Training and conditioning

Chapter 1 Training and conditioning

Anaerobic training

Strength training

What equipment to use?

Injury prevention

The conditioning of athletes is an area which has become very popular and that has made significant advances in recent years. It is an ever-changing discipline because there has been a much greater emphasis placed on athletes being at the peak of physical condition for their sporting event, whether this be by having a greater cardiovascular capacity or being ‘fitter’ or by being stronger. This has led to strength and conditioning coaches being widely employed in most sporting disciplines to devise training programmes to ensure that the athletes are at the peak of their physical condition so that they are able to compete at the best of their ability in their competitions or matches.

It is, however, an ever-changing area with new and different concepts being devised all the time in an attempt to push the boundaries of physical performance and give the athlete an edge over their competitors. This is achieved by the strength and conditioning staff analysing the specific demands of each individual competitor. The physical demands obviously differ between sports but they can also differ between team mates who play in different positions on the same team. For example, the strength and conditioning programme for a prop in rugby will be quite different to that of a winger on the same team because of the different physical demands placed on each of them in the game. Therefore, it is very important to remember that the programmes need to be tailored to the individual and should be sport-specific for the greatest benefits to occur. For example, a cyclist needs to cycle and sports which are running-based, such as football and rugby, need their athletes to run and so on.

This chapter will discuss some of the different training techniques that are being employed and give some examples of useful sessions for some athletes.


Aerobic training is simply where oxygen is present and is used to generate energy when the glycogen stores in the muscles are broken down to produce glucose and hence allow muscle contractions to continue. It is the most common type of training and that done by members of the public who are trying to ‘keep fit’. This is because it has been shown to have numerous health benefits:

These factors have been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and hence produce significant health benefits. Consequently, aerobic exercise in a variety of forms has grown in popularity in the non-elite sporting population to maintain health and keep fit.

Aerobic testing

As the conditioning demands on athletes have changed, coaches and conditioners have continued to search for ways to objectively measure fitness so that they can ascertain how an athlete is performing, but also to monitor the effectiveness of their training programmes. If athletes have baseline fitness tests conducted and then they are re-tested, improvements in cardiovascular fitness can be measured.

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Jul 18, 2016 | Posted by in SPORT MEDICINE | Comments Off on Training and conditioning

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