Types of Training
When training for a specific sport, the first thing you need to identify is the physical requirements of that particular sport. Are you constantly moving with occasional sprinting, as is the case with soccer or rugby? Or are you requiring maximal bursts of strength and power for short intervals, as is the case with football? Maybe you are a cross-country or a marathon runner. Every sport has different physical requirements, and identifying these requirements is necessary to ensure your training is specific enough to reach your potential.
The principles of strength training, athletic performance, recovery, and speed and agility are applicable to every sport. However, the manner in which these principles are applied to your training are going to dictate their effectiveness for your particular sport. Even marathon runners can benefit from strength training, but the emphasis on strength and power development should not be as great as with a wrestler.
The speed/agility section below will help you determine what energy systems the body is going to utilize for your sport. Almost every sport has both aerobic and anaerobic requirements. With this in mind, training focus should be on which requirement (anaerobic or aerobic) is predominant in the sport. For example, the sprinting and jumping that occurs during basketball is primarily anaerobic so there is no necessity for basketball players to do mile-runs or training of that nature.
Follow the principle of specificity when performing sport-specific training and you will be able to maximize your athletic performance.
Strength training is training specifically geared to increase your strength and power abilities. There are multiple ways to strength train, but the most popular method is resistance training− particularly in the weight room. While the most popular method of resistance training is lifting weights, resistance training can, in essence, be anything that requires your muscles to work against an outside force. This allows bodyweight exercises and even some pool activities to be included when referring to resistance training. While any type of resistance training can be beneficial toward improving fitness, weight training is the only method that will also result in increased bone mineral density and tendon thickness. These two qualities are paramount to avoiding injury. Increasing your bone mineral density will also help your body battle osteoporosis as you age.
When resistance training, there are a few basic training goals you can focus on. These goals include endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power. Endurance is the ability of your muscles to perform repeated tasks at a sub-maximal intensity. Hypertrophy describes an increase in muscle size due to an increase in the cross-sectional area of your muscle fibers. Muscular strength refers to the ability to perform a maximal effort task, such as a one repetition maximum of the bench press. Muscular power is defined by the ability to perform a task at a high velocity. A common term used is “rate of force development.”
When lifting weights to improve the characteristics described above, there are certain repetition and percentage of one repetition maximum (1RM) ranges that research has shown to be most effective.
o ≥12 repetitions
o ≤67% 1RM
o 6-12 repetitions
o 67-85% 1 RM
o ≤6 repetitions
o ≥ 85% 1RM
o Single effort event
• 1-2 repetitions
• 80-90% 1RM
o Multiple effort event
• 3-5 repetitions
• 75-85% 1 RM
One of the biggest benefits of resistance training through bodyweight exercises is versatility. Bodyweight exercises utilize gravity for resistance and therefore require little to no equipment. Bodyweight exercises are a great place to start strength training if you have no experience with resistance training because the risk for injury is much lower than resistance training with weights. If you travel frequently, bodyweight exercises are great because you can do them in the hotel room or even the airport if you don’t mind an audience.
Examples of bodyweight exercises:
• Bodyweight Squats (also called air squats)
• One-legged Squats
• Bulgarian Squats
• Box Jumps
• Depth Jumps
• Inverted Rows
There are numerous other bodyweight exercises out there, but these are a great place to get started.
Age really is no more than a number. No matter how old you are, fitness is attainable and sustainable. Exercise should be just as important to a senior adult as it is to adults of younger ages. Exercise, along with a proper diet, can help prevent chronic diseases as well as keep a senior adult strong enough to perform daily activities.
Senior adults are just as capable of performing the same fitness activities, such as running races and competing in powerlifting meets, as young adults. There are numerous YouTube videos that are proof of this fact.
There are, however, a few cautions when it comes to exercising as a senior adult. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies become less and less resilient. This does not mean that you cannot train for the same events as you did when you were younger; you may just have to adjust your timeline for completion. Older adults should allow for more rest time in between sets when lifting weights, and should increase the volume of aerobic exercise much slower than younger individuals do. Gradual warm-up routines should be longer before exercising as well.
