The idea of sports performance is not new. However, it was only recently that the concept gained popularity among health professionals and athletes. Since then, there have been many studies conducted on the topic. These studies show that physical activity can improve a number of health indicators such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body mass index (BMI), diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) and even depression.
However, what makes these findings so interesting is that they are all associated with regular exercise rather than high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest. While this method may seem effective at improving aerobic capacity, it does little to improve strength or power. There are other types of training methods which do both: low-intensity continuous resistance training (LICRT) and high-intensity intermittent training (HITT).
In order to understand how these two different training methods differ, let’s first look at some basic definitions.
Low Intensity Continuous Resistance Training (LICRT): This type of training uses relatively low-intensity exercises such as walking lunges, pushups and sit ups. High Intensity Interval Training (HITT): This type of training involves brief bouts of very high intensity exercise separated by shorter periods of recovery between intervals.
In endurance events, it is recommended that the athlete trains using LICRT or HITT rather than a combination of both. This is because these types of training are used to improve aerobic capacity (VO2max) and anaerobic threshold.
Now let’s talk about strength and power training. Most sports require you to train your muscles to enable them to perform explosive bursts of activity in short intervals (such as sprinting and jumping). While HITT can improve your muscles’ ability to do this, LICRT is most effective at increasing strength and muscle growth (hypertrophy). However, it’s important to combine the two types of training (LICRT and HITT) in order to maximize your body’s athletic potential.
Due to this, most professional and elite athletes incorporate both types of training into their weekly exercise routines. Since your muscles naturally get stronger and more efficient at performing an action when they repeat that same action, most sports coaches incorporate strength training into their athletes’ weekly exercise routines.
Of course, there are many types of exercises which can improve your muscles and physical abilities. These include:
Plyometrics: Plyometrics involve rapidly stretching a muscle (eccentric contraction) immediately before it contracts (concentric contraction). This type of training is most commonly used by athletes who require explosive power, such as basketball and football players.
Resistance bands: These are elastic bands which offer varying degrees of resistance when stretched or contracted. They’re popular with sports people because they require little setup and allow the user to train at home.
Kettlebells: These are cast-iron weights which resemble a ball with a handle. This design allows for a wide variety of exercises to be performed.
Medicine ball: These are weighted leather or rubber orbs, which are used in an exercise routine to improve strength, power and flexibility. You can find medicine ball drills on the internet.
Barbells: These resemble two metal tubes joined together at one end and are traditionally used in weightlifting or powerlifting. You can purchase barbells in weights ranging from 2kg to 160kg.
So which types of exercises do you think are best for an endurance athlete like you?
Well, that’s up to you to decide. The important thing is just that you’re challenging your body and keeping it guessing by varying your exercises.
Research has shown that when people perform the same exercise routine for more than six weeks, they start to see diminishing returns. This means that if you keep doing the same routine, your performance will not improve.
However, if you introduce variation into your exercise program by switching up your routine every six weeks or so, then you’ll continue to see improvements in your strength and endurance.
So that’s what we want to achieve with this handbook: to give you a wide variety of exercises to choose from so that you can switch up your routine every few weeks and improve your sports performance in the long term.
Let’s get started!
Sources & references used in this article:
New functional training for sports by M Boyle – 2004 – Human Kinetics Publishers
Functional training handbook by M Boyle – 2016 – books.google.com
Functional training by C Liebenson – 2014 – books.google.com