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Athletes constantly strive to push their limits, seeking ways to optimize their training and elevate their performance to unprecedented levels. Whether you're a fierce competitor or a recreational enthusiast, the quest for improvement is a universal attribute we all possess. So, how can you optimize your training regimen to unleash your full potential and make those incredible gains?

1. Setting Clear Goals

Before embarking on any training program, establishing clear, achievable goals is important for laying a strong foundation for what’s to come. Whether it's improving speed, strength, endurance, or skill proficiency, defining specific objectives provides direction and motivation some will even argue it’s the rocket fuel that powers the fitness journey. For starters, break down your long-term goals into smaller, manageable milestones, allowing you to track progress and stay focused on continuous improvement.

2. Personalized Training Plans

No two athletes are alike, and generic training programs rarely yield optimal results. Tailoring your training plan to fit your individual strengths, weaknesses, and goals is essential. When customizing a program, factors to  consider include; your sport position, fitness level, injury history, and time commitments. Our team of top-tier personal trainers here at Embody Fitness can help create a customized training programme that maximizes your potential while minimizing the risk of injury.

3. Emphasizing Recovery

In most cases, little or no attention is paid to the aspect of recovery that often leads to injury. Adequate recovery is essential for optimizing performance and preventing burnout and injury. Incorporate rest days into your training schedule to allow your body time to repair and rebuild. Additionally, prioritize quality sleep, proper nutrition, hydration, and stress management to support optimal recovery and overall well-being.

4. Periodization

Periodization is a systematic approach to training that involves dividing the year into distinct phases, each with its own focus and objectives. By varying training intensity, volume, and specificity throughout different phases, athletes can optimize performance while reducing the risk of overtraining and injury. Common phases include the preparatory phase (building foundational strength and endurance), the competition phase (fine-tuning skills and peaking performance), and the recovery phase (restoring energy levels and addressing any lingering issues).

5. Incorporating Cross-Training and Functional Training

Incorporating  cross-training activities into your training routine can enhance overall fitness, prevent boredom, and reduce the risk of overuse injuries. Include activities such as swimming, cycling, yoga, or plyometrics to target different muscle groups, improve flexibility, and enhance cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, prioritize functional training exercises that mimic the movements and demands of your sport, helping to improve agility, balance, coordination, and sport-specific skills.

6. Monitoring Progress and Adjusting Accordingly

Regularly assessing your progress and making adjustments to your training plan is essential for long-term success. Keep detailed records of your workouts, performance metrics, and subjective feedback to track improvements and identify areas for further development. Be willing to adapt your training plan based on feedback from coaches, performance data, and personal observations, continuously refining your approach to maximize effectiveness.

Optimizing sports performance requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses goal setting, personalized training plans, recovery strategies, periodization, cross-training, and ongoing monitoring and adjustment. By implementing these strategies with diligence and consistency, athletes can unlock their full potential, making those incredible gains and achieving their athletic aspirations. Remember, greatness is not achieved overnight but through dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Contact us at Embody Fitness to get your sports performance to the next level.


These dumbbell exercises fit in best at the start of your workout, when your energy levels are high and you’re able to give it your all. All you need is one pair of dumbbells and a bench.


This fantastic exercise is suitable for people who are rehabilitating their shoulders, are unable to perform overhead presses, or are totally new to strength training.

How to do it:

  1. Set up an incline bench at a 45-to-60-degree angle, or prop a flat bench up on a block so that it is at an angle.
  2. Grab two dumbbells and lay on the bench with your chin just over the top of it. Make sure that your spine and neck are in a neutral position.
  3. Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, pull your arms backwards until they are parallel to the ground and think about trying to pull your shoulder blades together. Imagine you are squeezing a pencil between them and keep a slight bend in your elbows.
  4. Pause for a moment at the top, then lower with control and repeat.
  5. Intermediate lifters might perform two to four sets of 6 to 12 reps like this, with beginners doing slightly less. Advanced lifters can increase the intensity of the move by lowering more slowly, increasing their weights, or adding a band for extra resistance.
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Check out the video demonstration from our body transformation coach, Charlie below:


This useful move hits a whole range of muscle groups at once. As well as building up your rear deltoid strength, it also works your biceps, back and transverse abdominals. You can do it on a bench, or on the floor if you don’t have one available.

How to do it:

  1. Place your left knee and left hand on the bench and extend your other leg out slightly behind you for support.
  2. Start holding a heavy dumbbell in your right hand, with your arm extended toward the floor.
  3. Pull the weight up toward your ribcage and squeeze your shoulder blade towards the middle of your back. Make sure you are using the back of your shoulder to pull up the majority of the weight, not your arm.
  4. Lower the weight back down to the floor with control, then repeat between 10 to 20 times.
  5. Switch to do the same with the other arm, aiming to do three sets with each side.
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Most exercises that are done with free weights, can be done just as well using a cable machine. Although this high-tech bit of equipment might look a bit complicated and intimidating, it’s actually a really versatile and accessible. The two moves below are simple but deadly, and they’ll really get your rear delts firing.


Another all-encompassing back and shoulder move, the seated cable rear delt fly works the rear delts, lats, lumbar extensor, biceps and forearm flexors. How to do it:

  1. Take hold of the two cable handles and place your feet on the block in front of you.
  2. Let your arms extend all the way forward feeling a stretch in the lats, and face your palms towards each other.
  3. Keeping your arms straight (except for a slight bend in the elbow), pull the cables straight back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Again, remember not to use your arms and let you rear delts do the majority of the work.
  4. Slowly release your arms back to the starting position repeat. Remember to sit up straight and not lean back throughout the entire move.
  5. Aim to complete three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Take a look at the demonstration from Charlie below.


This nifty exercise lets you hit your rear delts in a slightly different way to when you’re using dumbbells. Your rhomboids, rotator cuffs and traps will also feel the burn, too.

How to do it:

  1. Fix the rope attachment to the cable machine and position it level with your face.
  2. Firmly place your feet on the floor, hold the ends of the two ropes with your thumbs at the bottom and step back so you can extend your arms out in front of you.
  3. Keeping your arms raised, tense your core and pull your elbows back and apart so the handles come either side of your face. Pinch your shoulder blades together and maintain a high position with your elbows.
  4. Pause for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position with control. The weight should be light enough for you to do 10 to 12 reps, two or three times.

Want to fit in some core training whilst exhausting your rear delts? Try this trusty full-body plank move...

How to do it:

  1. Set up in a forearm plank position with your arms at a 90-degree angle, your heels pushing back behind you and your shoulder blades spread far apart.
  2. Engage your core, make sure that your back is totally straight and tense your glutes.
  3. Slowly lower your body until you almost touch the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades together in the process.
  4. Contract your delts use them to push back up to your starting position.
  5. Again, aim to do three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.

This standing rear delt exercise really helps to improve your mind-muscle connection.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Stand up straight, engage your core and hold your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing down.
  3. Contract your rear delts to bring your elbows as far back as possible in a bent position. Squeeze them as hard as possible before releasing back to the starting position.
  4. Do 10 to 20 reps at a time, until your rear delts start to tire.

For more tailored advice about strengthening your rear shoulder muscles, contact the team at Embody Fitness.



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