Five Reasons Everyone Should Train Like an Athlete

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In light of his brand spankin new product being released today – Bulletproof Athlete – Mike Robertson was kind enough to jot down a few words and underline a few reasons why everyone (yes, even YOU) should take some time out of his or her’s training year to become more athletic.

Offhandedly I myself have been placing a bit more of an emphasis on “athletic” training in my own workouts and I can attest to how great I feel and the results I’m seeing in the weight room.

But this isn’t about me.  Mike’s spent a good 1.5 years tweaking, poking, prodding, and experimenting to bring this project to fruition and I can say with full confidence (and as someone who’s read it) it’s A to the wesome.

Not to play brown noser or anything but it includes 16-weeks of programming, three programs for one price, a 160+ video database, and weekly nutrition and recovery challenges.

All for the bargain price of $97.

And on that note I’m going to allow Mike to take it from here. It’s always a treat to have Mike share his knowledge on this site, I hope you feel the same.


Training like an athlete is awesome.

While I’m a powerlifter at heart, I’m also a life-long athlete. I love the competitive nature of sports, but I think there’s something even more basic to it than that.

When you train for sports, you feel like an athlete. This feeling is indescribable. You just feel lean, athletic and strong.

So whether you’re a lifelong athlete or someone that thinks training like an athlete sounds cool, I’m here to sway your decision.

Here are five reasons you (yes YOU!) should train like an athlete, even if it’s one for a couple of months every year.

#1 – You’re More Well-Rounded

The first reason you should train like an athlete is simple:

If you’re an athlete, you need a balance of physical qualities to be successful.

The fact that you can deadlift 500 pounds means nothing if you’re slow as molasses, have the cardio of a sloth, or the mobility of a stone golem.

Think about the best athletes in the world: They are strong, fast, explosive, and have the energy system development to go for days on end.

Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?

While I’m all for strength, it’s just one piece of the athletic puzzle.

If you take a step back and train in a more well-rounded manner for a few months, I have no idea you’ll love how you look and feel.

#2 – Power Training is Fun (and Awesome!)

I’d put cash money on the fact that everyone reading this likes getting stronger.

Virtual high-five right there – you kick ass.

But you know what’s really cool? Adding a little power training into the mix.

I don’t care if you want to do the Olympic lifts, jump, sprint, throw med balls, or just do the most ballistic version of “The Carlton” known to man. If you’ve got an awesome base of strength, why not spend time on a yearly basis to convert that strength into power?

To further my point, there’s more and more research out there that leads us to believe that power is one of the first physical qualities we lose as we age.

By all means, spend the bulk of your time every year getting bigger, leaner and stronger. But take 3-4 months every year and dedicate that time to power training.

You can thank me when you’re 80!

#3 – Planned EST is Important

Let’s think about how most people plan their energy system training (EST).

“Well I’m here, and I just lifted heavy things. Now what do I do?”

And there are basically two options:

1 – “Meh, I’m tired. I’m going to go to Chipotle and crush a bowl with triple meat,” or

2 – “Sure I’ll do some EST today. You know, just to preserve my sexy.”

So in reality, there is no plan. It comes down to if you have the time/energy to do it, and even if you do, it’s not planned or periodized.

Imagine if you treated your strength training sessions like that. How successful do you think you’d be?

Instead, start planning your EST just as you would your strength training. Have times of higher volume and lesser intensity.

Then flip flop it, and get aggressive with intensity while backing off the volume.

It’s not rocket science, but actually taking the time to plan your EST and integrate it with a sound strength-training program can take your performance and physique to the next level.

#4 – Variety is the Spice of Life

If you do anything for an extended period of time, it can start to wear on you, both mentally and physically.

In late 2010, I did the math and realized I had been pushing the max strength envelope for close to 10 years.

Now some of the seasoned powerfliting vets hear that number and roll their eyes. But when I got into the sport of powerlifting, I had no intentions of being a lifer.

But here I stood 10 years in, and while I wasn’t beat up by powerlifting standards, I had my share of little aches and pains that were holding back by performance.

When I switched things up completely and focused on athletic development, the results were nothing less than amazing.

First off, training was actually fun. I love lifting heavy things as much as the next guy, but that training can wear on you mentally.

Instead of feeling tired and lethargic walking into the gym, I came into each day fresh and ready to train.

When I backed off the loading just a bit and cleaned up my movement (and regained athleticism), all of the little aches and pains just faded away as well.

So this was pretty cool – I was enjoying training again, I didn’t feel beat up, and I looked and felt more athletic.

But you want to know the really cool part? Here goes…

#5 – You’re Stronger Going Back

Let’s say you take a break from the heavy weights for 1-2 months, and then slowly ease yourself back in.

But now you’re armed with a better movement foundation and a more healthy and resilient body.

You know what happens?

When you re-focus your efforts on squatting and deadlifting with weights the size of compact cars, you actually end up far stronger!

Case and point – after I ran through my athletic development cycle, I ran a powerlifting cycle and lifted in a meet.

In that meet, I hit an all-time PR in the deadlift of 545, which gave me my first ever 3x body weight deadlift. I also hit a PR in the squat at that lighter weight class.

So while I’m sure you’re worried about getting weaker, that’s only a short-term thing. When you back to lifting heavy things with better mobility, a more athletic body, and improved technique, you will absolutely crush your old PR’s.


I don’t know about you, but I’m torn between two loves in my lifting career:

1 – Training for max strength, and

2 – Training like an athlete.

In my case, I’m going to get the best of both worlds. Every year from here on out, I’m going to spend 3-4 months focusing on maintaining and improving my athleticism.

And if you’d like to join me, be sure to check out my Bulletproof Athlete program. It covers all of the bases in your training, and I guarantee you’ll love the program.

—> Click Me (That Tickles) <—

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Comments for This Entry

  • Justin

    Great Read. I have to say, I stumbled up on this idea of changing up your routine and going from just strength training to becoming more explosive and athletic, about 2 months ago. I went from strait up powerlifting concentration to supersetting through explosive movements and it's been amazing for the last 2 months. Don't get me wrong, I've come upon a deload week and I'm thoroughly enjoying that. But I went from Powerlifting to explosive and athletic and, as the article pointed, I have grown stronger in all senses. Pulling a deadlift for speed with perfect form has made me stronger than i have ever been. Just prior to this week I actually was able to pull my 5 rep max from the powerlifting cycle with speed and perfect form. I would suggest this particular switch up to just about anyone I know who lifts for whatever reason they lift.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:17 am | Reply to this comment

  • janjamm

    This seems like a no-brainer. To work the body in one way, to the exclusion of other options seems to me to undermine overall athletic accomplishment. I have friends who only ride bikes, long torturous distances. They have huge calves! But, they have modest upper body strength, little on the ground endurance and, to me, a lack of agility. The goal of a well-rounded athlete must include a well-rounded practice.

    July 30, 2013 at 10:50 am | Reply to this comment

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