What do I really mean by this?
I mean stop doing all of the nonsense in the gym that doesn’t have a purpose to you. You see if we are spending time working hard, we should also make sure we are smart about how we work. This means selecting exercises that will help us get the adaptations from training that will help us with our goals. Stop wasting your time with accessory work that has no purpose to your training. Accessories are meant to be exactly as the name states, accessories to your main movements that are directed at specific weaknesses. They are most of the time not the most enjoyable exercises to do, but are very important to longevity. You can't do curls and triceps extensions every day, well you can, but you will realize how ridiculous you look when you can't wear shorts in public because of your pencil legs and over-developed arms. Your performance from strictly bodybuilding will steeply decline if you are an athlete and not a bodybuilder. Bodybuilders are not meant to be efficient, they are meant to be big and look the part. This is in no way beneficial for an athlete, building senseless amounts of muscle by constantly doing high rep sets with minimal weight only causes muscle breakdown and hypertrophy. Muscle hypertrophy to an extent is a good thing, but muscle hypertrophy with no overload or mobility work will cause an athlete to slow down and become injury-prone. Obviously being big and strong is extremely helpful when it comes to athleticism, but when you completely lack explosive strength and the flexibility to reach proper positions your athleticism will suffer.
How Can I Get Explosive?
I personally believe there is plenty of evidence to suggest the most efficient way to build explosive strength is by Olympic Weightlifting, but that is definitely not the only way. It is pretty simple, to get faster you need to make yourself move as fast as you can when training your main movements. This means standing up fast on your squats and deadlifts, and driving the bar off your chest as hard as possible on your bench reps. You could also sprint and jump your way to better speed, or even how about combine these to get the maximum benefit? This has been done for years and originally was done by the Soviet Union back in the 60's, it's called Russian Complex Training. To do this you want to pair movements to enhance adaptations caused by training. For example why not start out your workout with an Olympic lift for power, a Powerlifting movement for strength, and accessories to work on your weaknesses and balance yourself out? In Russian Complex Training you will pair the powerlifting movement with an explosive plyometric movement for an overspeed effect. You will get muscle recruitment by doing the powerlifting movement, and by pairing that movement with a plyometric exercise that uses the same muscle group but purely focus on explosion (ex. jumping, running, clap push-ups) you will train those muscle groups to fire more efficiently and maximize the amount of speed and power you will gain from your training. This is caused by the increased fatigue caused by the pairing of exercises and the improvement in neuromuscular coordination. The ability to recruit and use muscle tissue is extremely important for athletes to be able to control their bodies and protect themselves on the field. Strength is important for every athlete and takes a long time to build, think of strength training as building a brick house by adding one brick each day. By taking the time to put each one of those bricks into place perfectly, and never placing one out of position you will build one hell of a house. If we try to rush through and put too many brick into place at a time we build a weakness in our house, this weakness may not show up until catastrophe strikes but when it does it can mean a drastic turn in an athletic career. By carefully building over time we can build extremely durable athletes that are also very explosive, but by rushing we will cause injuries and actually delay the progress of these athletes. By taking a long-term approach to strength and conditioning we can all achieve amazing feats of athleticism.
Is Bodybuilding Bad Then?
No, don't get this twisted. Bodybuilding can teach us many things, especially when it comes to accessory work. No one can build more symmetrical bodies than bodybuilders and this is important because as athletes we develop imbalances naturally. Think of a baseball player, they throw with their dominant hand and usually bat from one side of the plate. They are literally making themselves more prone to injury constantly by building up these imbalances and these can come to haunt us in the future. We can counteract this by identifying weaknesses and imbalances and fixing them with accessory work. A baseball player will usually have one side that is extremely dominant, and you can help them become far less injury prone by evening out these imbalances. I do this by using bodybuilding accessories to isolate specific muscles/muscle groups to address the weaknesses and try to create symmetry between sides. Not all accessory work is bodybuilding, it is all very dependent on the individual, but by using some principles that come from bodybuilding we can identify and address weaknesses. I also pair accessory work in supersets or trios to save time. You will do a set of each exercise before resting, and the exercises are usually organized to not fatigue the muscle group that the next exercise will be using. This will save you time by having you rest after a set of multiple exercises instead of resting in between each individual set. If you can rest 1/2 or 1/3 of the time that you normally would it will save you a lot of time in your workouts.
Working out is miserable and causes burnout, if you are just going in and busting your ass in the gym and you don’t know what you are working for eventually you are going to quit. If you don’t believe me go ahead and try it, or you can start identifying your goals and start working with the intent to achieve your goals by training for them. It is a simple perspective shift, but sometimes that is all you need.