General Physical Preparation/Anatomical Adaptation: The Foundation

In a previous post I have described concepts related to the planning of training.  One of those concepts relates to the idea of building a foundation prior to more intense or specific training.  The error that takes place in many training or fitness programs is to not realize that long-term planning is necessary for results.  Individuals take on forms of exercise without understanding that a some time should have been spent in a more basic program.  This is largely due to the culture of “high-intensity” exercise has spread through social media and the internet, and that if you are somehow not constantly creating excessive levels of fatigue through endless burpees and squat jumps that you are not training optimally.

A well-planned general physical preparation phase of training (or what is sometimes referred to as anatomical adaptation) can build a solid foundation for more intense exercise/training to follow.  This type of training also allows individuals to address orthopedic injury prevention to maintain structural health during training and competition.  The following is an example of a two day a week training program that may be implemented for this purpose.

Day 1

Extensive Dynamic Warm-Up

Strength Training Pre-hab (Injury prevention exercises based on sport)

Strength Training

1A.  DB Reverse Lunge 3X15
1B. DB Flat Bench 3X12
1C. Rolling Side Plank 3X10

*30 seconds between exercises/2 minutes between sets

2A.  Cable Row 3X15
2b.  Stability Ball Hip Lift/Hamstring Curl 3X12
2C.  Birddog 3X5 sec, 4 sec, 3 sec, 2 sec, 1 sec holds

*Rest periods same as above

3A.  DB Lateral Raises 3X15
3B.  Tricep Pressdowns 3X12
3C. DB Stiff-Legged Deadlift 3X12
3D.  McGill Crunch 3X12 each side

*Rest periods same as above

Day Two

Extensive Warm-Up

Strength Training Pre-hab

Exercises 1A-1C from Day 1 session weeks for 4 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps respectively with same weight used on Day 1.

Exercises 2A-2C from Day 1 session for 12 and 10 reps.  Birddog can be 4 sets of 3 with descending holds

Exercises 3A-3D from Day 1 session for 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 10.

These sessions can be performed on non-consecutive days during the week.  Typically with a program such as this I would prescribe a three-day program, but this two-day program can certainly get someone off to a good start.  For the most part this type of program can be performed by anyone who is a beginner, or is at the start of a training period before increasing the intensity of training.  It was mentioned previously that some injury prevention work can be included in a program such as this.  Some examples are:

Rotator cuff work

Basic hip strengthening

Ankle strengthening

The inclusion of work such as this during training would be as specific as you would get given the nature of this type of training.  It would be recommended that other types of training be conducted simultaneously with a program such as this (i.e. low-intensity jumps and aerobic work) to address other necessary components of one’s physical preparation.

References

See previous post.

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.

Training for Amateur Combat Athletes Part III: Jump Training

Parts I and II of this series focus on various aspects of training for an amateur combat athlete.  As previously stated, training of these athletes represents unique challenges.  This post will focus on how to incorporate jump training into the weekly schedule.  In part I it was explained how many of these athletes face scheduling challenges.  The goal of this series is to illustrate an example of how general training principles can exist with technical training for these individuals.

Jump training has been used as a form of general physical preparation for quite some time.  Verkhoshansky and Verkhoshansky (2011) stated that this form of exercise can be implemented in a complete training program to improve any of the following qualities:

*Maximal & Explosive Strength

*Reactive ability

*Local muscular endurance

*Maximal anaerobic power

*Neuromuscular coordination

The method of execution will dictate the effect this form of training has on the individual.  In the program to be outlined in this article, the focus will be on the development of explosive strength.  For the purposes of an giving a training example, the programming for this aspect of training will be designed with the strength example given in part two.  The type of jump to be utilized for developing explosive strength will be the box jump.  While a relatively simple exercise to perform, it is important that the quality of movement is very important.  Since our goal here is not metabolic conditioning, we need to use appropriate rest intervals to be sure that we are achieving the desired training goal.

For adding the jump training into the current program outlined (in the previous parts of this series), one has a few options.

*Do the jump training immediately before the strength training.

*Do it on a separate day, but put at least 48 hours between sessions.

*Do one session in the morning and one in the afternoon.

