The “Train Like An Athlete” MYTH

Ever seen those ads – maybe on late night TV or on YouTube or wherever?

You know the ones – “train like an athlete – look like an athlete.”

The ones where some lean 20-something year old is jumping on a box, or doing “speed work” running around cones with an “intense” look on his face?


What a load of hooey.

Sumo wrestlers are athletes.

Want to look like one of them?

Having trained college athletes for a living, let me tell you EXACTLY how an athlete trains.

He / she devotes usually 2 to 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, 6 during the competitive season, to his sport (including actual competitions, which depending on the sport can be several times on that day).

Do you have that kind of time to “train?”

Didn’t think so.

Me neither.

Here’s how an athlete’s training session (called “practice”) usually looks:

20 minutes to warm up, stretch, etc
30-60 minutes technical / skill work / practice
30 minutes drilling old and new skills
30 minutes or so doing live “game play”
(20-30 minutes strength training)
10-30 minutes cool down, usually in the training room

Of course, this is just a rough estimate and changes depending on the sport.

For example, I wrestled for a semester in college.

Practice started at 4.

Which means we had to be on the mat before 4.

We were done at 630 – 715pm when we had strength training after practice.

And when I trained wrestlers?

The varsity guys met me in the morning before school started for about an hour.

Then they went to class.

Then they came to practice later that day for another 2 to 3 hours.

And my wife’s volleyball team, which I was the strength coach for?

Their pre-season, which started approximately 3 weeks before classes, were approximately 6 hours a day.

I think you can see my point here, right?

So what then do we do?

Well fortunately for us, we have kettlebells. :-)

And KBs can (but not always) compound our results and shorten our training time.

We get stronger, more explosive, more mobile and flexible, all from one convenient hand-held piece of equipment.

This is a great deal for us because it can actually allow us to train as close to the way an athlete trains without experiencing any negative ramifications.

For example –

The KB Ballistics – Swings, Snatches, Cleans, etc. are like jumping – without jumping.

That means less impact on your joints.

Which of course is good news for someone who’s been sitting on his or her butt in front of a computer for the last 10 to 20 years.

Here’s another “secret” about training athletes:

Athletes periodize their training.

That means:

1. They plan their training relative to their competitions.

2. They’re training plan is broken up into phases to work on the physical needs of their sport necessary for them to win in their respective competitions – Working on different motor qualities such as strength, speed, power, endurance, strength-endurance, power-endurance and so on.

Here’s an example:

Off-Season – Fixing major weaknesses, building upon strengths

Pre-Season – Training specific needs for competition

In-Season – Maintaining what was built in the off and pre-seasons in order to win

Post-Season – Recovering from a rigorous competition and preparing for Off-Season

For best results with your kettlebell training, you should be doing something similar.

(If you’re not, it’s probably the #1 reason why you’re not seeing the results you want. You shouldn’t be on a fat loss program year-round.)

Since you’re most likely not competing, you should structure all your training around one thing:

Getting Stronger.


Because your life depends on it.

I like what strength coach Mark Rippetoe says:

“Strong people are harder to kill.”

Jack LaLanne was a perfect example.

He died at 97 or 98.

From complications from pneumonia.

97 or 98.

Not a bad length of time to live.

However –

Trying to tackle “getting stronger” head on isn’t always the smartest thing to do.


Because there are several different ways to get stronger.

3 actually.

(Besides the obvious fact of directly training to get stronger.)

And they should be cycled.

Here’s the cycle you should use if you’re serious about getting stronger and leading a long, healthy, happy, vibrant life.

It’s the real way to train like an athlete, without spending 3 plus hours a day doing so.

In fact, you can do it in just 30 minutes a day.

Stay Strong.


PS – Want some real world examples of how “real” athletes train?

Check these out:

This is Joe Kenn. You’ve probably never heard of him before.
















He’s the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Carolina Panthers. (Professional American Football Team for my International friends.)

Please notice who he tagged in that pic.

That’s right –

Original Strength.

And you’d be right in thinking that he incorporates OS with the Panthers.

And this is an excerpt from the Foreword from my/our new book, Pressing Reset: Original Strength Reloaded, by Chip Morton, the Strength and Conditioning coach for the Cincinnati Bengals (another Professional American Football team).

“In my 30 years as a professional in the strength & conditioning field, I have witnessed, studied, and even used many of the ideas, techniques, and trends that characterize the ebbs and flows of our industry…

Over the past few years, I have noticed a lot of attention and information has been devoted to helping people move better. We are told which mobility drills & stretches are best to perform and why, as well as how to perform them correctly; we’re shown progressions, regressions, “flows”, and the like. Within the variety of movement templates available on the internet and in the literature, many are interesting to watch or read about…

You can usuallyglean a few bits of usable information and even uncover common threads, or “truths”, that weave their way through different programs. Some of the recommendations can be therapeutic, others may make you feel good, and even be fun to do. At some point, however, it seems to me, the more information we are presented with, the more complex things become, and the more difficult it is to discern what is best and how to put it all into practice on a consistent basis…

As of this writing, I continue to learn more about the anatomical and physiological principles that gird up the OS system, and as I do, I see the beauty in the simplicity of the Original Strength resets and the significant impact they can have on our amazingly intricate design.

Over the past two years, we have incorporated the OS resets into programming for our players. Their initial reaction was similar to mine…giggles, but along with me, we press reset before most training opportunities and continue to explore and enjoy their impact on movement together…

In July of 2015, my family and I visited Tim and the OS Family in North Carolina to spend some quality time together, and also for Tim to teach our children the fundamentals of Original Strength. Everyone from young children to professional athletes can perform the resets in Original Strength and benefit from them; I have witnessed it first-hand with people in my life who are important to me.”

Chip Morton, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Cincinnati Bengals

As you can see, Chip Morton uses OS with the Bengals.

Interestingly enough, this year the Bengals had the lowest injury rate ever.

Why am I sharing this with you?

2 Reasons:

1. Your Phase 1 programming for your KB work should be based on OS.

2. If you want to know what Chip knows, you sign up for the upcoming West Coast Pressing RESET workshop. Chip’s been through it. And I’ll be teaching.

Learn more here.

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