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February 03, 2023 5 min read

If you're like us, you love hitting the gym and banging on weights.

And while lifting weights is a critical factor in getting bigger, stronger, and faster, it's only one component of building an athletic physique that can not only withstand the rigors of daily life, but also remain healthy and strong as you get older.

Unfortunately, many people are never taught how to improve athleticism, and how important it is to your training, growth, and mindset.  

While there are many components to athleticism, there are five key components you can train every day to improve yours.

These include:

  • - Body control
  • - Agility
  • - Balance
  • - Coordination
  • - Timing

These five pillars are the same qualities that every high-level athlete displays in competition, no matter the sport, and work together to form the foundation of athleticism.

They are crucial for athletic performance, physical fitness, and maintaining an active lifestyle as you age.

Now, let's break it down a little further so you have a few tools to improve your athleticism.

Body Control: The Key to Total Movement Mastery

Body control refers to the ability to manipulate and control your own body, both in space and in relation to other objects. Also known as proprioception, it is critical for performing a wide range of movements and activities, from lifting weights, to walking and running to jumping, swimming, and cycling, and more.

Body control can be developed through a variety of activities, including many different sports, yoga, weightlifting, and more, and is a crucial aspect of maintaining overall physical health and wellness.

5 exercises to help improve body control:

  • - Deadbug
  • - Plank
  • - Box jumps
  • - Lateral lunges
  • - Single-leg deadlifts

Agility: The Ability to Move Quickly and Easily

Agility is the ability to change direction and move quickly. It is an important aspect of physical literacy as it allows individuals to move through their environment with ease.

Improving your agility can greatly reduce the risk of injury during activity and is essential for athletic performance. This is especially true in sports that require quick changes of direction, such as basketball, soccer, MMA, boxing, and more.

5 simple exercises to improve agility include:

  • - Speed Skaters
  • - Jump rope
  • - Box jumps
  • - Tuck jumps
  • - Ladder drills

Balance: The Key to Stability and Body Control

This is a critical aspect of athleticism that allows you to move with confidence. Balance refers to the ability to maintain stability and control over your body, even when under load, or in an unsteady or shifting environment. It can also help to reduce the risk of injury during activity.

Developing balance skills at an early age can greatly reduce the risk of injury later in life, as well as enhance overall physical fitness and wellness. However, it's never too late to start improving your balance, and the improvements can happen very quickly.

5 examples of exercises that improve balance include:

  • - Marching in place holding a kettlebell in one hand (then switching hands)
  • - Standing on one leg with eyes closed
  • - Calf Raises without holding on to something for balance
  • - Banded pallof press on one leg
  • - Single leg RDL

Coordination: The Ability to Perform Multiple Movements Simultaneously

Coordination refers to the ability to perform multiple movements simultaneously, without interfering with each other. This crucial aspect of athleticism allows you to perform complex movements, such as those required in many sports like soccer, basketball, MMA, and more with ease and efficiency.

5 exercises that can help improve coordination include:

  • - Catch and release. This involves holding a ball with your palm facing down, releasing the ball and catching it before it hits the ground. It is a fantastic drill to improve hand-eye coordination.
  • - Medicine ball passes with a partner
  • - Juggling. This is another fantastic way to improve hand-eye coordination. Learning to juggle three tennis balls is relatively easy and can be done almost anywhere without the fear of breaking anything around you.
  • - Jump rope. A full body exercise that requires total body coordination.
  • - Ladder drills. These help to improve footwork, coordination, and agility.

Timing: The Ability to Perform Movements with Precision and Accuracy

Timing refers to the ability to perform movements with precision and accuracy, and the right amount of force and speed, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing overall performance.

Timing is imperative in every sport including tennis, basketball, hockey, football, soccer, weight lifting, MMA, boxing, and more.

5 exercises that help improve timing include:

  • - Jump rope. This is the third time this has been mentioned which means it is a good way to check off three from this list with one exercise.
  • - Medicine ball passes with a partner. Not only can these help improve coordination, but also timing.
  • - Box jumps. Another fantastic exercise that checks few of these pillars off the list and also helps to improve cardiovascular fitness too.
  • - Quick feet drill. This drill involves quickly tapping your feet in place or moving laterally, improving timing and coordination.
  • - Speed skaters. Another lateral movement that will help you improve timing, coordination and strength while at the same time improving your cardiovascular fitness. These are great to do as a tabata workout (8-rounds of 20 seconds of all out work followed by 10 seconds of rest.)

There you have it. Five basic pillars that explain the concept of physical literacy and exercises to help improve all of them.

Improving your athleticism is crucial for a life of movement and is critical for overall health and wellness.

It will allow you to move with confidence and stability, reducing the risk of injury during activity, and is essential for athletic success, physical fitness, and maintaining an active lifestyle.

This is a holistic approach to physical fitness that everyone can benefit from in order to create a well-rounded athletic physique that is not just aesthetically pleasing, but also functional.

The easiest way to build a foundation of athleticism is to be a student of every exercise you do, no matter what it is. In other words, never just show up and go through the motions. Every time you exercise be completely focused on the task at hand and pay attention to how your body responds.

Simply paying attention to how your body reacts to the stress placed upon it causes you to be in tune with your body in a way that most people will never understand.

To ensure that you get the most out of every training session, you'll want to prioritize rest, recovery, and sleep. When you achieve high-quality sleep, you receive comprehensive recovery benefits to both your body, and mind. In order to do that, you may want to add RESTED-AF to your nightly routine.

RESTED-AF is a pharmacist formulated, scientifically designed sleep aid which helps to improve the speed at which you fall asleep and the rate at which your body reaches R.E.M.

It works to promote increased anabolic processes such as muscle breakdown recovery and promote higher rates of protein synthesis, and improve daily cognitive function such as mental acuity and information retention.