So there will essentially be two days of jump training.  The workouts will be as follows:

Day 1

Box Jumps (3 minutes rest between sets/arbitrary rest between reps)

week 1- 4X3

week 2-  5X3

week 3- 6X3

Day 2

Box Jumps (Same rest periods)

week 1- 4X2

week 2- 3X3

week 3- 5X2

Given all that is going to be done in the course of the week with training, this part of the program is going to be relatively simple.  The box jump is an easy exercise to perform.  The author’s  preference is for concentrating on good landings onto the box, and only jump to a box that will allow your pelvis to remain in a neutral position while ascending to and landing on the box.  If by chance someone does not have a box they can jump on, single response squat jumps will work fine as well (and can be progressed by using resistance for a second wave of training).  The week is set-up so that the second training session consists of a lower volume of exercise.

This portion of the program will aim to develop explosive lower body strength.  It is again important to carry out this type of exercise in a manner consistent with developing that specific trait.  Individuals training for combat sports have a tendency to want to make every training session more of a metabolic based conditioning session.  Make every effort to maintain quality of movement with using the appropriate rest periods.  Part IV of this series will integrate all of the concepts previously discussed, while also including some other training methods in the week.  A full training schedule, with fight training included, will be outlined as an example to illustrate how to practically use this information as an amateur fighter.  Questions on this topic can be placed in the comments section.

References:

Verkhoshansky, Y., Verkhoshansky, N.  2011.  Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches.  Verkhoshansky SSTM.  Rome, Italy.

 

Training for the Amateur Combat Athlete Part II: Warm-Up and Strength Training

In Part I of this series, there is an overview of some of the general concerns associated with training competitive amateur combat athletes.  As stated in that post, the focus of the series will be on athletes involve in competitions that rely on striking (i.e. kickboxing).  While some of the information can carry over to events that involve grappling, there will be other elements that should be added to optimize performance in those events.  This post will focus on the warm-up to address joint mobility and preparation prior to general and technical training, and the strength training element.  It is suggested to read the first part of this series to give oneself an idea as to what some of the issues and items to address with amateur fighters.

Warm-up is an important component when engaging in physical activity.  The physical benefits on an appropriately designed warm-up includes the following:

*enhanced activation of the nervous system

*improved metabolic response to exercise

*increased muscle temperature

*increased oxygen delivery to muscles

*nourish the joint surfaces

What is important to remember is that the warm-up should encompass much more that just static stretching or a few minutes jumping rope (although both of these things may be included in the warm-up with other activities).  By performing a gradual progression of activities in a warm-up, one can both optimize the training session to follow and help prevent injuries.  Going though a longer, more extensive warm-up one can also help improve work capacity.

Here is one example of a warm-up that can be used for combat athletes

As you see in the video, there is a gradual progression of the types of movements performed in the warm-up.  There is also the inclusion of power speed drills typically used in the preparation of athletes who require sprinting as a component of their sport.  While no form of running is directly specific to any combat athlete, the general nature of the movements can effectively prepare these athletes for their main training sessions.  In addition, if the athlete partakes in sprinting/running activities as a general part of their training, these drills function in working form.  Longer warm-ups can also have the ability to enhance work capacity and help in developing the aerobic system in a low cost manner.  Activities such as this can be performed on “off” days from more intense training to also assist with recovery.

The second item to address in this post will be the strength element.  Strength training is an important component of physical preparation for any sport, and may times is neglected due to erroneous fears associated with strength training.  As with many individuals in sport preparation, amateur fighters lack general preparation and attempt to train by only utilizing specific means  of preparation (fight training) for a contest.  This is not to say that the technical aspects of training are unimportant; but everyone who competes in any sport need a level of conditioning to achieve optimal results.  Randomly throwing in general forms of exercise (i.e. battle ropes, kettlebells, yoga) within the technical training is not a plan for conditioning.

For the amateur fighter and purposes of this post, it will be recommended to have structured weight training carried out two times per week (it will be assumed that a fighter is about 3 months away from a fight).  The schedule and structure to be suggested is based on a model proposed by Scott and Saylor (2010), and one the author has suggested in the past for these types of competitors.  The two sessions should be separated by at least 72 hours to allow for appropriate recovery.   The training days for strength will take place on Monday and Friday (this can be adjusted based on what days the fighter will be training during the week and the intensity of training on those days).  The following example will be a 3 week block of training one may utilize.

