LSU worked with a tech company called “Perch” that measures power output in the weight room, and used it to improve their performance. Basically, the team who produces the most power will run faster, hit harder, jump higher, and all other factors being equal, perform better on the scoreboard. Perch helped them to ramp up what they were doing in the offseason training program and their athletes become stronger and more powerful. LSU made a wise decision to utilize the best equipment they could and it paid off on the field.
Equipment can be your best friend in training, and it can be your enemy. Generally, speaking it’s not needed, but on the other side of the coin, it can make all the difference. Remember, paradox! In certain situations, equipment can be something you can use to improve performance, and to also manage pain and limitations.
Here are some general suggestions:
- Using your own bodyweight is best in most but not all cases, because it’s free, simple, and easy to use.
- One of the best reasons to use equipment is to use weights to gain strength, bone density, and strength.
- Keep it simple and focus on weights, bars, and dumbells, because they are the best and most versatile type of equipment you can have to build strength.
- A good mat is probably the most important thing to have, and make sure it’s a good one. Bad mats are really bad.
- Exercise bands are inexpensive and good for training as well as stretching.
- Running on a treadmill is only for terrible weather, otherwise it’s better to go outside. Treadmills are expensive, unnatural, boring, hard to maintain, and not comfortable.
- Medicine balls are great to build power and strength and can be fun.
- Next to basic weights, mats, and medicine balls, cable machines and dip and chin bars are the best thing to have.
- A stationary bike can be good, because arthritis becomes a factor with aging.
- Sandbags are fun and versatile.
- An adjustable step bench is very flexible and adaptable and only costs about $100.
- Foam rollers, massage balls, and bands are all great for recovery and stretching.
So if you’re going to buy equipment:
- Buy some simple weights for building and maintaining muscle.
- Add a few things here and there but keep it simple and cost effective.
You can do a great workout without equipment. As a matter of fact, there are elite athletes of all sports who don’t use much at all in the way of equipment. Particularly for athletes who don’t need a lot of muscle mass, like swimmers and runners, body weight training will often suffice. Often it stands in the way as a distraction from hard work. But make no mistake it has its place. If you use it correctly, it can make a big difference.
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