There are many paths to the same road. You've all heard this at one time or another. And it still applies to a lot of things, especially when it comes to developing a training program for your specific sport. As an ex-collegiate football player, competitive power lifter, and a strength coordinator, you can bet the farm that I have walked down some long roads and driven the superhighway of training.
While working as a strength coach, I have designed countless routines that involve weight training exercises, plyometrics, agility drills, speed development techniques and stretching exercises for hundreds of athletes.
Have you ever wondered where all the different forms of training routines came from? Well, you should. I mean, just how did these lifting and sport specific schemes come into play? Where did I get the basis to design and implement all the sport specific programs I've used as a strength coach? Where did you and others like me?
old-time sport coaches, a few decades ago."
These individuals knew that there had to be a way to maximize performance in themselves and the athletes they where training. This work was acquired after years of exploring, analyzing and developing all the physical and mental goals needed in any given sport.
The programs implemented on athletes are based on the needs and goals from their sport-specific endeavors. Such as a shot-putter, who needs explosive hip strength and upper body power; a football player, who acquires overall body strength and special agility and speed drills; a volleyball player may need specific plyometric drills to develop jumping ability, adding agility and conditioning work too.
In an effort to be up-to-date, with current trends in sport mastery, and pumping iron, some of you might get carried away with training routines extrapolated from the latest scientific and laboratory rat studies. No, not your local gym rat, but the laboratory rat.
You know, the rat that goes around and around the wheel? Well, that little rat can run as fast as its little heart desires. But, the next rat study doesn't mean I am going to improve my sport-specific goals. The only labs conducting muscle research back in the 60s and 70s were in the gyms and on the field of competition with humans as the laboratory rats!
A Top Strength Program Is Developed
A sport player was lifting weights, unbeknown by his coach, to maximize his individual sport performance. During this time lifting weights was considered to be not good for sports. Soon other sport players noticed, particularly the football team.
When they asked their fellow classmate to help them, he did so in private. The football coaches noticed a remarkable difference on how their players were performing on the field and asked what they were all doing. Upon revealing their secrets, the football coaches then asked this other sport athlete if he could help the whole team.
Soon, the whole football team was cranking on the weights, getting stronger, bigger and quicker. The University of Nebraska's strength and conditioning programs were developed. Go Big Red! Ooops, sorry got carried away. That individual was Boyd Eply, long-time head strength coach for the Nebraska athletic programs.
Coach Eply is also the founder of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, an organization devoted to developing athletes and the Strength Coach.
How To Develop Your Own Program
In a state-of-the-art world of athletic training, wasting your time and energy are merely on consideration; so too is the potential for injury. Add to that the many sport-specific systems and you have nothing short of physical - if not mental and emotional - gridlock.
If you start with a well-designed program, which you can modify, from time-to-time, to suit your body type and goals, sport progress will quickly ensue.
Planning Your Workouts:
First, begin with a conservative program that is both challenging and achievable. Whether you are participating in three different sports or focusing on just one, your program design for strength training, agility drills, and speed development should be planed 6-8 weeks in advance prior to each season.
Your routine should be so structured that the same workout is performed. And you can modify the general program if your response to the routine is different from uncontrollable factors over the course of the year.
Don't make your sets and reps so difficult that you bomb out early in the workout and get discouraged, or worse, you get weaker. Set up your program so that you can modify it slightly after three to four weeks. Basically, after every three to four weeks you want to adjust your program and do lighter lifting called a re-cycle.
Choose The Right Exercises:
Each exercise should be based on what is called multi-joint movements. These are exercises that involve more then one-muscle group. Some of these exercises are the Bench Press, Squat, Power Clean, Snatch, Hip-Sled and Bent-Over Bar Row. Just to name a select few.
The right exercises, your technique and order of training are all important in performing your routine properly and obtaining positive gains from your workout. Basically, bicep curls are not going to make you a better athlete, so you should stop performing all those arm exercises ... You know who you are.
Rather, you should set up a workout based on your athletic needs, and the sport(s) you are involved in. This 4-day-per-week program is a model to give you an idea to base your routine:
The Notebook To Success:
If you can develop a training history, your workouts will become easier. The training diary is a notebook where you write down all your daily and weekly workout plans as well as sets, reps, weights used in completed workouts, and all other pertinent information regarding your sport specific training.
This notebook can also have speed, agility, and plyometric drills written down on the specific days performed. Write down how you felt that day, what happened, and all other things you might have to tinker with. You can also keep track of your weight, energy levels, and nutritional habits too.
Visualizing Your Goals:
Goals come in short-term, long-term and sometimes-daily schedules of things you need to accomplish. Goals are the prerequisites for dreams to be realized. Any goal, whether it is short, long or daily must be with-in reason, even for you. Usually, short-term goals are based on a 4-to-6 week interval, long term-goals could be up to six months and as long as four years.
And, of course, daily goals could be little things like getting in all your sets and reps, eating the right food, or even reading a book every day for school. So, don't have a short-term goal to get a bench press max of 300 pounds when your current max is only 185 pounds! Be realistic in your achievements; don't place something down on paper that is not obtainable.
After you have written down your goals, I want you to remember one thing; If you do not reach the goals that you set, do not think you are unable to achieve them. Ask yourself if you did everything possible? Where there any obstacles preventing you from achieving your goals? Then rethink them, adjust your approach and go for it again! And always use visualization to help you achieve your goals and dreams.
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
Visualization is an easy technique to perform. In a way, it's like daydreaming. Every day you should place that goal in your head, picture it happening and then run it over and over like rewinding a movie. Trust me, it works. I used visualization when I was an offensive lineman in college.
I would visualize how I would block someone over and over in my head. Then apply it on the field. It helped me achieve my goals that I wanted to accomplish while in college. One of my goals, at the beginning of my college football season, was to be an All-Conference pick. Well, I became a two-time All-Conference pick.
There is a saying, "Ink it, don't speak it!" So, write down all your goals, and your dreams then place them in order of accomplishment. Apply, your visualization techniques and do not stop until those goals have become reality. Stay true to your workout program and do not let your friends and egos interrupt your progress.
Choose the right exercises, workout regularly, and stick to your nutritional plan for maximum performance. And most of all don't let anyone tell you that dreams cannot come true.
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About The Writer
Curtis Schultz is a contributing writer for various health, bodybuilding, and collegiate sports publications. Curtis has a B.S. in Sports Administration and is a Level 1 USWF Olympic Coach. He is a collegiate strength coach who has worked with many high-level athletes ranging from NFL stars to top-level bodybuilders. Powerlifting State and Regional champion in the 242 and 275 classes. He is also an AAU and USPF referee. Curtis was a 3-year Varsity football letter winner, All-greater Rochester Lineman in high school, and then Junior College and University All-conference lineman.