Development of the Alactic System II- Alactic Power

In the previous post, there was some background provided on the topic of training  the alactic system. It is recommended that you read that post, along with some of the other posts that are linked to that post if you are unfamiliar with the basics of this topic. This post will apply the information to how to develop power of the alactic system, which is important in any sport where the training speed and power elements is necessary in an athlete’s physical development.

Before getting into developing power of the alactic system, one needs to look at the difference between developing the capacity a systems versus power. Verkhoshansky (2011, pg 164) defined power and capacity as:

Power- the quantity of energy produced in a time unit
Capacity- total quantity of energy produced

So simply put, power looks at the rate in which one produces energy. This is an area of neglect by sport coaches by virtue of the “conditioning” that gets implemented both during the in-season and, by virtue of what the athletes get exposed to in-season, what the athletes either look to focus on with their off-season training (if not given any guidance, or by what the sport coach tells them to do).  Reproducing an effort time and time again means nothing if the individual efforts don’t achieve the necessary production (for example, producing enough force).  Therefore, it is necessary to address this area of preparation by producing maximal efforts with appropriate rest periods and volumes of work to achieve this goal.

This now comes back to speed and power development for athletes.  The following is an example of a sprinting protocol that could be utilized to improve speed/power in an athlete:

Set 1

3 X 10 yard sprints ( 1 minute rest between reps) Rest 3 minutes

Set 2

2 X 20 yard sprints (2 minute rest between reps)

This is a basic example that can be used to address speed for cyclic athletes, or can be used as a general means of improving force production for some athletes whose sport or activity does not involve linear running.  Over the course of a few weeks, sprints can be added to the overall volume (the key would be to make sure that speed does not drop off with later repetitions).  Addressing this type of preparation may also be performed through other means as well (i.e. jump training).  It is important that individuals in athletic endeavors appropriately address physical preparation though means most important for their sport.  Addressing this aspect of training is very important to sports where power development is necessary to enhance performance.

References & Recommended Readings

Verkshoshansky, Y.  Verkhoshansky, N.  (2011).  Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches.  Rome, Italy: Verkhoshansky SSTM.

Misconceptions of Strength in Athletics and General Fitness II

1.   Strength training will make you slow and inflexible.

Herein lies a situation which again is dependent upon how training is implemented.  I can attest (from my experiences in training when I was younger) that if you don’t implement mobility and corrective exercise as a part of your routine, your mobility will decrease and your chances of injury will increase.  The same idea is applicable when saying that heavy strength training will make you slower.   If speed and power are important components of your training, then you need to accommodate this.  And in order to be powerful and explosive, there is something you need to consider: you need to be able to apply force.  So getting stronger is absolutely a vital training component in a speed and power athlete.  There are countless ways to do this in your training; again the important thing is understand the process and how all training modes will help you achieve your end goal.  So while you can sit there and cite bodybuilders (particularly the ones that compete in heavier weight classes) who wouldn’t be able to run and move on a football field, remember that is NOT their goal in training

If you are worried about maintaining your movement while undergoing training the slow component of strength (i.e. lifting heavier weights), utilize mobility drills and corrective exercise prehab movements to prevent injuries.

2.  If you want to lose weight, cardio is all you need.

I would think in the internet age that most people are probably past this one, but I will address it anyway because I know there are people out there that still believe this.  I am also going to lump into this discussion all of the various types of group training “classes” that don’t include any significant level of resistance training into their workouts with the intent to “tone” muscles (For the record, there is not such thing as muscle tone in the way it is described by infomercials. Tone is a function of the central nervous systems in regards to muscle activity; the tone people are usually aiming to get through training involves having low body fat and MUSCLE MASS).  Yes that is correct, you need muscle in order to have tone.  How do you do this?  Strength Training.  Now this is not to say that some type of conditioning is not important.  Everyone at some point in their training should do various types of cardiovascular/aerobic/anaerobic conditioning as a part of their exercise for overall health and well-being; and if you are an athlete, training these energy systems is all the more important in training for your sport.

In summary, if you want a complete exercise plan regardless of your fitness goals, strength training should be included.

If you get this and want to post a question on how to incorporate these variables in your training, post in the comments.

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