MSC Performance

Home to Birmingham Barbell Club

MSC Performance

Home to Birmingham Barbell Club

7 Ways to Improve Your Athletic Performance

Looking for some new exercises that will improve your strength, power or speed? Being an athlete means striving for improved performance off and on the field of play. With so little time within the season to focus on longer high frequency gym sessions, it’s important to pick exercises with the biggest bang for your buck.

With so much wrong information out there, I have put a roundup of awesome challenging but beneficial movements into a list. Why not introduce these into your programming?

7 Essential Movements Designed to Make You Badass


  1. Sprints

Sprinting will have the greatest transfer to field based sports, as sprinting is sport specific. A sprint is the highest velocity movement an individual can perform. The rate at which force is developed through long term resistance training has been shown to enhance sprinting ability. This is why sprinting should be programmed when an individual is fully prepared. Sprinting is taxing on the nervous system, which means the period within the year or the development of the individual should be taken into consideration. 

  1. Jumps

Improve your explosive lower body power and also sprinting acceleration with a small learning curve exercise such as a vertical or horizontal jump. It’s important to note that a strength foundation is needed if you would like to perform high amplitude jumps, for example depth jumps or single leg bounding. If you are working on your lower body strength, then please focus on landing technique and motor control of the jump before increasing intensity. 

  1. Throws

Improve total body explosive power with a variety of throws with a weighted projectile, such as a medicine ball or slam ball. Throws are great to include within your programming as there is no deceleration phase, meaning you accelerate through the movement. A throw has a simple learning curve, which makes it a great substitute for the clean or snatch when learning adequate technique is not an option, such as in-season or mobility restrictions. 

  1. Squats

Depending on the individual, it’s imperative to choose a squat pattern that best suits the individual. You need to ask yourself if you have the mobility required for correct technique, or which stage of the annual planner you are currently training in? For instance, a goblet squat will be used to train motor patterns early in the off-season, whereas a high bar back squat can be used for strength maintenance in-season. 

  1. Upper Body Push

What are the pushing demands of your sport or activity? Do you push horizontally or vertical? Do you mainly push one sided or use both arms? Exercise selection needs to be specific to focus on your particular position and replicate the movements within the gym. However, much like the squat, the exercise will correlate to the particular time within the annual planner year. Should you use a neutral grip bar such as the Swiss Barbell? Or should you press above head with a single dumbbell? These are questions that need to be asked.

  1. Hip Extension

If you would like to improve how fast you can sprint, the distance you can jump or the amount of weight you can turn yourself under within a clean, then you need violent hip extension.  Exercises that train the posterior chain need to be used, however much like the former points, progression will need to be used dependent on the mobility and strength of the individual. Start with mastering the Romanian deadlift to progressing to the snatch high pull from the hang.

  1. Upper Body Pull

A large variety of pulling movements should be used to activate potential dormant muscles which should be stabilizing the shoulder and producing posture when its most needed. Generally, the upper traps will be over overactive, and the middle or lower traps under active. Add in banded facepulls with an emphasis to starting in shoulder protraction. Also include chest supported dumbbell rows to your hips or pockets to activate the mid-portion of the back.

And there you go, 7 movements that you can integrate right now into your programming to improve strength, speed and power. Go ahead and practice the technique before increasing the intensity, and reap the rewards.