All posts filed under: Strength & Conditioning

Strength and Conditioning posts, excerpts and articles. Read all about the latest happenings from the world of S&C. Find out how to gain size and strength for sport specific applications.

How to choose the right strength training exercises for athletes

As a coach choosing the right strength training exercises for athletes can be a daunting task with so many options out there: free weights, exercise machines, isometrics, uphill ambulation with an additional load, drop jumps, self-resistance exercises, and so on. In this post, adapted from Science and Practice of Strength Training, we explore the various classes of exercises used for strength enhancement for both beginning and qualified athletes. Classification First, let’s start by exploring the different classes of strength training exercises. Exercises used for strength training are typically classified according to the change in muscle length. They may be static, or isometric, which literally means “constant length,” or dynamic, a category further divided into exercises with concentric, eccentric, or reversible muscle action. Dynamic exercises are also sometimes labeled isotonic (from iso, meaning “constant,” and tonic, meaning “tension”). The underlying assumption is that the muscle produces an unvarying amount of tension while shortening as it overcomes a constant resistance. This is not the case for intact muscles. If external resistance (weight lifted) is constant, the tension exerted by a muscle varies during shortening because of …

What is the coaching communication loop and how can you use it?

As a coach, how we communicate with our athletes is key. What we say, how we say it and when we say it can all influence a player’s performance. In this post we explore the coaching communication loop, examining what a coach should say before, during and after an athlete moves, adapted from Nick Winkelman’s The Language of Coaching. Coaching Communication Loop While the beginning and end of each training session allows for preplanned messaging, the middle requires an adaptable yet repeatable pattern of communication that can be molded to the learning needs of the athlete. To achieve this balance of structure and flexibility, it is important that coaches have a communication model that can circle the movement, providing guidance on what to say before, possibly during, and after an athlete moves. Recognising the necessity and utility of such a model, Nick Winkelman conceptualized the coaching communication loop in The Language of Coaching, which simply calls attention to the five most important coaching moments surrounding each rep or set of a movement. These five moments, represented …

How to design a program for maximal hypertrophy

In this post we explore how to achieve maximal hypertrophy from your training plan. Adapted from Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy we explore how to gain maximal hypertrophy across various major muscle groups. Exercise Selection Strategies Selecting the appropriate exercises is an important factor for maximizing whole-body muscle hypertrophy. For example, certain muscles have multiple attachments that improve leverage for movement patterns. Moreover, myofibers often are subdivided into neuromuscular compartments, each of which is innervated by its own nerve branch. Functionally independent muscle segments facilitate the central nervous system’s ability to fine-tune human movement for optimum efficiency during complex motor tasks. Importantly, these inter- and intramuscular architectural variances reinforce the need to adopt a multiplanar, multiangled approach to hypertrophy-oriented training using a variety of exercises. Maximal hypertrophy can be achieved only by systematically varying the exercise performed and fully working all aspects of the targeted musculature. We explore how to employ these strategies to maximize hypertrophy in various major muscle groups. Abdominals Crunch The rectus abdominis is the primary muscle responsible for carrying out spinal flexion. …

Injury prevention methods every footballer should know

Photo by Pixabay (Pexels) Injury is something which can fill players and coaches with a feeling of dread, potentially hindering performance for both the individual and the team.  Preparing the body through conditioning, strength training, and developing power, speed and agility are all key factors in preventing injury in football, ensuring the body is primed and ready for the demands of the sport. However, preventing injury isn’t simply about physical fitness. In fact preventing injury starts before even stepping into the training session. In this post we explore the key aspects of daily training and match routines to help lower the risk of injury taken from Complete Conditioning for Soccer.  Sleep It’s probably not news to you that getting enough quality sleep is important. It’s vital for our overall health, but also for injury prevention too.  When preparing for a match sleep should be taken into consideration. Pre-match day training should help players return to their baseline levels, to perform close to their optimal standards. This includes the management and care of all fatigue and damage the body …