Fitness lovers don’t need reminding of the importance of integrating resistance training into their fitness regimes. They know there’s no quicker way to significantly boost their levels of strength, speed and endurance, without adding unnecessary bulk
Getting the Basics Right – how to design a resistance training programme that delivers results.
Considerable improvements in training outcomes can be achieved without changing the content of the fitness routine, but simply by altering the sequence of exercises and varying the rest times between exercises. This is achieved by Plyometric training
Plyometric training is now a common element of fitness training programmes. The main purpose of ‘plyometrics’ is to increase the rate of force development, the key ingredient of power. By contrast, the main purpose of heavy weight training is to increase total force production – i.e. maximum strength.
It is logical for runners to seek to increase the rate of force development, because most sprinting movements involve speed for which forces must be generated quickly.
The other advantage of plyometric training is that it comprises jumping and throwing movement patterns that involve a stretch-shortening-cycle (SSC). The muscle and tendons are first lengthened with an eccentric load pulling back your arm to throw a ball, which may increase the subsequent concentric force production and/or allow release of elastic energy, e.g. as the arm accelerates forwards to release the ball. Since most sporting movements involve sprinting, jumping and throwing SSC movements, plyometric training can be viewed as highly effective to improve fitness levels.
Plyometric training, which can generate huge amounts of force in a split second, therefore, increasing speed and force production. The way plyometric and weights exercises are ordered into a power combination workout can have a significant effect on training adaptation and fitness levels.
For endurance runners, high volume mixed with high intensity running training is essential for success. Recovery between sessions is equally important to avoid staleness; and consequently any additional training will not necessarily be beneficial if it adds to fatigue rather than enhancing fitness. If endurance runners wish to add strength sessions to their training programmes, they need to ensure each exercise in the routine is beneficial.
Strength training can improve performance via two main effects: first, the resultant increase in strength can enhance the skill, power or efficiency of the sporting movement; secondly, it will reduce the risk of injury.
Weight Training and Shoulder Injuries – some tips for both prevention and cure
Shoulders are crucial in so all fitness activities, but unfortunately are very susceptible to injury. The throwing movement involves using many muscles at the same time.
Of course, shoulders are particularly important for strength training, as so many exercises rely on the use of the shoulders. So if you want to have effective sessions in the gym, you need to make sure you take proper care of them.
For the shoulder and arm to move efficiently requires coordinated movement of the scapula and humerus, known as scapulo-humeral rhythm. For example, arm abduction is accompanied by some upward rotation of the scapula, allowing the deltoid muscle to maintain a good length-tension relationship throughout the full 180° of abduction.
Problems tend to arise when fitness enthusiasts focus their training solely on the prime mover muscles, such as pectorals and deltoids, resulting in a relative weakness of the rotator cuff and scapular stabiliser muscles. It is common practice now for all adults who do resistance training, to pay extra attention to lateral rotator strengthening. And the same advice applies: be sure to include exercises for the rotator cuff and scapular stabilisers in order to develop balanced strength in the upper body.