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Performance-inspired moves are the new must-haves in the gym. By performance-inspired, we’re talking about exercises that either mimic skills typically required in athletic activities and/or are used by athletes in training. These challenging compound movements are great for developing power, speed, strength, coordination, and endurance, plus they’ll help you burn calories without getting bored.

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5 Go-to Sports Performance Training Moves to Add to Your Repertoire

The following movements are slightly more technical and generally more explosive than your standard movements, so we recommend checking in with a personal trainer first (the following instructions are fairly simplified). Proper form is essential not just for a good workout, but for a safe workout, too!

1) The Box Jump

Stand facing the box a little less than arm’s distance away. Bend your knees, swing your arms back, then jump up onto the box using two feet together. Focus on swinging your arms and extending your hips. To complete the rep, stand all the way up straight, then either jump or step down.

2) The Wall Ball

Stand about an arm’s distance away from the wall with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Hold a medicine ball up near your face, elbows in front and pointed down toward the ground. Keeping your chest and gaze up (and ball near your nose), squat down; as you stand up, throw the ball up against the wall. Aim for a consistent target (ideally nine to ten feet up).

sports training

3) The Deadlift

When done correctly, the deadlift is one of the most effective movements for strengthening your core and “posterior chain” (back, glutes, and hamstrings) as well as stimulating your central nervous system. Basic starting form for the conventional version of the lift include:
– Knots of your shoelaces under the bar
– Feet about hip width apart
– Heels down
– Knees slightly bent
– Hands on the bar about shoulder width apart
– Chest up and back flat
– Shoulders just ahead of the bar
– Butt slightly up (between the level of your shoulders and your knees)

To start the movement: “push” your feet into the ground and pull the bar up, keeping your back flat. Once the bar gets past your knees, open your hips and stand all the way up. No need to shrug at the top; once your hips and knees reach full extension, you’re done. Lower the bar back to the ground with control and a flat back.

You’ll only know for sure if you’re doing this right if you have a pair of knowledgeable eyes on you, so grab a personal trainer for this one (and skip the mirror; twisting your neck to look at yourself is asking for trouble).

4) The Jump Rope

Who knew your childhood toy could be so good for you? The trick to jumping rope is to use your wrists more than your shoulders and your ankles more than your knees. In other words, keep your body relaxed, yet still and straight. For an extra challenge, try crossing your hands in front of you or turning the rope twice per jump (double under).

sports performance training

5) The Agility Ladder

There are about a gillion different movements you can do with agility ladders. To get you started, try this simple one: Stand on one end of the ladder facing the rungs. As quickly and accurately as you can, run up the ladder, putting two feet per square before moving on to the next one.

Got a favorite sports-inspired movement of your own? Let us know about it in the comments!