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Sport Specific Training

Thursday by indra

What is Sport Specific Training?

Sport specific training has become the latest craze in the training industry. The idea is that exercise selection and conditioning is based upon the demands of the sport as it applies to movement. I agree only with the conditioning side.

With weight training, some coaches/trainers will watch a sport, see specific movements performed and then mimic that movement under load in the gym. I personally feel this to be a bad idea because of the injury potential to the athlete. While the specificity principle still applies, weight training should be largely the same from athlete to athlete.

Focus should be on the big movements. I'm talking squats, lunges, deadlifts, chin ups, rows, various presses, and maybe plyometrics and olympic lifts. Some athletes have no need for some of these exercises because of numerous factors, but the general rules still apply. Getting stronger through these types of lifts will generally improve athleticism and positively influence play in sport. The weight room should be where the athlete goes to become a better athlete. The sport coach has the responsibility of making the athlete better at the respective sport.

Conditioning, however, is all together a different story. Different sports require a greater/lesser contribution from each energy system. A lineman in football, for example, probably should not spend much, if any, time running long slow distances. The aerobic/oxidative system by itself provides a minimal contribution to football as well as in many other team sports. How much long slow running do you see in the course of a football game? Not much and, if you do, it's not for very long. Also, with the body weight some guys are carrying, this could put them at greater risk for knee, back and foot injuries.

Conditioning for football and most other team sports should focus on development of the PCr and Glycolytic systems. Intervals, sprints, agilities, and other moderate to high intensity activities target these two systems. Training in this manner should better equip the athlete for the demands of the sport. I hope I've provided some insight into athletic enhancement programming. Sport specificity comes down to conditioning and nothing more. While there are a few contraindications and special needs, the basics still apply to all sports.

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