New Conditioning Rules for Athletes!

            Athletic conditioning for sport is one of the most misunderstood areas of strength and conditioning by athletes, parents, and sport coaches. A large amount in this population still believe team sport athletes need to do long duration steady-state cardiovascular exercise to be ready to compete at the highest level. In this blog my hope is to help you understand and explain the needs and demands for team sport athletes and convince you that most of this thinking on conditioning for athletes is sub-optimal for performance.

            The reason why this thinking is wrong is that it goes against one of the oldest principles in strength and conditioning training which is the SAID principle or Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. Which really means the body adapts to the demands we inherently place on it, so to improve for our sport we need to mimic the demands that our imposed by our sporting environment. So, when we start to think about our team sport athletes, and the demands of their sport, do they ever sub maximally jog for long periods at a steady state? Is there ever period where they are not actively assessing their environment to make decisions? The answer to these questions should be a resounding NO! Team sport athletes are constantly changing direction, sprinting, accelerating, decelerating at ever changing velocities, angles and speeds. Whether it be soccer, football, lacrosse, ice-hockey, field hockey, and the list goes on, these athletes rarely even sub-maximally jog and if they do it is in a recovery period to get back to position, off the sidelines etc. So, you should understand now that steady-state cardiovascular exercise isn’t specific to any of our team sport athletes, or any of our speed or power athletes in general (besides our cross-country, triathletes and other endurance sport athletes).

            When thinking about conditioning for our athletes we need to think about the demands of their sport. The best way for athletes to condition and get ready for the demands of their season is through playing their sport. This should be something their sport coaches incorporate in their practices to help get them ready for the demands of the season. When working with our athletes we like to look at the work to rest ratios that are commonly used in their sports and use these to program their conditioning and workouts. Some sports may use a variety of work to rest ratios (soccer is a good example here) so making sure throughout their program they are targeting these different energy systems to maximize sport performance is important to us. This is where for most team sport athletes interval training can be a great tool to help target these energy systems (by manipulating work to rest ratios), as we can help to target the demands needed for their sport based on their position as well.

New Rules for Sport Conditioning

  1. Practice you sport at game intensity and speed
  2. Use interval training and work:rest ratios that best represent the demands
  3. Target different energy systems at different points to maximize development

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com for a complimentary demo session to learn more about the demands for your sport and for us to help you get in the best shape possible to perform at your best!

Resistance Training & Bone Health; What You Need T Know!!

One of the lesser known benefits of resistance training is the huge benefits it has for bone health. While the best way to set yourself or your child up for success is physical activity throughout the lifespan (especially in the bone growing years), resistance training can also play a tremendous role in strengthening our bones.

Our bones, much like the rest of our body respond to the stresses we place upon it. This is why when we lift heavy loads or resistance train our neuromuscular system responds to this stressor (resistance training) by building stronger musculature and supporting structures. This is the basis of all training, the body adapts to the demands we place upon it, and if we stop progressing the training stimulus, our body does not adapt and we plateau, or don’t further increase our strength.

Bone responds very similarly to resistance training and progressive overload (while the cycle is much longer), studies have shown improvements in bone mineral density (BMD) (a key marker in bone health) in as little as 16 weeks of a resistance training program in elderly adults.

As we know osteoporosis and osteopenia are huge issues that aging individuals experience (especially in post-menopausal women), where the risk of fractures can significantly impact an individual’s activities of daily living. While the best way to combat this is to build strong bones in our youth, a recent meta-analysis has also shown that resistance training in post-menopausal women is effective in increasing BMD in the femoral neck and lumbar spine (Zhao & Xu 2015), two common areas of fracture in elderly women.

While nutrition also plays a key role in setting us up for great bone health, resistance training in youth, but also as we age is extremely important to live a long, healthy and functional life!

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to get more information to work with one of our coaches to help you progress your training, maximize your functional abilities, and get SST strong!