Monday

1. Box Squat- Work up to 90% of 1 Repetition Max and take 2-3 more singles at that weight or heavier

2.  DB Romanian Deadlift 3 X 10

3a. DB Flat Bench Press 3X12

3b. DB Single Arm Row 3X15-20

4.  DB Lateral Raises 3X12

5.  Abdominal Exercise

Friday

1.  Box Squat Dynamic Effort

wk1- 60 12 X 2 (40 second rest between sets)

wk2- 65 12 X 2

wk3- 70 10 X 2

2. DB Lunges 2 X 12-15

3a. Band Good Mornings 3 X 10-12

3b.  Abdominal Exercise

4.  Lat Pulldown, Chin-Up, or Pull-Up (Choose one) 3 X 10-125.

5.  Oxidative Push-Ups (2 seconds down, 2 seconds up no lockout at top) 30 second sets/Rest 60 seconds X 4 sets (This can progress over the course of 3 weeks)

The program outlined utilizes both the max effort method and the dynamic effort methods as described by Zatsiosky and Kraemer (2006) and applied by Simmons (2013).   One of the goals of this training is to improve one’s ability to apply force.  Improvements will come in improvements in absolute strength, providing a fighter with the capability to have greater outputs during their fights.  While raising absolute strength though max effort weights may not improve outputs in a professional level fighter, fighters at the amateur level will typically need to raise this quality in order to maximize their performance.  In reality, the design of this portion of the general physical preparation training will be based on the individual needs of the fighter; however, many amateur fighters (and their coaches for that matter) don’t think they need to raise their strength levels when in fact they need to.  Some individuals may require a program based more on lower intensity/high volume strength work to prepare their bodies for this type of strength training (this topic can be addressed in another post).  The next power with look at explosive power development through jumps.

Resources

Scott, S. & Saylor, J.  (2010).  Combat Conditioning for Sports.  Santa Fe, NM: Turtle Press.  Kindle Edition.

Simmons, L.  (2013).  Explosive Strength Development for Jumping.

Zatsiorsky, V.M., & Kraemer, W. J.  (2006)  Science and Practice of Strength Training.  Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

 

Training for the Amateur Combat Athlete Part I: General Planning and Overview

Combat sports have grown in popularity over the past 10-15 years, which can partially be attributed to the increased exposure of professional fighting organizations.  Individuals who compete professionally have to manage working on the technical aspects of fighting, along with managing the training of physical traits important to their sport.  Competing at the amateur level also requires planning to achieve optimal results during contests.  Fighters competing at this level have the added challenge of developing a training schedule around other life obligations (i.e. full-time/part-time job).  In order to compete successfully at the amateur level (and if one ever plans to compete professionally) one needs to make sure that all training stresses are accounted for appropriately, and that both tactical training and physical conditioning are planned for during the training week.  This series of article posts will address the physical requirements and training for combat athletes training at the amateur level in a striking based competition with no ground fighting/grappling component.

An individual looking to compete in amateur fights should look to plan physical stresses to both optimize their performance in the right and to prevent injuries.  This many times is difficult for participants at this level due to the fact that even their tactical planning is usually not very well organized.  Drills are more or less randomly performed over the course of the week without looking at the stresses that are being imposed on the body.  Training to address the general physical qualities required for competition are not addressed adequately, or they are addressed through random incorporation of conditioning exercises made to create a feeling of exhaustion for the athlete.  Physical traits that should be developed when participating in activities such as this include exercises and training sessions that involve the following (in no particular order of importance):

*optimal mobility/flexibility

*strength development

*explosive power

*metabolic conditioning (aerobic & anaerobic development)

*injury prevention

Fighting coaches who run facilities where amateur competitors train typically run group classes that involve participants who do not partake in fighting competitively.  While this doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem, many times it becomes an issue because of not taking into account the stresses imposed on the body in an effort to design “tough workouts” throughout the week.  Many of the things done to promote general fitness are done so to the detriment of the overall development to the competitive fighter (and to the other people looking for training as more of a hobby or for general fitness, but that right now is beyond the scope of this article series).  Coaches need to understand that the qualities listed above need to be developed in an appropriate fashion, and that this training needs to take place with the technical aspects of training at the same time.  As stated previously this all has to be done with tighter time constraints, as amateur fighters will typically have more limited times to train.

