Last week I gave you a brief introduction to sport-specific training. We left off on how the most logical way to initiate an effective sports-specific exercise prescription is to identify the general conditioning category in which a sport falls. Anaerobic, incremental, and aerobic are the basic conditioning categories.
- Sports that involve activities requiring significant muscle strength with little muscle endurance
- Are performed at low cardiorespiratory intensity and high muscle contractile intensity
- Require comparatively short bursts of energy maintained over periods of short duration
- Do not normally elevate the average exercise heart rate to extreme
- Rely heavily on carbohydrate energy sources.
- Sports that involve comparatively moderate muscle strength and endurance
- Require the intermittent performance of both high and low intensity muscle and cardiorespiratory activity
- Are performed over periods of moderate duration
- Cause a varying fluctuation of training heart rate with a moderate to high average exercise heart rate
- Rely on both carbohydrate and fat energy sources.
- Sports that require muscular endurance and little strength
- Require the performance of moderate to high intensity “steady-state” cardiorespiratory activity
- Are performed over periods of longer duration
- Cause a steady, moderate to high average exercise heart rate
- Rely most heavily upon fat energy sources.
Being able to categorize sports and athletic activities in terms of the above-required conditioning parameters is important. It enables us to develop and prescribe an optimal sports-specific program of exercise to compliment an athlete’s existing coordination and motor skills. Proper specificity training can best be prescribed only after the performance of a close preliminary analysis of the individual athlete’s existing genetic attributes, motor skills, past experience in the sport, current physical condition, etc. Secondly, a detailed understanding of the inherent conditioning demands imposed upon the athlete by the sport itself is required. Given ALL this information, you are ready to formulate a physical conditioning, sports-specific exercise prescription.