Reference:

 Zhao, R., Zhao, M. & Xu, Z. Osteoporos Int (2015) 26: 1605. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-015-3034-0

Resistance Training for Acceleration

Sprinting has been described as consisting of a series of phases: an acceleration phase (typically the first 10 metres), a transition phase, and a maximum velocity phase.  For sports such as soccer, rugby, football and basketball, maximum velocity is not always attained, and repeated short sprints are more common.  Taking this into consideration, the ability to develop speed in as short a time as possible (acceleration) may be of high importance to many athletes.  It has been proposed that acceleration and maximum velocity are relatively separate and specific qualities.

An athlete’s ability to accelerate his or her body during sprinting is dependent on several factors.  These factors include technique and the force production capability of the body, in particular the leg muscles.  It has been shown that the technical aspects may have less importance for the acceleration phase of performance than for a typical sprinting event.  For example, in many sports the athletes have to accelerate from a lying or crouching position, from landing on 1 leg and pivoting, from catching a ball, and so on.  Therefore, the force capability of the muscle may be more important in improving acceleration of the athlete.  This point was supported by R. Mann in his publication titled “The Elite Athletes Project: Sprints and Hurdles.” which stated that the ability to perform well in sprints over short distances is dependent on the ability to produce large amounts of force at crucial times.

A variety of methods are used to enhance force output.  These methods include resistance training, plyometric training, and assisted and resisted sprinting techniques.  For this article we will focus on resisted sprinting which involves athletes sprinting with added load.  This load can come in different forms: weighted vests, sled-sprints, uphill sprinting and limb loading.  More specifically, this article will focus on the towing of weighted devices such as sleds which is the most common method of providing towing resistance for the enhancement of sprinting.

It has been shown that the use of towing as a form of resistance may increase the load on the athlete’s torso and therefore require more stabilization.  This training stimulus may increase pelvic stabilization, leading to a positive effect on sprint performance.  Increased torso loads also cause an increased upper-body lean and increased thigh angle at both the beginning and the end of the stance phase.  This increased thigh angle reflects the increased need for force production during the prolonged stance phase.

It is important to note that sprinting speed should not be decreased by more than 10% when adding resistance; adding too much resistance may alter running kinematics in ways that are not desirable.  It is also maintained that sled-sprinting should not be employed when the desired training effect is neural (i.e. maximal velocity).  Sled-sprinting is an effective method for a metabolic training effect (i.e. acceleration).  Due to evidence that only the first 10 metres of a sprint have been designated as the acceleration phase, it is suggested that sled-sprints should be performed for distances no longer than 10 metres.

S.S.T. holds that a well implemented speed program should include a variety of methods to achieve desirable results (i.e. resisted sprints, assisted sprints, unassisted sprints and resistance training).  Also, methods such as resisted and assisted sprints should be used sparingly, such as in the final or next-to-final block of an athlete’s periodized program.

To find out more information regarding SST’s upcoming Lightning camp please visit our website at www.sstcanada.com

 

A MUST READ for Young Soccer Players!

A Must Read for Young Soccer Players!

One of our fundamental values at SST is increasing strength and power. A stronger athlete will be able to produce more force than their weaker opponent. Also, strength training along with proper nutrition are vital for improving body composition by increasing lean mass and reducing fat mass. In the case of a soccer player, the result is a faster and  stronger player on the ball with a more powerful kick.

Don’t believe me?

A recent study examined regional & whole body fat & lean mass distribution on an unnamed English Premier League Soccer team, including all players on the 1st team, 21U, and 18U squads. Researchers found that players on the 1st team had significantly lower body fat percentage than the other squads, despite no significant differences in total fat mass between the squads! Interesting!                                            

The differences in body fat % were attributed to less overall lean mass in the 18U squad!

From a practical standpoint, this means that young soccer players who want to play at an elite level should be focusing on increasing their lean muscle mass by strength training and eating more protein, rather than training for fat loss by endurance exercise and calorie restricted diets.  

Come into SST today and find out how combining an individualized training program with proper nutrition can help you achieve your goals of playing at higher levels, regardless of the sport!

