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Go from weakling to warrior by building
these two exercises into your routine

Goal: Performance
Bodyparts: All

You train to look great but you also want to BE great. But if you're getting burned deep in your flag football league, or if your above-the-rim game has started to head south, it's likely due to two things: the burden of age and the lack of training specificity. You see, as a teen, you have the athletic stock that allows you to cut, jump, slant and sprint with the best of 'em for hours on end. As you creep out of your athletic prime, those gifts begin to diminish. No longer privileged to train for your weekend sports five days a week, it makes sense that you'd start to lose your edge on the court or on the field. This is where your gym savvy can pay big dividends. Without drastically altering your current training split, you can bolster athletic performance while also increasing immunity to nagging injuries that arise from intermittent competition. Chris Phillips, CSCS, a California-based performance coach and owner of Compete Performance ( suggests building these two exercises into your weekly split in order to start recapturing some of your athletic prime today.

Surprised to see this move in here? Don't be. This upper body staple can help to drastically improve upper body strength which comes in handy for gaining position in the post, shrugging off a defender or swinging for the fences. It also boosts strength and stability to the shoulder girdle, which is highly susceptible to injury in recreational athletes.

>> Phillips Says: "This is real simple and can see progress fairly quickly. We often utilize a superband to assist the athlete, especially when just beginning. Hang the band over the pull-up bar and place one knee in the band. The elasticity of the band will assist the athlete during the pull-up making them attainable by most people."

Do this: Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps once or twice per week. When you can complete more than 12 reps, alter hand spacing or add weight.


Single-Leg Squats
Sure, you can squat with three plates on each side but how many can you do using just your bodyweight on one leg? This highly-underrated exercise provides a huge boost for athletes since most of what they do is done on one leg. This mimics the hip extension that occurs on a traditional squat but calls a host of supporting muscles into play, again fortifying you against injuries to your hips, hamstrings, glutes, quads and groin.
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>> Phillips Says: "Stand on one leg in front of a flat bench with the other leg above the ground in front of you. Slowly sit down just touching your butt to the bench and then standing back up. This is a great lower body strength and stability exercise. As you get better, you can always hold a weight in front of your chest to increase the force. These are much safer than typical squats, they add a stability component and are more specific to sports since most athletes are on one foot more often than two."

Do this: Start with 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per leg after your heavy leg work.

Here are two more ways to boost performance in all of your other athletic pursuits:

1. SPRINT: This fundamental activity is crucial in most sports. Build them into your routine by using sprint intervals for your cardio once or twice per week, sprinting for 15 seconds with 45 seconds of active recovery in between.

2. STRETCH: Regular stretching aids in recovery, improves flexibility and reduces your risk of injury. But save it for after workouts and games. Research shows that static stretching prior to exercise can reduce force production. Instead, do 5-10 minutes of dynamic activity such as jogging and jumping jacks prior to exercise or competition.