Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Condition them til they PUKE!

Conditioning is a huge part of most sports, especially in high school athletics. But, it is also a touchy subject for some coaches... Why, you may ask? Because, no one likes doing it but, it must be done. So how much is enough and when do you back off and know your team is ready?

Let's start with a good weight training program first: Squats, Bench and Power Cleans for Football...check! Wait, haven't we evolved into applying more than the basic three lifts? What about adding in some other main lifts (Kettlebells, Tire Flips, Farmer Walks) or bodyweight movements such as Push-ups and Pull-ups... Focus needs to be placed on getting stronger at moving your own body around before placing an external load. After that is accomplished, then we can focus on endurance and speed mechanics.

Once we have established a base program we can now implement a fundamental sprint and speed program that includes but is not limited to Plyos, Med Balls and running mechanics. Conditioning should include a proper warm-up, stretching (dynamic / static) and CORE exercises, as to prepare the body for the work load that will be placed on it. Now, in order for us to maintain the gains we have made in the weight room, running should be limited to short bursts such as sprints of 40 yds or less, hill sprints of 150 ft or less, or bleachers / stairs. Limiting the distance of each will help the athletes recover for their next sets / reps. We want to focus on fast twitch fibers being called upon with adequate rest periods for power and maximal speed.

If we don't focus on power output and adequate rest periods, then all the conditioning is a waste of time! We want to train our athletes with one thing in mind, "Bang for your Buck!"

Time is a limited resource, can we all agree with this? YES! Well if we only have one hour for the weight room and thirty minutes for conditioning...we need to squeeze the best results out of the least amount of time, with little to no wasted movements / effort. Let's push out all the excess 1 mile time trials for athletes that only run 100 yards on a field, 90 feet to each base or up and down a court during a game.

The best results will come from utilizing your time wisely in all modes of training. Conditioning your athletes to become better at each individual sport is our goal. Don't generalize the workout for time or distance. It won't help any of them and your team unity will be divided.

The final message is for the Coaches out there, Please stop generalizing your conditioning efforts, and focus on specific demands to your sport!


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