Progam Design Concepts

Training programs for both athletes and more casual fitness enthusiasts need to be directed towards specific targets in order for an individual to reach their goals.  This requires that programs address specific physical attributes, along with an appropriate progression to ensure that continued progress is achieved.  It is seen far too many times the individual that wants to take on the next high-intensity battle rope, kettlebell, prowler circuit (of which the author has no problems with any of these implements, just with their misuse which is all too often seen) without understanding what they are looking to achieve.  While undertaking these “programs” there can be some initial benefit (i.e. weight loss), the long-term progression is lost due to misapplication of basic programming concepts.

The following describes some basic concepts that should be included in just about any program.  So whether one is a competitive athlete or an adult interested in physical fitness, consider looking at these in determining the type of activity one is involved in.

1.  Foundation

While the author believes terms such as “base fitness” are overused, there is something to be said about giving oneself a good starting point to beginning a training program.  Individuals in the general fitness populations are many times guilty of just jumping into high-intensity exercise programs without having performed more basic general physical preparation.  As stated previously this can result in some short term improvements, however,  it also results in early stagnation and likely injuries (which will be discussed later).

Morris and Myslinski (n.d.) have given an outline of a general physical preparation program for football, while Francis (n.d.) has created a video on what can be done for track and field athletes (and adapted for other team sports).  The overall theme in works such as these is that one must begin any progression with basic physical preparation.

2.  Injury Prevention

The concept of injury prevention in training programs harkens back to the point of building a foundation, but also deserves its own explanation.  If one gets injured during training, it can create a frustrating setback to progress.  This is another issue related to the more trendy fitness concepts being marketed today and pushed out in videos on the internet.  It is important that people address any muscle imbalances or orthopedic issues they may have before increasing the difficulty of their exercise.

No matter what your training status is, there should be an emphasis on preventing both acute and overuse injuries during training.  Basic movement skills (i.e. learning basic hip hinge movement) should be something that everyone should consider as a component of their training.

3.  Variety

To avoid accommodation to training, it is important to include variations in all aspects of training for continued progress.  One needs to be cautious as to how often things are changed in a program.  Beginners and intermediate trainees don’t need to have as much variety as more advanced individuals.  The author typically works in three to four week training blocks where most exercises remain the same during that timeframe.  Many people tend to think they are more advanced then they are and change things more often; this typically results in injury and stagnation in training.  For most individuals, it would be recommended to vary things like volume and intensity within a three to four week period, as opposed to changing exercises.

The concepts listed here is just a short list of items to consider when planning out a training program.  A good point of emphasis throughout these ideas is to think of one’s training as more long-term.  While the point of any training program is to create adaptation to a physically stressful stimulus (which is really what any form of exercise is), it is important to realize that you don’t have to just create excessive amounts of daily fatigue to accomplish this.

References

Morris, B., Myslinski, T.  (n.d.) Coach X.  London, OH: http://www.elitefts.com.

Francis, C.  (n.d).  GPP Essentials.  http://www.charliefrancis.com.

Training for Amateur Combat Athletes IV: Putting it all Together

In previous posts, various aspects of training for a combat athlete have been discussed, along with examples of how training sessions can be structured.   The goal for this post will be to illustrate how all of the different traits can be trained over the course of the week for a fighter at the amateur level.  The author suggests reviewing part I of this series to look at some of the factors that play a role with an individual competing at this level.

The challenge with the amateur fighter is dealing with time constraints.  It is important for someone who competes to have a good balance of specific fight training and general physical preparation.  Parts II and III of this series examines some of the methods of physical preparation that are either underutilized or mismanaged in this athletic population.  The mismanagement usually comes in the form of omitting an aspect of training, or through the misapplication of a certain means of training.  An example of misapplication of metabolic training is the overuse of lactic-based training for a fighter whose competition primarily involves striking (i.e. a kick boxer).  The following is an example of a training program that can be followed by an amateur fighter who has had experience with various modes of physical training (i.e. weights, running, etc.) and is preparing for an amateur contest.  To illustrate how this can fit in with the actual fight training, generic recommendations as to what type (referencing intensity level) of fight training may be included on what days.

*Monday

Warm-Up

Day One Jump training

High-intensity fight training (drills and sparring at a level over 70% intensity)

*Tuesday

Warm-Up

Low-intensity fight training

Body Weight Aerobic Capacity Circuit or in place tempo conditioning (working at less than 70% intensity)

*Wednesday

Warm-Up

High-Intensity Fight Training

Strength Training Day One (The link goes back to the article on strength training, do the Monday session in the article)

*Thursday

Repeat Tuesday activities.  The actual drills/exercises can be different, but intensity level should be the same.

*Friday

Warm-Up

Day two Jump training

Day two strength training (This would be the Friday session per the link provided)

*Saturday

Mixed intensity day- fight work.  Give a brief high-intensity stimulus (sparring or high intensity technique work) followed by low intensity drills/recovery.

*Sunday

Off

The weekly outline provides a program that will cycle through different intensities of fight training, while concurrently training general physical qualities.  It would be suggested that this sample be utilized for a period of no longer than 3 weeks, and that an individual has developed a certain level of strength through a foundational program that focuses on correcting muscular imbalances before utilizing max effort and dynamic effort strength methods.  For further information on the methods and techniques utilized, the reader is directed to the references at the end of the linked articles.

This three-week block of training addresses both strength and explosive power.  General aerobic capacity is trained during the low intensity days, with the overall structure of the week utilizing a high/low scheme as advocated for by Francis (2008, 2012).  The only slight exception to this comes from the Friday-Saturday portion where high intensity elements occur in back-to-back training days.  This occurs due to the short period of time the individual is exposed to these elements each day, while Sunday serves as a day of complete rest from all training activities.  Francis (2012)has stated that high-intensity elements can occur in consecutive days as long as the exposure is short.  It would be imperative that if the coach/trainer responsible for fight training limit the exposure of high-intensity drills during fight training on Saturday.

It is emphasized that this plan is just one example that may be utilized for an individual competing at the amateur level of a striking-based combat sport.  As with any program, it is important to understand the training experience of the individual partaking in the plan, which should also include a history of any previous injuries the individual may have experienced.  The elements given can be structured any number of ways based on the other obligations the individual has (i.e. work schedule).  One example (that would actually be more optimal if it can work) is to structure the training sessions such that some of the work is performed in the morning, while the remainder is completed in the evening.  After a three week block such as this, the focus of certain training elements may change depending on how far out from a competition the individual may be.  Successive blocks should look at other aspects of development (i.e. alactic capacity) to ensure overall physical and tactical development before one competes.

Post any questions below.

References

Francis, C.  2008.  The Structure of Training for Speed.  CharlieFrancis.com.

Francis, C.  The Charlie Francis Training System.  Kindle Edition.  2012.

*Other references related to the program are in the article links provided.

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