Strength for more
S&C can have a beneficial impact on endurance performance for all athletes
whether the goal is to to make the finish line or make the Olympic games.
The off-season is a great time to lay a foundation for the year ahead. Strengthening the Musculoskeletal system now and maintaining those improvements in-season can pay dividends in both performance and injury prevention. And in our quest for more in 2021 we are placing a emphasis on increased workloads without breaking down.
The nuts and bolts
The goal of any training program is obviously to improve -the S&C component should be integrated to support that goal. A well rounded program will focus on utilising movements and exercises which will have a positive transfer to your sport. The exercises involved should also be suitable for the training age or level of the athlete. There’s no one size fits all program as everyone has their own unique demands and issues which need to be addressed. Having an understanding of your capabilities and limitations is an important first step. As a guide, your S&C should look to develop the following areas.
A focus on injury prevention and increasing robustness.
Notice this says injury prevention, for any niggles or issues advice should be sought
from a good physiotherapist or physical therapist. The aim is to help bullet proof the
body not rehab an ongoing issue. The very nature of swimming, cycling or running involves repetitive movements in a single plane for extended periods of time. In addition, many of us are sitting or find ourselves stuck in front of a screen for long periods, particularly now for those working from home. The combination of these can lead to areas becoming tight or weak and creating muscular imbalances in the body. Poor posture and lumbar pelvic control can further lead to a decrease in power production, movement efficiency and a possible likelihood of injury. Using targeted mobility and strengthening exercises can help alleviate these issues, strengthen the trunk and improve tissue tolerance to allow the athlete keep training.
An Improvement in strength and force producing capabilities.
A critical consideration when undertaking strength training is to develop power
without the unwanted gain in muscle mass. This is achieved by choosing the
appropriate exercises and commensurate intensities. The use of exercise which
focus on triple extension (Squat, step up etc) can assist in developing force
generating capabilities. Likewise resistance training and plyometrics will have the
added benefit of developing intermuscular co-ordination. This basically means an
improvement in the nervous systems ability to switch on the muscles needed to
move and stabilize and switch off those needed to relax therefore engraining efficient
Overall your program should develop you as an athlete. A basic layout of a S&C session might look like the following
(i) Foam roll or trigger point release – focus on the individual areas in need of
(ii) Mobility – Look to address patterns about to be used in the session & individual correctives
(iii) Activation – Typically this will involve Gluteal, Trunk & Scapular work
(iv) Movement efficiency & plyometrics
(V) Strength training and structural tolerance
As a guide, 1-2 S&C sessions (35-60 minutes) per week & a short (15-20 minute) corrective session, is a great start in the off season.
This lays the foundation which can be reduced in season as your main programme nears racing …..