For more information or any general inquires, feel free to contact me at chico7@sstcanada.com

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach, SST Burlington

MSc candidate Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

 

Q&A with Coach Delroy Rhooms

I really enjoy training soccer teams. Soccer was one of the first team sports we had come to us for training when we started SST Oakville. My staff and I have spent many hours with soccer athletes and have a great understanding of what is required for a soccer athlete to succeed. Our reputation and our results with soccer athletes have spread through the soccer community.

Delroy- thanks for taking your time and speaking with me

1. So Delroy why do have so much success with Soccer teams?
I really enjoy training soccer teams. Soccer was one of the first team sports we had come to us for training when we started SST Oakville. My staff and I have spent many hours with soccer athletes and have a great understanding of what is required for a soccer athlete to succeed. Our reputation and our results with soccer athletes have spread through the soccer community. We have teams from Burlington , Oakville , Mississauga and Brampton come out to train with us. The coaching staff of these teams trust us and understand our facility is “ no nonsense “ training center, as we build our soccer training programs to get their teams prepared for the season. We have worked with many soccer athletes who have gone on to play NCCA , CIS and professionally. We soccer athletes playing at University of Miami , University of Maine, Memphis University , kent State , Eastern Michigan , Louisiana State , Miami – Ohio , Carleton University , University of Western Ontario, Mc Master University to name a few. Today , we have Dianna Matheson from the Canadian Women’s National training in our facility to get herself prepared for the FIVB womens world cup. Here is what Dianna has to say about why she trains at SST Oakville:

“I use SST Oakville when I am a home because it has everything I need to train at the highest level. I go not just for strength training, but to be a stronger, faster, and more complete athlete.”

Thanks,
Diana

2. What are some of the unique coaching points/cues and training methods you use with your volleyball players?
Our volleyball athletes are unique in their needs for success. They work within a confined
9 ‘ x 9 ‘ area, so they need to be quick and very , very explosive athletes. We spend a tremendous amount of time teaching our volleyball athletes how to load their hips and fire their glutes so they are explosive in their attack. We use several lateral and linear movement drills like the “ N” drill and Figure 8 drill to help our athletes move quickly in a low volleyball posture. We do a lot of single leg work , like TRX single pistol squats and single leg opposite side load plyobox heal touches these are tremendous for our middle attackers. We work the trunk with a variety of Medicine ball throws and also land mine rotations to develop power for our outside attackers. Our Setter use a variety of Medicine ball wall drills and well as extended medicine balls pushes from the floor , so they can develop more power to push the sets out to the antennas during play. During the off season we spend a lot of time developing the vertical jump through a variety of power movements focusing on the posterior chain.

3. Can you add some insight into your strength coaching style?
My style of coaching stems from the type of coaches I had growing up as a young athlete to the coaches I had , as I trained while playing the Canadian pro Beach Volleyball Circuit . It was “ no nonsense” work hard , give a 110 percent and leave it all on the field. I have taken this approach with all my athletes and adult clients , I am tough and I expect you to give me everything you have while you are on the training floor. I have had athletes and adults see my car in the parking lot and tell me we know it is going to be a tough day when “ the dark over lord “ is on the training floor. I treat everybody the same, I want the same for everyone of my clients. Results period. I approach every training session with energy that fills up the facility. I want all my clients to have fun , challenge themselves and most of all work hard. For my athletes I treat them like family , my goal is help them all understand from my own experience and the experience of my high level staff what it takes from a training stand point to get to the next level. Mentoring is so, so important to me for my athletes. As I move around the community nothing makes me more happy than to here an athlete shout to me “ hey Coach “ . I absolutely love to train.

4. You have had many girls in many sports on scholarships…is there a key to your success?
I believe you need to understand the female athletes in order to get the best out of them. We have had such success with female athletes who have received scholarships , because we have created an environment at SST Oakville were these ladies feel they are at home . We have seen other facilities focus on “ just the boys” and at SST Oakville we treat everybody the same. The female athletes who come to us like us because we push them , we discuss their goals , we are not afraid to have them try complicated movements and they see the results of their hard work. Communication , Communication , communication is the key ingredient when dealing with high performance athletes. We take the time to explain , critique and most importantly coach and this seems to work really well as our female athletes respond and get tremendous results.