You’re Not That Special
Today we have a special guest post from a great trainer and strength coach who I’ve proudly worked with for the past four years: Brent Carter, CSCS.
Despite what your mother may have told you or what commercials you may have seen on TV, most athletes (recreational athletes included) require the same basic attributes of fitness (scaled to the intensity and duration of their sport, of course… It kind of goes without saying that the training needs of a lineman are different from those of a ballerina.)
ALL sports (including the sport of LIFE) require strength, conditioning and power in varying dosages. Boston Marathon runners still need strength and power development if they ever want to accelerate (particularly in the final portion of the race), and even powerlifters benefit from a base level of conditioning – which can speed recovery between sets. The key is in knowing when to train what, and how hard and how much. The general principles are simple, however, and actually quite universal:
1. Prepare for your sport by practicing your sport (we’re talking skill acquisition here)
2. Establish a base level of strength
3. Increase power output
4. Develop sport-specific conditioning
Even if it seems as though conditioning is your limiting factor, this should be your order of events – provided you don’t have a competition in less than eight weeks, that is. If you do have a competition or event sooner than eight weeks away… well, plan better jackass! Seriously, if you’re less than eight weeks out and don’t know what you’re doing, get your sh*t together or hire a trainer because there’s no way in hell you’ll be ready.
Strength takes longest to develop and should therefore be focused on first. It also diminishes the slowest, and a minimal amount of strength training will be required later on when conditioning is your primary focus. Conditioning adaptations happen relatively quickly, however, and diminish fairly quickly as well. Power is somewhere in between the two, but certainly no less important.
In fact, power is arguably MORE important, as it is typically the expression of power that determines athletic success.
Notice how strength, power and conditioning all take progressively less time to peak as you move down the aforementioned list – which means that the time you spend in the gym training should look something like this:
These are the basics of block periodization. Different attributes are emphasized at certain points within a given time frame. So get your priorities straight and train smart! And if you need help developing a sound plan, I am at your service.