"Believing in your goal is the most powerful weapon you have. No matter how tough it seems, if you believe in it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Men's cross-country coach at Stanford University
[#4] Integrated Strength
Stand Your Ground
So you can bench-press 210? Now stand up and try pushing that kind of weight. If you've ignored integrated strengththe kind of strength you need in the real worldyou're gonna have problems. Mike Clark, president of the Calabasas, Californiabased National Academy of Sports Medicine, makes a living teaching the Phoenix Suns and other pro athletes strengthening exercises that develop linked muscle systems rather than isolated muscle groups. "By focusing on your body's stabilizer muscles, integrated fitness training corrects weak links before they turn into muscle imbalances that render your strength ineffective or, worse, set you up for injury," Clark says. Don't chuck out the bench press; just make it part of a more farsighted training plan.
To develop integrated strength, Clark advises that you exercise in multiple planes of motion. After a five-minute cardio warm-up, try the exercises below, completing three sets of 12 reps for each, three times a week. Start with low weight and work up to heavier amounts once you're comfortable with the technique:
1) Stand next to a cable machine with the handle positioned near your feet. Squat, grab the cable with both hands, and then stand and pull the cable up toward your opposite shoulder, as if starting a lawn mower. Turn around and repeat on opposite side.
2) Face the cable machine. Position handle low between your legs and stand, lifting weight by engaging legs and hips.
3) Stand facing away from the cable machine, placing one leg in front of the other. Holding separate cable handles at chest height, press weight forward.
4) Face the cable machine with one foot in front of the other. Grasp two cable handles positioned at chest height. Pull handles to your chest.
5) Stand on one leg, facing cable machine and holding cable handles at shoulder height, palms facing in. Press the weight overhead, ending the lift with your palms facing out. Complete six reps on each leg.
6) Repeat number 5, adding a biceps curl to the overhead press.
7) Face away from the cable machine. Position two cable handles waist high. Lunge forward, keeping your back straight and handles low at your sides. Step back. Do 12 reps on each leg.
Toolbox: The Free-Motion Cable Cross features 13 positions for a wide range of exercises. "The beauty of cable machines is that you can train in the same position as you perform your activity," says Tyler Wallace, a performance-enhancement specialist for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, in Calabasas, California. For example, kayakers can put together a full menu of upper-body exercises while seated, just as they would in a boat. ($4,500; 877-363-8449, www.freemotionfitness.com)