Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Modern sports training 2: Part I

Example of Exclusive Dynamic Power circuit workout by elite training coaches

“Whatever one’s sport or event - whether he is a cyclist, race-walker, runner, rugby player, swimmer, or a participant in racket sports, he’ll improve his strength, mobility and stamina through this following training plan. As a result, he will move much more powerfully in his sport.” The following plan has been fully field-tested. The basic training circuit is combined with ‘dynamic mobility’ exercises to form a well-rounded training session. It includes warm-up, mobility training, circuit work and a 10-minute cool-down and can be completed in an hour or less. The main points of the program are as follows.

A. Increasing the general work capacity:

Increase in the general work capacity helps in

1. To improve ability to tolerate increasing levels of muscular fatigue (stamina improvement)
2. To elevate heart rates to upgrade cardiorespiratory capacity (stamina improvement).
3. To enhance overall body strength, including the strength and resiliency of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, the integrity of joints, and the strength and density of supporting bone structures (strength improvement).
4. To improve movement skill and body awareness. Perform exercises that utilize body weight as the primary form of resistance (skill improvement).
5. To increase lean muscle mass by a moderate amount and decrease body-fat levels through high levels of energy expenditure (body composition improvement)

B. Dynamic Mobility-plus-Circuit workout training program:

Part I: Circuit training for muscle power

During the past few years, endurance athletes in a number of sports have added resistance exercises to their training programs to boost their muscle power. Scientific studies have linked resistance training with a reduced rate of injury in athletes. It fortifies leg muscles and strengthens ‘weak links’ in athletes’ bodies, including the often-injured hamstrings and shin muscles, as well as abdominal and low-back muscles. Resistance work also improves tendon and ligament strength and increases bone density, which decreases the risk of injury. In addition, resistance workouts:

1. Heighten body awareness
2. Upgrade coordination
3. Reduce body-fat levels
4. Improve self esteem

All of these contribute to improved performance during competition.

For athletes, the general preparation period before the beginning of actual competitions is an ideal time to initiate a resistance training program. A four to eight-week period of sound resistance training helps to develop a nice foundation of suppleness (mobility), strength, and stamina (endurance), to which athletes can add speed and racing skill just before the competitive season begins.

Circuit training is an excellent way to simultaneously build strength and stamina.

The total number of circuits performed during training session will vary from two to six depending on training level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), period of training (preparation or competition), and primary training objective (You may be developing total work capacity, boosting your power, or engaging in ‘active rest,’ for example.)

The 8 exercises in a circuit in a sequential format provided in this training plan for each circuit, with an analysis of how it helps the athlete:

Total-body exercise: Four-count squat thrusts
Upper-body exercise: Push-ups
Lower-body exercise: Scissor step-ups
Core/trunk exercise: Abdominal sit-backs
Total-body exercise: Squats to presses
Upper-body exercise: Body-weight rows
Lower-body exercise: One-leg squats
Core/trunk exercise: Low-back stabilisers

1. Develop strength and mobility in knee and hip joints – important for high-speed movement. Develops stability and strength in the upper trunk, abdominal, and pelvic regions, strength that is necessary to control torso movements during the running stride or when you strike a ball. Greatly increases your cardiac demand, hikes the power of leg muscles, and increases the impact forces (upon landing) as well, fortifying the bones in legs and feet.

2. Increase upper-body strength, developing abdominal and hip-flexor stability. Improves stability, helps to control hip, trunk, and shoulder movements as one move quickly. Also promotes balance between the upper and lower body.

3. Develop leg strength, power, and dynamic-balance control (coordination), without which one can’t move quickly, whether it’s from one end of the football pitch to the other, from the baseline to the net on a tennis court, or from the start to the finish of a 10k race. Cardiovascular benefits of this exercise can be increased by speeding up stepping cadence or by increasing the height of the step. Enhances leg-muscle power and improves mobility of the hip and knee joints.

4. Increase abdominal stability, which carries over to improved posture and better core stability in running. A strong pelvic girdle and trunk provide the anchor point for a strong pair of legs, allowing use of legs in a maximally powerful manner during quick sprints – or during sustained, vigorous running.

5. Increase strength and power in legs, hips, low back, abdominals, shoulders, and arms. Note that the whole-body involvement of this exercise increases cardiorespiratory requirements, compared to the more commonly used, isolated pressing exercises such as bench and shoulder presses.

6. Improve pulling strength of the upper-back, shoulder, and arm muscles, and does for the back side of the body what the push-up does for the front side. Also serves to increase stabilizing strength in the low back, gluteals, and hamstrings, all of which are critically important for quick movement whenever one participate in a sport. One will achieve a balance between lower and upper body strength by performing this exercise.

7. Develop muscle strength in the quads, hamstrings, and gluteals, the muscles which provide much of power while running. By strengthening hip and knee joints in a coordinated and integrated fashion, leg strength and running power should improve tremendously. It can also help improve vertical jumping ability.

8. Heighten low-back strength providing for proper posture while running and also provides excellent ‘motion control’ of the torso and hips throughout the running stride. As a result, one will move more quickly – whether it’s to return a serve on the tennis court or to reach the football in time to score a goal.

Improvements in body functions occur whenever overload principle is applied to body’s systems. The circuit program described provides an overload of cardiorespiratory system (especially the hard circuits), taxes muscular system by forcing it to work against increased resistance, and forces the key joints involved in moving body to go through a wider range of motion than they commonly encounter.
The result, when combined with the Dynamic Mobility workout below will be better, more powerful performances.

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