Friday, November 9, 2007

Integrated Sports Training For Athletes

As a serious athlete, you need to be involved in an integrated (comprehensive) training program to prevent injuries, improve performance and prevent burnout. The three building blocks of integrated training for the athlete are:

STABILIZATION (2 Phases) – Primary goals are to correct muscle imbalances, joint dysfunctions, postural distortion patterns, improve kinetic chain integrity and reconditioning/rehabilitation.

STRENGTH (3 Phases) – Primary goals are to improve stabilization strength/endurance and increase muscle hypertrophy (growth) and strength.

POWER (2 Phases) – Primary goals are to enhance neuromuscular efficiency, increase power production, increase speed strength and create neuromuscular adaptations throughout the entire range of motion.

All seven phases of training may not be necessary for you. For example, some sports do not require optimum levels of muscle hypertrophy.

The training program is Multi-Planar (sagittal, frontal, transverse), Multi-Joint (exercises such as bench press, squats, lunges), Multi-Dimensional (stabilization, strength, power), Proprioceptively Enriched (high neural demand) and Sport-Specific.

You should follow a systematic approach with the following goals in mind: injury prevention, body fat reduction and increased lean muscle mass, strength, endurance, flexibility and performance. Rate-of-Force Production (muscles producing force in the shortest period of time) is one of the best physical indicators of the level of an athlete’s performance and future success.

Muscle Contraction Spectrum and Contraction Velocity Spectrum

You should train using the complete muscle contraction spectrum (eccentric, isometric, concentric). All muscles function eccentrically (reduces force), isometrically (stabilizes force) and concentrically (produces force).

Also, eccentric contractions are able to produce the most tension development followed by isometric contractions and lastly, concentric contractions. If eccentric contractions are able to produce the greatest tension development, then more time should be devoted during training for eccentric contractions.

Concentrating more training time on eccentric contractions would decrease injuries such as knee ACL tears.
Also, strong eccentric contractions are critical for athletes to produce maximal power since all force production (concentric) must be preceded by force reduction (eccentric).

Athletes perform movements during practice and games at different speeds. Therefore, your training regimen should include sport-specific exercises that incorporate eccentric, isometric and concentric contractions at different speeds.

Be sure and download your Free Bodyweight 500 Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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