The series of articles dedicated to this topic will address ways in which the general physical preparation can be included in the training week of a fighter preparing for a competition.  Understanding that technical training and practice will be taking place at the same time, there will be some general discussion of the intensity and what type of practice should be taking place on days based upon a hypothetical training week for a fighter.  While this series can’t take into account every individual’s nuances about their obligations during the week, it can serve as a reference to be adjusted if necessary.  Part two of this series will look at implementing a strength training routine in the weekly training.

Practical Strength Applications for Athletes

Athletes in any sport require development of various physical attributes to have success in competition.  Strength development is necessary in athletic preparation, yet is commonly not addressed in a manner necessary to provide optimal results for the athlete.  There are aspects of strength development that need to be considered based upon the demands of the sport and the experience of the athlete.  While strength development for athletes is important, the level of strength and priority of it will be based on the resistance that gets encountered in the sport (Baker, 2014).

Many individuals will take the previous statement and limit exposure to strength training with external resistance claiming it is unnecessary for athletes.  These same individuals will cite individuals who compete at certain levels while only undertaking certain strength modalities (i.e. bodyweight only, kettlebells, etc) and claim that is all they need to make them strong.  Limiting the strength prescription to this can possibly neglect base strength development, particularly for more novice athletes (anyone not competing at an elite level- professional or Olympic).   This post will focus on some basic considerations when looking to design a strength program for an athlete who does not compete in powerlifting or Olympic lifting.

1.  Develop strength in basic movements first

The benefits of incorporating the power lifts (bench press, squats, and deadlifts) will be discussed; however, it is important to understand basic movements prior to doing more advanced exercises.  While bodyweight exercises can accomplish this, they should not be seen as the only way to address this issue.  Resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells can be utilized early in developing appropriate movement patterns and base levels of strength.  Many individuals will require a certain amount of work be completed in certain bodyweight exercises prior to utilizing external resistance.  This can possible cause certain movements and muscle groups to be neglected.  Take pulling as an example; chin-ups and pull-ups are typically more difficult for younger and less experienced individuals who undertake a strength program (as opposed to push-ups).  While there are certainly progression with chin-ups and pull-ups, strength in the pulling muscles may also be developed via pulling motions with external resistance (i.e. dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns, etc).  Witholding those exercises until vertical bodyweight pulling can be completed at a certain level (i.e. everyone must perform 20 chin-ups before utilizing external resistance), overall strength in these muscle groups may get delayed.

2.  The benefits of barbell exercises (power lifts)

Francis (2014) discusses that strength work will always be a means and not an “end.”  Athletes don’t need to have numbers of elite powerlifters in the power lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift), however there is a great benefit to utilizing these exercises for physical development.  Beyond what are considered the obvious adaptations to exercise, the recruitment of motors units with exercises such as these had a great benefit to an athlete.  Any of these lifts performed at greater than 80% intensity are considered a high intensity stimulus (Francis, 2014).  This type of motor unit recruitment can assist with power development by affecting force-velocity relationships in sport activity.  This requires responsible loading of strength activities, coupled with utilizing complimentary training activities, which includes jumping activities (explosive strength) and high quality speed work.  Max strength as a quality should be developed to an level to the point where it does not interfere with other athletic qualities

3.  Injury prevention.

Neuromuscular coordination and soft tissue resiliency can be addressed through proper strength training.  Athletes should be addressing regions of the body that are susceptible to injury based on their sport.  Gender can certainly influence the impact of certain injuries and should be something to take into consideration when designing the program.  Early in training, high-repetition exercises can be utilized to allow for soft tissue adaptation (Scott & Saylor, 2010).

Strength training in athletic preparation is sometimes poorly planned, or in some instances, not utilized at all.  The prevailing attitude of some sports is that strength training is either unnecessary or should be kept to a minimum to prevent a decline in performance.  Much of this thought is due to not having an understanding of how strength training fits into the preparation of certain types of athletes.  While training for maximum strength in the weight room is not the goal of many team and individual sports, neglecting achieving an optimal level of strength will limit one’s development in other areas of sports performance.

