Guest Column: A Better Version of You | VailDaily.com

Guest Column: A Better Version of You

Jimmy Pritchard
Make it Count

Regardless of what sport or activity you partake in, requisite strength is necessary.

Athletes and average gymgoers alike must establish a solid base before considering other endeavors.

It is naive to believe that one can jump into anything and perform their best without a solid base. Time after time I've witnessed athletes dedicate zero time to strength development and focus only on "sports-specific" movements. Similarly, I've seen an alarming number of average gymgoers attempt power lifts, or high-volume programs without any strength base.

Give your body the base it needs

Strength is comparable to the foundation of your home. You'd never consider building anything without the proper base. No matter what the home is made of, or what luxurious materials are inside, it will topple. The same principles apply to your body. You may acquire fantastic skills, or increase your aerobic capacity, but eventually you will break down because you never gave your body the base it needed to support those demands.

Invest in yourself, and become "strong enough." I say this in quotations because it will vary for everybody, but seek out a level that allows you to handle the demands of your activities. After you've reached that level, maintenance is key. You don't have to dedicate your life to strength training, but you certainly can't exclude it.

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Seek to improve on multi-joint, compound, athletic movements. If you have little time to spare, then this will be the best bang for your buck. Squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, presses, carries (and dragging) are all forms of movements you can work on. In addition, these will likely transfer to greater sports performance than most of the "sports-specific" movements out there. Remember, strength training provides you with the tools for sport, but the only way to improve in sport is to practice it. Don't overcomplicate it — sports require fine motor skills and that's not our goal in the gym.

I urge you to find time for training two to three times a week. Train most exercises in the five to eight rep range for strength with proper technique. Add weight, extra sets and intensity to continuously get stronger. You will find that it is not linear and some days will be better than others, but most importantly: be consistent. I hope you find these tips helpful and useful. Thanks for reading.

Jimmy Pritchard has a B.S. from Colorado Mesa University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the assistant strength coach at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Pritchard's passion is to help others meet, and often exceed their goals in all areas of fitness. Contact him at 970-331-3513 or jpritchard@skiclubvail.org