With the advancements in fitness training and sports science over the past two decades, there’s a misconception that athletes in rugby, basketball, hockey, soccer, and other fitness-heavy sports, are supermen. And if you’re not delivering in the weight room, treadmill, or on the scale? You don’t deserve to be on the ice, court, or field.
While it’s always great to optimize your strength and fitness, it’s okay to have weaknesses or deficiencies.
Take these three truly remarkable, high performance athletes, with some equally remarkable weaknesses and deficiencies. You’ll see that pro athletes are indeed human. And like the rest of us, they may not be the strongest or fittest – but that doesn’t mean we can’t compete at our sport at a high level.
KD couldn’t bench press 185 pounds at the 2007 NBA draft combine. Since the bench press requires the chest to coordinate with stabilizer muscles (the anterior deltoids and triceps), Durant’s 225-centimeter wing span creates a leverage disadvantage and a difficult balancing act to complete the lift. In other words, his 7’6″ wingspan is a long way to push the weight. We tend to hold athletes of Durant’s skillset to higher standards – after all, a skyscraper-like wing span didn’t hamper 6’9″ Piston’s legend Ben Wallace’s hulking 460 lbs bench press.
But it’s Durant’s mobility, plyometric strength, finesse, foot speed, and conditioning that make him unstoppable – not bragging rights on the bench press. His current workout regimen has increased his bench-press over the years, but focusing too much on that specific exercise would likely hinder Durant’s dynamic athleticism and remove his focus from more functional training for basketball.
What we suggest: Kevin Durant should just keep doing his thing as this era’s most gifted scorer, as the Slim Reaper captured his first NBA championship, along with a Finals MVP Award in his first year with Golden State.
Elite NHLer Dustin Byfuglien is a brutally strong defender, who can carry the bulk of scoring and hitting from Winnipeg’s blueline. But Big Buff also carries the bulk of chicken wings, French fries, pizza, hamburgers, nachos – well you get the point. Byfuglien’s ideal playing weight is 260 lbs, and at 6’5″, he moves nimbly around the rink. Conversely, he’s ballooned up to 300 lbs during seasons, diminishing his performance.
Still, he is respected enough to be an alternate captain on the Jets. Byfuglien uses what could be a deficiency to his benefit, effectively throwing around his notable girth. He’s a feared D-man, and he’ll probably tell you he’s still elite despite some of his habits.
What we suggest: Byfuglien could always supplement his demanding training with the Jets with extra High Intensity Interval Training, as it is proven to blast fat into lean muscle. He could also tidy up his notorious off-season diet, opting for more of a caloric deficit.
Kurt Angle won gold in amateur freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Olympic games after he fractured two of his cervical vertebrae, herniated two discs, and pulled four muscles in his neck. Add years of punishment from pro wrestling, and a neck surgery in 2003 to repair nerve and spinal damage, calcium buildup, bone spurs, and intervertebral disc problems…now he can barely do six pushups.
Angle may not be the specimen of years past, but it’s astonishing that he can barely do six pushups; he’s still very muscular, and still wrestling as of a few months ago. Sure, wrestling is choreographed, but it requires immense strength, conditioning and coordination. Angle says his core, hip, and lower body strength developed in his amateur days allow him to pro wrestle despite his deteriorating upper body strength.
What we suggest: Kurt Angle should never wrestle again. He should partake in aggressive rehabilitation, physiotherapy or Active Release Therapy to treat his nerve damage, increasing flexibility and mobility. He should also avoid any heavy upper body training.
SEMI provides active release therapy, functional training workouts, and physical therapy for athletes that’ll help you strengthen your weaknesses and sports performance.
Don’t let underwhelming performances in the weight room, scale, or the treadmill discourage you, and join us in our modern studio settings, where the focus is on turning your strength and conditioning weaknesses into strengths!
Call us at 1-855-572-9177, or book an appointment today!