Sports Specific Training is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts among personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts alike.

The problem: Thinking that exercises have to look (exactlly) like the sport you’re training for.

One of the most popular examples of this false belief is when fighters (and people who just want to train like one) are advised to do shadow boxing rounds, and perform their specific boxing techniques and combinations while working against resistance bands that are strapped around their back or anchored at a belt around their waist. Not to mention, the large amount of companies that make and/or sell exercise device specifically designed to be used for resistance band shadow boxing.

Why we feel it’s a mistake: Put simply, the movement skills required in sports like boxing that require an accuracy component are EXACT, not similar – exact.

In the video below I not only discuss the problem with using resistance band shadow boxing, I also provide you a little test you can try as a demonstration for why this common “sports specific training practice” is NOT recommend in the Performance U training approach.

To quickly summarize the take away from the video: Adding load to a sports-specific skill in the gym is, in reality, training a different skill, which can potentially throw you off your ability to perform the original sports skill.

The Performance U Sports Specific Training Solution:

As I’ve said many times, the Performance U training system integrates both “General” and “Specific” exercises.

What we classify as specific exercises is based on the SAID principle, also known as the principle of specificity, which essentially tells us that the adaptations to the training will be specific to the demands the training puts on the body.

Now, don’t get it twisted as this does NOT mean we work on skills with our specific exercise applications – that is done when the athlete is practicing their sport. What it means is that we work on improving specific force generation patterns, which transfer into target movements!

A good example of what we would call a specific exercise would be performing squat variations to improve vertical (squat) jump height. Or, performing a standing one arm cable presses or angled barbell presses to improve standing pushing strength. Even biceps curls can be a specific exercise to help a running back keep a tight grip on the ball.