This article will focus on fitness techniques that will actually help professional gamers become better at what they do for a living.
Professional gamers tend to sit for very long periods of time, much like chess players. As such, they need to work on the muscles that keep them erect. These would be their core muscles, specifically their abdominal and lower back muscles.
Since gamers tend to sit perfectly still, and don't flex (bend forward), extend (bend backward), or rotate very often, then good abdominal exercises for them would be isometric in nature. Exercises such as the plank and side plank would be ideal in this case. Of course, other abdominal exercises such as crunches and bicycle crunches are great as well.
As for the lower back, great exercises would be the good morning (do not load the barbell with any plates. If you don't have access to a barbell, use a similar object such as a broomstick. Just be sure to perform the exercise as correctly and as strictly as possible), Supermans, back extensions, romanian deadlifts, and deadlifts.
WRISTS AND FINGERS
Next, gamers need to address the most mobile aspect of their bodies: their wrists and fingers. The exercises related to preventing carpal tunnel syndrome will help them tremendously in this regard. Gamers should perform the stretches and ball squeeze exercise very frequently throughout the day, and should incorporate the wrist curl and reverse wrist curl exercises in the link.
Reaction time is another important aspect of professional gaming, but is really best developed by playing the actual game in the competition.
SAMPLE TRAINING PROGRAM
As most gamers, I believe, are sedentary individuals, the training programs given to them should not be too intense, but should also create room for further improvements. This sample training program is to be performed three times a week, with at least 48 hours rest in between workouts (so Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays would be a good schedule). Perform 3 sets of each exercise with 10 repetitions each, then move on to the next exercise on the list. There should be a 30 second to 1 minute rest period in between all sets.
Some of the exercises in the list, require dumbbells.If you wish to perform this sample program but do not have dumbbells, you can skip these exercises for now, but it would not be ideal. Having access to dumbbells,whether bought, borrowed, or through a gym membership, would be excellent as it would aid in the progression of this program and allow more options. The wrist curls and reverse wrist curls are also very important as they strengthen the wrist muscles, which are always very active throughout competitions.
Choose a weight for these exercises that you can lift for 10 times straight with perfect form. The perfect weight would be the one that you have to struggle a bit to lift at the 9th or 10th repetition.
The exercises should be performed in the exact order given:
Push ups (or knee push ups) - works the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles
Plank (hold for at least 10 seconds)
Superman (hold for at least 10 seconds)
Squats (perform only at the range you're comfortable at. Forcing yourself to go too far down may result in knee injuries. Remember that your knees should never go over your toes!) - works the leg muscles as well as the core (keep your back straight during the movement)
Good morning (Again, do not load the barbell with any plates. If you don't have access to a barbell, use a similar object such as a broomstick)
Kneeling Dumbbell Rows - additional work for the back, plus biceps
Wrist Curls (check here and scroll down for a video)
Reverse Wrist Curls (check here and scroll down for a video)
WARM UP FIRST!
Perform a warm up set before performing this workout. The warm up set should be composed of 1 set of all the exercises, in the exact order given, performed in a circuit fashion (continuously with no rest in between exercises). Perform each of the exercises at half the number of repetitions you would do that for that session (so if you're doing 10 repetitions that day, do only 5 repetitions for each exercise in the warm up. For the exercises that involve holding a pose (plank and Superman), hold the pose for half the time required for that session. After the circuit is completed, immediately perform the first set of the main workout (in this case, the first set of push ups).
After all the sets are finished, perform the stretches indicated in this workout, then follow with the stretches for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Since gaming is all about endurance (sitting for long periods, moving the wrists and fingers for long periods, etc), progressions should be handled the same way, by way of increasing the repetitions and sets for each of the exercises:
WEEK 1: Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise / hold the relevant exercise for at least 10 seconds
WEEK 2: Perform 12 repetitions of each exercise / hold the relevant exercise for at least 20 seconds
WEEK 3: Perform 15 repetitions of each exercise / hold the relevant exercise for at least 30 seconds
WEEK 4: Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise / hold the relevant exercise for at least 10 seconds
WEEK 5: Perform 12 repetitions of each exercise / hold the relevant exercise for at least 20 seconds
WEEK 6: Perform 15 repetitions of each exercise / hold the relevant exercise for at least 30 seconds
So, if you're a professional gamer, what can this workout do for you? Like any professional athlete who trains hard at their craft, you'll be able to last longer and perform better at what you do. Being able to sit still comfortably for longer periods of time and being able to move your wrists and fingers around faster may not be too impressive to the average bystander, but it could mean all the difference to the professional gamer who wants to stay as focused as possible for longer periods without worrying about lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and the like. It can even fix some bad posture problems that you might have!
The progressions listed here are, of course, the tip of the iceberg. As mentioned, most gamers are sedentary and are therefore not used to physical conditioning, so they need to start out slow. That doesn't mean they have to stay there, though! A quick word of warning, however: if you have any sort of medical complication or injury such as any joint problems, then please do not attempt this workout without at least consulting your doctor. The exercises may aggravate any existing ailments you might have.
If you are interested in this workout and have any questions or comments about it, or want to find out how it ideally progresses past the 6th week, please e-mail me or leave a comment below.