Whether you’re a pro or an active amateur, strength and conditioning can help you perform at your best. Brad Rilling, a senior strength and conditioning specialist at Sanford Sports Performance, explains the areas that should be addressed to make a complete program.
The assessment should include both physical and biomechanical tests. From this assessment, the athlete can develop specific goals in order to reduce injury and achieve optimal performance.
Movement preparation or dynamic warm up is designed to increase core temperature, increase mobility, flexibility, stability and strength. Its purpose is to activate muscles that have been “turned off” from disuse or dysfunction. The movement preparation should include a general warm up like jogging and then develop into a more activity specific warm up.
Plyometric exercise refers to those activities that enable a muscle to reach maximal force in the shortest amount of time. Practically defined, plyometric exercise is a quick, powerful movement using a pre-stretch or countermovement. When using the correct frequency, intensity, volume and recovery, plyometric training has consistently shown to improve the production of muscle force and power.
All three of these components: acceleration, speed and endurance are important to address in your program. Body position, visual focus, leg action and arm action should also be addressed to maximize speed and decrease injuries. When using the correct technique (ie: frequency, intensity, volume and recovery)
your acceleration and speed will increase.
Agility is the ability to explosively brake, change direction and accelerate again. Body position, visual focus, leg action, arm action and braking mechanics should be addressed to optimize agility and reduced injury. Some examples of agility are cone drills, crossover drills and ladders.
Designing a resistance training program is a complex process requiring the recognition and manipulation of seven program design variables: needs analysis, exercise selection, training frequency, exercise order, training load and repetitions, volume and rest periods. A great resistance training program is the catalyst for increasing performance and decreasing injuries.
Conditioning can be performed in a variety of ways. The off-season is a good time for general conditioning and should become more specific the closer the athlete gets to the season starting.
Regeneration activities are planned to help the body physically and psychologically overcome the stress of training. This includes foam roll (deep tissue massage), stretching, nutrition and rest.
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