Why do we work out? Some people work out because they know they are supposed to. Some people work out because they don’t want to be fat. Some people work out because they want to have big muscles. Some people work out to have something to do. There are plenty of other reasons I’m sure, and one of them is to work out to be better at other stuff. That “stuff” could be basketball, ice hockey, dancing, running, intercourse, singing, whatever. HOW you work out can play a direct role in how much better it makes you at that “stuff”.
Let’s use an example here. I played basketball, so let’s look at that. In order to play basketball well, you need to be strong enough to fend off contact, you need to be quick, you need to be able to jump high, and you need cardiovascular speed AND endurance. How would I train for that? Well, I suppose I could jump on a bunch of machines at the gym and hope that does the job. Newsflash! It probably won’t. I need to increase my quickness so I’ll be doing agility drills and change of direction exercises. I need to increase my jumping, so I’ll implement plyometrics and power exercises. I need to get strength while I’m on the move, so I won’t just be doing bench presses and lat pull downs. I’ll incorporate ViPR strength exercises with rotations and push presses with leg drivers. For cardiovascular speed AND endurance, I’ll stick with my sprints and intervals on the track. Basketball is a change of speed game, so I’ll simulate that with my training.
Now take whatever it is you are working out for. Are you an athlete? Maybe a weekend warrior? What is it you want to be better at? If you are working out for fat loss, what is the programming you are doing to make sure it falls in line with that goal? If you are working out to be better at playing with your kids, are you squatting, turning, rotating, and lifting and pulling combined? That’s what you’ll be doing with your kids, so why would you train by sitting on a machine, or walking on a treadmill? You aren’t going to just be inherently good at playing with your children when you don’t practice moves that can be applied to that situation.
Carryover. That’s what this is all about. You need training that carries over to activity you do outside of training. Sitting in a machine doing leg extensions won’t make you better at jumping when you compare it to actually jumping for exercise. How does your current exercise transfer to what you are trying to do?