If you put all the fundamentals of fitness — strength, speed, power, mobility, agility and coordination — into one beefed up package, you’d get one seriously next-level athlete. But each of these attributes help make everyday life easier, even if you don’t reach elite status.
That’s why we created a 30-day athlete training plan so you can dominate in all areas. Designed by Christi Marraccini, a certified personal trainer and instructor and head of production at NEOU Fitness in New York City, it focuses on number one goal: unleashing your inner athlete. “Training like an athlete will improve speed, movement efficiency, and power,” says Marraccini. “It provides you with a way to push yourself in each workout and challenge yourself to do better the next time.” Because what athlete lost a game and then gave up the sport?
Whether you’re eager to get back on the court or the field, or simply want to enhance your fitness performance so you’re healthier and happier, you’ll end this one-month plan feeling like a winner. And to guarantee a first-place finish: just keep moving forward.
What Training Like an Athlete Is All About
This 30-day plan includes a mix of everything from running to strength training to recovery. “The program will provide you with the tools you need to react to any situation,” says Marraccini. If you’re actually playing a sport, just carrying some groceries or trying to dodge tourists in Times Square, you’ll get equipped with the power and agility skills you need to trample any challenge, plus the strength to conquer whatever life throws your way.
Better yet, you can scale the program to fit your fitness level. “It allows you to make exercises more challenging, as well as easier if needed,” Marraccini says. “You are also able to see how you progressed, whether that’s by counting reps or an increase in weight. It caters to anyone — regardless of athletic ability.”
The Right Way to Kick Off Your 30-Day Training Plan
Of course, we can’t just jump right into each workout. Like any smart athlete, each day you’ll begin with a warm-up routine to get your body ready to rock the workout, injury-free. For that, Marraccini created two different warm-up routines.
On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (your more cardio-heavy days), complete one minute each of high knees, lateral shuffles, jumping jacks and mountain climbers — with a 30-second round of burpees between each of these exercises. Sounds like a little more than a warm-up, right? But the key is to take it slow if you need to and focus on form. This will prep you for your conditioning days when you really rev your heart rate.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, perform these seven stretches for at least 3 reps, holding each one for no more than 3-5 seconds.
- Inchworm to Push-Up to World’s Greatest Stretch: Start standing and with legs straight, reach down to touch the floor. Walk your hands out to a plank position. Perform one push-up. Step one foot up to the outside of your hands. Bring the same hand off the floor, reach back toward your foot underneath you, then rotate to that side, bringing your arm straight up to the sky. Step your foot back to a plank, walk your hands back to your feet and stand up. Repeat from the top, moving your other foot and arm after the push-up.
- Single Leg Hip Extension: Lying on your back, plant your feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Arms should be down by your sides, palms on the floor. Extend one leg straight up toward the ceiling. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes. Lower back down and repeat. Then switch sides.
- Bodyweight Squats: Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Lower your hips down and back, keeping your chest up and weight in your heels. Bring your arms up to chest height as you lower down. Stand back up and repeat.
- Cat and Cow: On your hands and knees, round your spine and tuck your pelvis under, bringing your belly button up toward the ceiling and tucking your chin. Flow through to arch your spine, looking up toward the ceiling and pushing your belly button back toward the floor. Continue alternating between the two poses.
- T-Spine Rotation: Lying on your side, bend your top knee 90 degrees and place it on the floor in front of you. Place your bottom hand on your knee. Lift your head slightly off the ground. Straighten your top arm out in front of you and moving in a rainbow-like motion, sweep that top arm over your head to reach the floor on the other side. Return it back overhead to the start position. Repeat, and then switch sides.
- Upper Body Wall Slides: With your back against a wall, lower down so your knees are bent 90 degrees, like you’re sitting on a chair. Place your forearms and elbows against the wall, elbows bent 90 degrees. Sweep your arms overhead to touch above your head. Then lower then back down, stopping at the 90-degree bend in your elbows. Repeat.
Now that you’re raring to go, it’s time to get strong, powerful and speedy. Day one starts with Monday’s lower body conditioning workout.
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