Efficiency: Important for the “Joes” and the “Pros”

By Eric Cressey

With respect to my line of work, the single most common question I get from friends and family is, “What’s it like to train professional athletes?”

And, when I answer, most people are surprised to realize just how similar the Average Joe or Jane is to a professional athlete – both socially and physically.

The lay population often sits in front of a computer for 8-10 hours a day, but many pro athletes have 4-8 hour flights or 10+ hour bus rides where they’re sitting – and because they’re usually taller, sitting is even more uncomfortable and problematic.  Like everyone else, they spend time surfing the internet, Skyping, playing video games, and goofing around on Facebook/Twitter.  The advances in technology have hurt everyone from a physical fitness standpoint – but brought the “Pros and the Joes” closer together, believe it or not.

Professional athletes’ sporting demands and levels of athleticism are obviously on a different level than “ordinary folks,” but they’re also very similar in that these high-level athletes want the most bang for their training buck.  Most pro athletes are no different than anyone else in that they want to get in their training, and then go to visit with their families, relax, play golf, or whatever else.  They really don’t have interest in putting in six hours per day in training outside of the times when they have to do so (namely, in-season).

With that in mind, whether we’re working with general fitness clients or professional athletes, the name of the game is basing a program largely on compound exercises that deliver a big training effect in a shorter window of time. As such, I want to use this article to introduce five of my favorite drills to get you rolling in the right direction via the most efficient avenue possible.  

Rather than just rehash the same old squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, and chin-up recommendations, I’m going to give you some variety to complement these great recommendations.  Whether your goal is to drop body fat, gain muscle mass, or get stronger, these can help your cause – and do so while improving movement quality.  We’ll start off with three great mobility exercises you can use in your warm-up:

And, of course, this article wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t give you some good tips on lifting heavy stuff.  Be sure to start light with the weights while you’re sorting out the technique, and then you can start to load them up once you’re comfortable with them. Give these a shot:

Are you looking for more innovative exercise ideas like this, as well as more overall direction with your training program?  Check out my new resource, The High Performance Handbook.  It’s the “choose-your-own-adventure” of strength and conditioning resources, as the program includes a self-assessment component that helps you to customize it to your unique needs.  It’s on sale at a great introductory price through the end of this week. 

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Arnold's charity for after school programs, After-School All-Stars. To learn more about this program that provides a safe learning environment for 92,000 kids nationwide, click here.


Eric Cressey is the President of Cressey Performance, located near Boston, MA. An author, presenter, consultant, and powerlifter, Eric has worked with clients from youth sports to the professional and Olympic ranks. Eric publishes a free blog and newsletter at www.EricCressey.com.

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