Strength & Conditioning

For most endurance athletes the pre-season or early base phase usually consists of lower intensity and duration of endurance training which provides a great opportunity to improve maximal strength through regular strength training sessions. Strength training is safe and effective for most athletes and should be included as part of any comprehensive training program.   The benefits are huge, not only in enhancing athletic development but reducing the risk of injury and numerous health benefits, especially for older athletes. The initial phases of strength training aim to develop basic levels of strength and lay the foundations for greater workloads and higher intensity sports specific...

There are many derivatives of this myth and the simplest response to this is usually “deadlifting is not bad for your back, it is how you are deadlifting that is bad for your back”. The more complex answer however is going to involve explaining some biomechanics and basic anatomy. Forces First of all let’s start with some basic numbers the average lumbar spine load tolerance for shear force is 2500 Newtons (N) and compressive force is 16,000N. The majority of force encountered at the lumbar spine in a deadlift is a shear force. However, there are also compressive forces along the spine...

Every time we exercise, the body undergoes change to adapt to the stress that we place on it. The by-product of these adaptations can include muscle soreness and fatigue, reduced muscle strength and power, all of which can impair athletic performance in the hours and days following. Recovery modalities allow us to accelerate the process, and return to training or competition feeling fresh and ready for the next training session or competition. The following strategies can be used to assist recovery following training or competition:   Compression garments These work through applying pressure to the areas of the body in which they cover. It...

Training the neck is a very underutilized aspect of training and is lacking in most programming. For anyone involved in contact and collision sports, such as boxing and football, training the neck should be an integral part of their training programs. For many sports neck strength should be strong in all directions such as martial arts, football and hockey. For example in boxing when someone is copping a left hook to the nose we need eccentric neck flexion strength to absorb the neck extension forces. Training the neck for strength and stability can help prevent injuries.   A thick strong neck is vital for...

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions placed around strength training. This may be a result of your stereotypical gym junkie throwing weights around in the gym or the many unfounded reasons why a lot of women and elderly people shy away from lifting weights. This article will share with you some of the benefits of strength training and why it should be a part of everyone’s regular routine.   Firstly strength training does not have to be Olympic lifting, powerlifting or Crossfit type sessions; all great forms of training if done correctly and relevant to your individual goals, but strength training...

Despite a growing amount of research to support strength training for distance runners, the weights room still appears to be a no-go zone for a percentage of the running community. In reality, there are many ways that strength training can assist runners in taking the next step in their performance. Maximal strength has been shown to improve performance for endurance athletes, including runners. There are a number of reasons to support this, several of which are discussed below: Improved running economy A sound running economy is one of the cornerstones of running performance. In a nutshell, this means using as little energy...

Warm-ups: the boring part of training and game day, what’s all the fuss about?   Have you ever wondered why your class instructor, trainer or coach places a large emphasis on pre-habilitation work before you push and pull heavy weights in the gym? Most likely it is because they don’t want injuries to occur. It may seem like an old testament you hear from trainers: “Ok, so we are going to start with some mobility work, neural prep, activate the glutes, shoulders, work on some thoracic spine mobility and get the body warm before we get into your strength and conditioning work”. After playing soccer...

Having spent time across multiple sports including boxing, rugby, weightlifting, powerlifting, and other endurance based sports, the greatest aspect to concentrate on is - “in this sport, where should the optimal expression of power be positioned on the force-velocity curve?”   I like to utilise the method of post-activation potentiation (PAP).   What is this? It is a short-term improvement in performance (power exercise) following a conditioning activity (strength exercise). This short-term improvement is thought to be related to an increased potentiation of motor units following a high motor unit activity in the muscle. An example of this is an improvement in counter movement...

Hamstrings of steel – decrease your risk of injury and re-injury by increasing your hamstring strength   It isn’t irregular upon asking someone their injury history to find out they have had hamstring issues. Hamstring issues are the most common injury in sports that involve repeat bouts of sprinting (soccer, AFL, hockey etc.) it is therefore paramount that prevention of primary and recurrent injury is be taken into consideration during a strength and conditioning program. In recent studies, likelihood of hamstring strain injuries (HSI) was increased due to three factors; Increased age Previous injuries Poor eccentric strength.   Of those factors, two are modifiable by...

One of the areas that has been unclear in addressing strength training for children is actual program design and progression. Accredited Exercise Scientist, Thomas Wheeler, talks us through the basics of an ideal youth strength and conditioning program.   Previously, other bodies releasing position statements on this matter have made very general guidelines regarding program design and progression for children. The Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA) has attempted to put together clear guidelines so that coaches can develop safe and effective strength programs for kids. Several studies have shown that children can benefit from training; Tsolakis et al., (2004) examined the effects of...