Recommended Readings

Baker, D. (2014).  Using Strength Platforms for Explosive Performance.  In Joyce, D., & Lewindon D.  (Eds.)  High-Performance Training for Sports.  Champaign, IL:  Human Kinetics.  Kindle Edition

Francis, C. (2014).  Training for Power and Strength in Speed.  http://www.charliefrancis.com.  Kindle Edition.

Scoot, S., & Saylor, J.  (2010).  Conditioning for Combat Sports.  Santa Fe, NM:  Turtle Press.  Kindle Edition.

The Weekly Training Schedule II: Off-Season Field Hockey

In the article The Weekly Training Schedule: General Recommendations for Training Elements, an outline was presented as to how to manage training stressors over the course of a week.  This article provided some very general guidelines on how to include various types of exercise into one’s training plan.  This post will focus on providing an example for a week of off-season training for the sport of field hockey.  Demands in this sport need to take into consideration the different positions played (attack, midfield, defense, and goalie).  The schedule and training modes presented at the end of this article will be based on an individual who plays the attack position.

Konarski (2010) performed an in-depth analysis into the match play of athletes on the Polish National Team.  This study examined factors related to players’ heart rates, energy expenditure, speeds, and distances traveled.  The results of this analysis revealed that field hockey requires high levels of speed and speed endurance, along with proper development of the aerobic system (Konaraksi, 2010; Sharkey 1986; Konarski et al,. 2006).  Players playing the attack position achieved the highest velocities, along with traveling farther than the other positions (Konarski, 2010).  This information supports an emphasis on high-quality speed development for these athletes, along with properly dosed aerobic work to complement to low-intensity aspects of the sport.

For the weekly training plan ,an athlete in the off-season will be looking to spend time on the elements discussed along with strength development.  As stated previously, the example to be used below will be for an athlete who plays the attack position.  While similar applications can be made for the midfielders and defenders, one would want to consider slight modifications to running volumes and intensities with these athletes.  The weekly template, along with training modes are as follows:

Day One

Dynamic Warm-Up (20 minutes of heart rate elevation, bodyweight movements, power/speed drills)

Speed Work (High quality with complete rest periods)

*Sprints 10-40 m distance range.  200-400 m total work

Lower Body Weights

*(Rehabilitation-based movements prior to main lifts.  For female field hockey athletes this would include work for the hip muscles (particularly the hip extensors and abductors) and ankles.

Day Two

Upper Body Weights

*(Rehabilitation-based movements prior to main lifts.  This would include exercises that reinforce good upper body posture)

Low-intensity power speed drills

Tempo Runs- Run at 75% for a total volume of approximately 2,000 to 2,500 with repetitions in the 50-100 m range.

Day Three

Off or Active Rest

*Option to do agility drills with extensive tempo intensity (<75%)

Day Four

Dynamic Warm-Up (As described previously)

Speed Work (Reduced volumes from Day One)

Lower Body Weights

Day Five

Upper Body Rehabilitation Strength Exercises

Upper body Weights

Tempo Runs- Same as described on Day Two with reduced volumes

Days Six/Seven

*At least one day totally off.

The template offers an option for four days of training involving strength, which can be modified to a three-day program (which has been used successfully by the author with some athletes).   There are various means by which the strength portion can be applied and the reader is encouraged to view a past article on this topic. One mistake that currently presents itself in regards to running is the emphasis on long-distance running from both a training and testing perspective.  Many coaches place an emphasis on testing 1, 1.5, and 2 mile runs in an effort to evaluate the endurance of their athletes.  While aerobic training certainly plays a role in the development of a field hockey athlete, the application of these testing measures is faulty.  The reader is encouraged to read the references cited below to support this premise.   It is again emphasized that the schedule presented above is a general outline for a week of training for a field hockey athlete playing the attack position.  A future post will reflect specifics as it relates to guidelines for each of the individual modes of training.  For now, the reader at least has some concept as to how to structure weekly training for this particular athlete.  Please feel free to post questions in the comments section on the facebook page.

For program consulting or training, visit here or email at jasonmensinger79@gmail.com.

References

1.  Konarski, J. J.  (2010).  Characteristics of chosen parameters of external and internal loads in Eastern European high level field hockey players.  Journal of Human Sport & Exercise, 5 (1), 43-58.