Every fitness program for older adults should include a combination of aerobic and resistance training. Aerobic training is necessary for maintaining cardiovascular health, while resistance training is vital for maintaining muscular strength and bone health. In fact, the CDC recommends that senior adults need at least 2.5 hours of cardiovascular exercise each week in addition to 2 or more days of resistance exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise can range from walking, to running, to riding on a bike; any activity that gets your heart and breathing rate up counts. For instance, if you ride your bike for 20 minutes each morning, and go for a 10 minute walk after dinner each night, you will have completed 3.5 hours of cardiovascular exercise. Combine this routine with 2 days of resistance training and you have completed the CDC’s requirements for exercise.
Resistance training becomes increasingly important as we age. Older women especially are at risk for osteoporosis as they enter the golden years. Research has shown that resistance training, when done properly, can maintain or even improve bone mineral density. Resistance training is the only method that will significantly increase muscular strength in senior adults. The act of climbing stairs, carrying heavy grocery bags, doing yard work, and catching ourselves before falling can become quite difficult for older adults. However, resistance training is an excellent method for combating declines in functional strength.
It is also a beneficial to start a stretching routine. The principle of “use it or lose it” applies to flexibility. Stretching in the mornings upon waking and in the evenings, as well as after exercise, will help maintain flexibility and limit the risk of injury during daily activities and exercise sessions. You can review stretching methods in the warm-up and stretching section above.
The most important thing for a senior adult to remember when exercising is to progress slowly, as mentioned above. Listen to your body, and do not push your limits to the point of injury. Safety is the most important thing to consider no matter what fitness activity you are participating in. Stay safe, and the fitness results will keep you healthy and self-sufficient. -JJ
Agility and speed training is beneficial for increasing athleticism, and is a necessary component for most team sports. By definition, agility is the ability to rapidly change direction and speed is the ability to achieve a high velocity. There are multiple drills and techniques to practice that can increase your personal speed and agility qualities.
First, in order to properly design a program to develop speed and agility, you must understand the physiological factors involved in speed/agility training. Specifically, a basic understanding of bioenergetics (the energy systems the body uses to produce work), provide the ability to produce an effective speed/agility training program.
There are three energy systems the body uses for exercise: phosphagen, glycolysis (fast and slow), and oxidative. This is a chart outlining when the body uses each energy system:
An effective method to develop speed is interval training. Interval training allow you to maintain high intensity exercise with quality while, at the same time, allowing volume. As you can see on the chart, longer duration intervals will develop more oxidative qualities, while shorter duration intervals will develop more anaerobic qualities.
If you are involved in activities and exercises that require short, quick bursts of energy and a very high speed such as football or basketball, emphasis should be place on developing anaerobic qualities. If you are involved in endurance activities such as distance running, cycling, or swimming, emphasis should be placed on developing aerobic qualities. Developing agility is dependent on movement mechanics, coordination, and the ability to accelerate and decelerate quickly.
Popular drills to develop agility:
• Shuttle runs
o Pro Agility
• Cone drills
o Set up cones in shape of letters
• W, L, Z etc.
This is not an exhaustive list of effective agility drills, but is a good place to get started. The main point to keep in mind is to have each drill require a quick change in direction. As long as good mechanics are maintained you can be as creative as you want. Plyometrics may also be beneficial in developing agility.
There are many safe, effective, and efficient ways to accomplish your fitness goals with a home-based workout. With no equipment you can walk around the block, go up and down your stairs or follow a fitness routine on your TV, computer or smart phone. Add in some body weight exercises, balance routines and stretching and you have an awesome program.
Many people set up a home gym with cardio equipment, weights, bands, mini trampoline, etc. This will work if you are self-motivated and have experience in proper form and technique. There are many personal trainers who will come to your home and help you develop a safe and effective program.
Beginners should be cautious about purchasing advanced video workouts. Many injuries have been reported. Start with a beginner video and get advice about which video workouts promote proper progression and instruction on technique.