I am a cyclist. My training therefore, comprises, cycling. Dumbbell curls? Marathon training? Stomach crunches? Leg weights? No. Anything else would be a waste of time. I’m a cyclist. I train for my sport by cycling. So why, when a professional player of another sport embarks on a training regime, do they work the physiological gamut?
For example: take a professional cricketer. Half of their training is spent in the nets or on the field, bowling, batting, catching, throwing, running; ultimately, practising cricket. The other half of their training is spent in the gymnasium. Why? Why does a cricketer need to build muscles that simply, he will not use in the game of cricket? In fact, the only thing this will achieve, is to make the rest of his muscles more prone to injury. You see, in order to remain supple and optimally functional, muscles require a mineral called magnesium. When a cricket player spends time building up an impressive, but largely pointless physique, his magnesium requirement is increased; thus on account of these unneeded muscles, the muscles that he does use during a cricket match will be that much more likely to strain. Same goes for any sport; why build unnecessary muscle tone? Admittedly, in the game of rugby union or rugby league, it’s more about bulk; but the fact remains, build excessive bulk and the majority of that bulk, is nothing but burdensome. Why do you think sporting injuries have increased so much over the years? Is it that physical games have become that much more demanding? Perhaps, on some level, yes. Or is it that players are so focused on growing their physiques that their bodies can no longer cope with all that unneeded muscle tone?
A typical marathon runner is practically emaciated, yet their legs possess more strength than that of most other sportspeople; these people run farther than any other sportsperson and suffer few ill consequences. Conversely, a rugby league player is one of the strongest, most fit looking sportspeople there are; they run a few intermittent kilometres during the course a game and they’ll be lucky if they can walk the next day. I know, it was a poor example; comparing contact with non-contact sports is unfair, but the point is that the marathon runner has only the strength he requires for his sport and nothing more, while the rugby league player carries with him around 40kgs of superfluous bulk. Professional cyclists have massive legs, but how much time do you think they spend with dumbbells in their hands? Less than bugger all, that’s how much.
My conclusion, which, if I’m not careful, will be lost, is that, although I understand the desire for contact sportsmen to propagate big, buff, don’t-mess-with-me-or-I’ll-smash-ya physiques; it can’t work both ways. One cannot expect to build this muscle tone in the gym, then not use it in the game, and still finish feeling satisfactorily lissome. It doesn’t work like that. So to all you non-contact sportspeople out there, if you’re not going to use the muscle in your chosen profession, for God’s sake, don’t bother building it during training.