Most athletes think that their sport requires a unique approach to strength training. And fancy marketing tailored for a specific sport often reinforces this.

But once you peel off the layers of fluff you’ll see what is (or should be) in the core of any quality strength training program. Regardless of your sport, the basics of strength training and building overall athleticism apply.

Strength training for all sports is made up of 90-100% of the same stuff. In the gym, train the qualities of being a more athletic, stronger human by training the six movement patters:

  • Push
  • Pull
  • Squat
  • Hinge
  • Locomotion
  • Rotation

Then take the qualities built in the gym and transfer those into your sport in the sport specific skill practice outside of the gym.

If you do kayaking, go paddle. If you run, go run. If you swim, go swimming. If you participate in mosquito killing world championships (happens in Finland every summer), or wife carrying world championships (also happens in Finland*) go practice those.

Often that 10% difference (at most) between different sports is more about undoing what gets overdone in the sport practice:

  • Runners run in a straight line. Balance it out with lateral and rotational strength work.
  • Swimmers do a lot of overhead work in their sport practice. Balance it out by limiting overhead in strength training.
  • And anyone working in an office already leans forward and rounds their back. Limit ab work that rounds the back and do more pulling vs pushing exercises.

Or, the 10% difference can be finding an exercise that feels better for a particular athlete. You might feel better doing a dumbbell bench. Some prefer almost-horizontal landmine press. They both accomplish the same thing: upper body push.

When you become stronger, faster and more resilient you will become a better athlete. Regardless of your sport.

*I guess when you spend 8-9 months of the year in the dark frothing for summer you’ll come up with all kinds of activities to enjoy those long summer days and nights.