2.  Konarski, J. J., Matuszynski, M., & Strzelczyk, R.  (2006).  Different team defense tactics and heart rate during a field hockey match.  Studies in Physical Culture and Tourism, 3, 145-148.

3.  Sharkey, B.  (1986).  Coaches guide to sport physiology.  Champaign, IL:  Human Kinetics.

 

 

 

The Weekly Training Schedule: General Recommendations for Training Elements

Athletes of all levels of preparation will be using various means of training to address the physical requirements of their sport.  While characteristics of the means will vary based on sport demands, most forms of training will be included in an athlete’s training.  Components of the physical preparation process include:

1.  Skill Development

2.  Injury Prevention

3.  Strength Development

4.  Power Development

5.  Energy System Development

6.  Speed Development

7.  Multi-directional abilities (depending on the sport)

Depending on the time of year (or the length of time until competitions) athletes will be looking to address all or some of these areas in their training.  It is of vital importance that the individual in charge of the physical preparation of athletes strategically manage training in an effort to both develop the athlete, while at the same time not risking injury or overtraining.  Many sport coaches make the mistake of implementing a training schedule based on the concept of “working hard” by implementing high stress elements on a daily basis, with maybe one day “off” or “light” during the week.  It is important to recognize the impact of the training elements on the central nervous system (CNS) to determine how the athlete will recover from said training element.

As discussed in previous posts, the works of Charlie Francis (2012 & 2008) discuss the High/Low system of training, which manages stresses of the CNS over the week.  New trends in fitness have lead to athletes haphazardly implementing low-quality, high-intensity training on a daily basis in an effort to get athletes “in-shape” or “mentally prepare” themselves for the rigors of sport participation.  This mismanagement of training tends to go much more harm then good, even if short-term benefits appear to be occurring.  The High/Low System separates elements into high or low categories based upon stress to the CNS.  While there are elements that are deemed Medium intensity, Francis includes them in high intensity training since you cannot recover from this type of training in 24 hours.

Examples of High and low components are as follows (Francis 2012 & Francis 2008):

High

Sprints above 95%

High intensity Jumps

Strength Training (Efforts above 80%)

Explosive MB Throws (Note: some individuals will place these in a “medium” category, but as stated earlier, medium stresses will get considered high for recover purposes)

Low

Tempo Conditioning (Extensive <75%)

Assistance Strength Training Exercises/Abdominal

Low intensity MB Throws

Sport skills can fall into the same categories based upon the intensity in which they are performed.  When looking at a week of training, one should determine where different elements may fit in order to optimize training outputs and recovery.   When a training approach is to utilize all training variables at different volumes over the week, one needs to make sure that the organization of different modes of training are performed in an appropriate order.  While volumes of each of the components will change, here is a basic template for placing them over the course of a training week for an athlete in the offseason  (note: this does not include warm-up activities that would precede training sessions):

Day 1

Sprints

Jumps

Throws

Strength Work

Day 2

Strength

Extensive Tempo Conditioning

Abdominal Training

Day 3

Off or Extensive Tempo or Cardiac Work (HR 100-140 beats per minute)

Day 4

Repeat Day One

Day 5

Repeat Day Two

Days 6 & 7

Off or Extensive Tempo or Cardiac Work (HR 100-140 beats per minute).  It would be suggested to take at least one day totally off for passive recovery (i.e. massage, passive stretching, etc.)

It is important to manage training stressors over the course of a week, and to make sure that you are utilizing methods that match the demands of the sport.  One must make sure that outputs are optimal on high CNS stress elements to make sure that adaptations to the training will yield the desired results.  While the schedule above may be reflected of many different training options, one needs to also consider the time of the year for the athlete (i.e. off-season, in-season, etc) when designing weekly training schedules.

References

Francis, C (2012).  The Charlie Francis Training System.  (Kindle edition).

Francis, C.  (2008).  The Structure of Training for Speed.  Charliefrancis.com.  (Kindle edition).

Rolling Plank

It is very important when doing this exercise that you brace your abdomen appropriately to start the movement.  The key with this movement is to keep your ribs locked onto your pelvis the entire time; don’t allow your hips/pelvis to initiate the movement or shift (on one of the reps I actually have a slight shift going into the front plank).

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