Don’t work out, train. It’s not just a mindset.

One of the things that I work on most with my athletes is sport-specific training. All athletes should work out differently. If you look at how athletes are taught to work out, it all looks the same.

Even at higher levels, athletes from different sports and sexes still work out the same regardless of their sport. This is silly. The idea that a football player, an Olympic lifter, a track athlete, a tennis player, and a swimmer all need to do the same exercises should be wrong on common sense grounds, but I see it every day.

I have a swimmer that got hurt in the gym doing squats, and my first question was you’re a free-style swimmer? Why was your coach having you do heavy squats that don’t help your sport at all?

The answer was well, that’s what we are told to do. In case you’re wondering, the best exercises for a free-style swimmer will be posterior delt, lat, and upper back exercises. However, having a really strong squat is all most pointless for this sport.

I see tennis players that are not taught to work on their forearms, elbows, and wrists. You would think having a severe injury named after your sport, tennis elbow, would tell people to strengthen that area, but no tennis player I see is taught them.

Start thinking to yourself, why am I doing the exercises I am doing? Does this make me safer or better at my sport? Not all exercises are a good idea for you. This applies to you even if you don’t play a sport.

Is this exercise going to get me to my goal or not is always the right question to ask?

If you have questions about your sport or exercise life goals, send them to, and I will make some videos.

Check out Chalmers for Wellness updates! The Chalmers Wellness Stubstack just launched. Comment, Like, Interact with other people on their wellness journey. Communities can make the difference.

Dr. Matt Chalmers

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. Before taking any action based on this information you should first consult with your physician or health care provider. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition, your health, or wellness.

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