Up your game through resistance training—whether you’re a competitive athlete or weekend warrior.
By John Christie and Karen Iorio Adelson
No matter the sport, nearly all professional athletes—from swimmers and golfers to NBA champs and soccer stars—incorporate strength training into their routines. That’s because they know resistance training can improve speed, power, coordination, and resiliency against injuries.
While most of us aren’t competing at the highest level, we can still enjoy the benefits of strength training in our favorite activities. When we have a goal in mind—like a faster 5K time or a skiing season free of aches and pains—targeted performance training is the best way to prepare for those specific challenges.
What is Performance Training?
Performance training on Tonal comes in two flavors: Sports-specific programs and workouts geared toward activities including running, skiing, and golf; and general performance workouts that’ll help you develop the strength, coordination, and explosive movement that nearly all sports demand. In both types of training, you’ll focus on working through dynamic resistance to improve your movement control.
In sports-specific training, you’ll focus on exercises that either mimic movements you’ll do in that sport or work the main muscles you need to perform your best. These could be deadlifts for runners looking to build stronger hamstrings and glutes for charging up hills, or rotational exercises that mirror the movement of a golf swing for more powerful drives. You can do these programs at any point in your competitive season, although they may be best early in your prep so as to not interfere with your peak training. Your coaches in these programs will break down how each exercise translates to your performance off Tonal.
In addition to multi-week programs designed to prep you for a season of competition, Tonal also offers a variety of dynamic warmups, restorative cooldowns, and quick sessions that will help you quickly transition to and from your peak performance mode.
At-home resistance training can prevent injuries caused by the repetitive motions of a specific sport by encouraging quality movement in your tendons and ligaments. Strength training can also counteract the wear and tear on the body that commonly occurs from poor movement patterns developed in competitive sports. For example, limited hip mobility in runners can alter how your foot strikes the ground, which can lead to misalignment of the knee joint. Training movement quality and control through strength training can help you regain proper alignment and reduce pain over time.
Performance training isn’t just for competitive athletes. Even if you’re just playing catch with your kids, enjoying the occasional pick-up basketball game, or trying to hold your own in the annual family Turkey Trot, you have lots to gain from sports-specific training. The whole-body, multiplanar movements in these workouts prime your muscles and nervous system to be ready for any kind of challenge, at any level.
Check out the programs and workouts below to find one that’ll help you perform better in the activities you love.
Sport-Specific Programs and Workouts
This two-week program is an excellent primer to ski season, with a heavy focus on lower-body strength, stability, and explosive power. You’ll work on unilateral and alternate-side moves such as the racked reverse lunge and skater bounds to prepare for transferring your weight side-to-side on the slopes, and upper-body moves to train rotational stability and power for managing the twists and turns of any run you take. Though this program is designed for skiing, it’s also great preparation for water sports, board sports, or activities that involve navigating downhill terrain such as mountain biking and trail running.
The focus on full-body strength, stability, and power in this program is the perfect complement to improve your running technique and trim your pace. With her competitive running background, Coach Kristina provides valuable information on how each move helps your running. The 20-minute sessions are short (but very effective) so they complement—but don’t interfere—with your weekly mileage or race training.
Workouts for Golfers
All the moves in this collection of golf-specific workouts are designed to correlate with key elements of your game. Lower-body and rotational strength and power moves such as suitcase reverse lunge and rotational row will help add distance to your drives. These workouts also emphasize stability and control with moves such as the resisted DNS star and iso split squat single-arm chest press to improve your swing mechanics by training neuromuscular control through range of motion.
In many sports, including tennis, golf, basketball, and baseball, your hips tend to be the central force behind your performance. Over time, though, it’s easy to lose track of the importance of hip mobility and its contribution to your competitive edge. This session focuses on restoring your control, range of motion, and rotation through your hips with a series of movements and stretches.
This quick session is an excellent primer for sports as nearly every athletic endeavor requires powerful transfer of force in a dynamic environment, often from one leg at a time: Think: kicking a soccer ball, throwing a football, or shooting a lay-up in basketball This session incorporates controlled rotation through the torso, which is critical in transferring force from your hip to your arms—a skill you’ll need for throwing a ball, hitting a baseball, or swinging a golf club.
Ready your lower body, hips, torso, and shoulders with this warmup. The progressions of movement through this session are great preparation for strength or sport, building from mobility and stability into dynamic and more powerful moves.
Substitutes While on the Go
While you’re away from home, bring your Tonal programming with you via On-The-Go sessions on the mobile app. These workouts let you prepare and recover for your specific activity with purposeful coaching guidance. Filter your search by type or duration to match your needs as you’re on the move. You’ll find sport-specific mobility, strength, and recovery sessions.
During your off-season or whenever you’re able to expand your focus beyond sport-specific training, you might want to take a broader approach to your fitness. Get stronger and more powerful with a Build Muscle program or cut body fat and build lean muscle in a Get Lean program—both will ultimately boost your athletic performance. To improve how you move both athletically and in everyday life, try an Improve Fitness program.