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Total Guide to Sports Specific Training
How sports stars are pushing their inner athlete...
Sport scientists and coaches structure workouts for their athletes with more focus than ever before.
To improve their speed, strength, stamina and agility all designed at increasing the potential of a player is worth so much in several ways from titles, sponsorship and of course money.
Over the years, athlete fitness has improved dramatically thanks to better nutrition and training techniques. For example Footballers are now about running slightly less distance but sprinting a lot more. In the last six years, sprints have increased by 80%, total distance has fallen by 2% and high speed actions are up by 30%.
A lot of data can be collected by Small GPS systems worn under players' shirts gathering invaluable data such as speed, acceleration, distance and heart rate, which is reviewed by the performance team monitoring every player.
This data can even alert the coaches to any injury, niggles and particularly if a player's work rate begins to drop. It can also help to structure pre-season training and be used to customise an individual player's training requirements, such as targeting specific muscle groups that might need strengthening or further rest needed.
The World Cup Focus showed us the distance covered was 7-10 miles per match depending on the position of the outfield player. Football is an incredibly demanding sport, players are constantly on the move – running, jumping, diving and twisting with rapid directional changes that can burn up to 1,000 calories per game.
Several pre season fitness tests will include these basics
- 20-metre sprint test;
- vertical jumps for single and double leg power.
- To measure agility through an arrowhead run, a YOYO test or Bleep test
To test upper body strength often you might see how much a player can lift for five repetitions using a push and a pull exercise – for example a bench press and maybe a row or pull up.
For their lower body, the same number of reps for squats and deadlifts and we’ll also do a variety of plyometric jumping exercises and isometric leg press tests
One for you to try at home could be a speed test (20 metres) however remember you are putting yourself against professional players:
- Poor = 3.17 secs or more
- Below Average = 3.16 – 3.06 secs
- Average = 3.05 – 2.96 secs
- Good = 2.95 – 2.86
- Excellent = 2.85 secs or less
During the season senior players aim for three Strength sessions a week dependent on training and match schedules.
A upper body and lower body specific sessions as well as a power session. The power session involves explosive work such as horizontal and vertical jumps and Olympic lifts with variations of those which involve moving resistance at speed.
Performance data shows that a top footballer can perform up to 40 explosive sprints, and hit running speeds of over 30kph so a 5 metre – 30 metre test changing direction which allow us to establish how quick each player is between several distances, is often used then built into regular training ground routines and even pre game warm ups.
Wimbledon fever takes Britains attention and puts the SW19 post code on the map for the whole world to watch for 2 weeks. The players development year upon year is amazing and the athletic nature of players are admired by several sports coaches. In tennis you will need your Anaerobic system as the powerful serve and quick sprints to get across the court will be rapid, but the nature of tennis matches is constant movement during trading shot after shot which keeps matches going for hours which clearly works your aerobic system too.
Some stats in tennis show players covering 3-5 miles per match depending on the two, three, four or sets you could be playing.
- 48% of travel is sideways
- 6-10 seconds is an average rally
- 3 meters average travel per shot
- 8-12 meters average travel per point
Strength is required in muscles and joints for hitting the ball with high velocity and to reduce injury risk the ability to decelerate quickly means your body has to be very finally tuned.The range of movement (ROM) in the main joints like rotator cuff muscles is essential for strokes and on-court movement. Specifically the lateral flexion of the serve and rotation across the core means the strength of the hips and transverse muscles need to be powerful.
As Tennis players start working with Cooper Tests or Bleep Tests the use of the tennis court specific tests is gathering more demand. The use of court dimensions and the combination of specific footwork and hitting actions are highly desirable. During the past decade, different protocols have been published with an acceptable accuracy under standardised conditions. Weber and Hollmann were the first authors describing an incremental on-court exercise test for assessing aerobic power in tennis players. The particular component for the standardisation of this test was the use of a ball machine, which projected balls alternatively to the right and the left corners of the baseline. Players had to hit alternating forehands and backhands in a prescribed pattern and the number of balls in the back corners were counted and scored. This test does help the skill level characters of the game however tennis is in need of more standardised approaches not including expensive equipment like ball machines.
Tour de France is one of the worlds most prestigious events, its a three week period where 21 stages including titles of Yellow Jersey for the General Leader, Red and White Polka Dots for the King of the Mountains, Green Jersey for the Sprinters and a White Jersey for the fastest under 25 year old rider. Its an incredible sight to see these super fit fearless riders pushing themselves in some stages to the maximum their bodies can take. Tour De France winner Miguel Indurian had a heart rate reported at 28 beats per minute (bpm), with many other cyclists in the low thirties too and compared to Usain Bolt who has had his recorded at 33bpm and the average healthy person at 70bpm it shows great strength and fitness of the cardiac system.
The Wattbike is the indoor bike of choice for cyclists. Originally developed when British Cycling requested an indoor training bike that could record extensive data for pros and amateurs alike. And now used by the top cycling federations and chosen by the UCI World Cycling Centre as the testing and education bike for its base and satellite centres around the world. Real-ride feel technology, cutting edge analysis and unrivalled accuracy; the Wattbike makes training efficient, measuring both your speed and power output, whilst the bikes Performance Computer enables the accurate measurement of over 40 performance parameters such as Power Output, Pedalling Effectiveness, Left and Right Leg Balance and cadence.
One of the best numbers to learn on the Wattbike is your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) it represents your ability to sustain the highest possible power output. The test can be calculated from a 20min test and will give you accurate training zones. Another short sharp but exhausting test is the 6sec Peak Power test. The test measures your highest peak power and cadence. You may find these metrics useful if you are adding sprint interval work to your training, as peak power will help you measure the effectiveness of your training.
Writen by Matt Gleed