some muscle and burn fat, carry some heavy shit around and you will surely reap the rewards. Guaranteed or your money back!