How To Train Like An Athlete - Part Two

On November the 5th my first book is relased on Amazon and earlier this week I outlined what Integrated Performance Conditioning meant to me. In the second part of the article I'll talk you three the six training elements that form the basis of my programmes.

What is Integrated Performance Conditioning (IPC) - PART TWO

A well developed IPC will incorporate elements from these six key training areas.

Movement Quality Training (MQT) - development of gross athleticism and coordinated skillful movements.

Can you stand on one leg for 60 seconds without falling over? Does your squat resemble a curtsy to the Queen or can you perform a full range squat with flawless technique? The most successful athletes are the ones with the largest movement vocabulary. Your body is a highly complex organism and MQT reinforces the correct postures and positions of the body during movement in order to allow for effective transfer and expression of force and power. If you want to be capable of delivering fluid, athletic movements you need to work on developing gross athleticism.

Flexibility and Mobility - increasing joint range of motion (ROM) using a range of strategies (soft tissue work, self myofascial release, static stretching, neuromuscular, dynamic and strength).

Flexibility and mobility training is possibly the most forgotten, misunderstood and misapplied aspect of physical preparation. Increased flexibility and mobility will allow you to move efficiently. Flexibility and mobility training should adopt a multimodal approach and when developing an integrated performance conditioning programme consider the type of adaptation that you are attempting to produce; 1. acute or 2. chronic. Most flexibility and mobility training addresses only short-term (acute) flexibility and mobility adaptations.

Strength and Power - use of a range of training methods to develop sub-qualities of strength (conditioning, hypertrophy, maximum strength, power, reactive strength, strength endurance).

The human body has over 660 muscles (40-45% of it's total mass) and when combined with other connective tissues transmit force to the skeletal system to produce movement (Cardinale, Newton & Nosaka, 2011). Strength gains are due to either; 1) neuromuscular adaptations 2) increased cross sectional area (CSA) or 3) combination of both.

Strength and power training causes adaptive changes on various systems within the body, and ultimately leads to improved mechanical muscle function which in turn results in improved functional performance in various activities of day to day life including; athletic performance, general health, injury reduction, counteraction of aging induced muscle loss.

Injury Reduction and Rehabilitation - Integrated corrective strategies to address movement deficiencies and injuries.

If you love sport, chances are you'll have picked up an injury at some point and this is a major issue. How many times have you continued to train around a pre-existing problem? Think about all of the times you played rugby with a sore knee or went for another swim knowing that at the end of the session your shoulder was going to be throbbing. How many times have you seen a physiotherapist who has identified a weakness or muscle imbalance that you need to work on, only to ignore their advice. How long did you stick to the rehabilitation programme? Do you actually train your weaknesses?

Previous injury associated with inadequate rehabilitation predisposes the client to recurrence of further injury. I work with injured athletes on a daily basis and I can tell you that injuries ruin motivation and can have a significant impact on the athletes ability to perform at their best. The same applies to you. It's obvious really, if you aren't healthy, you can't train to the best of your ability, and progress will be limited. If you've not incorporated injury reduction strategies into your programme you're setting yourself up for a fall - it's just around the corner, and when it hits you, you'll be wondering why you sat back and did nothing about it before it struck.

Metabolic Conditioning - developing the ability to tolerate workloads and produce effort with minimal decrement.

Metabolic conditioning is a term used to describe conditioning exercises intended to increase the storage and delivery of energy for any activity.

The metabolic system refers to three distinct yet closely related integrated processes; Splitting of the stored phosphagens - ATP-PC System (immediate); Anaerobic breakdown of carbohydrate (Anaerobic System (short); Aerobic breakdown of carbohydrates and fats (Aerobic System (long).

Your IPC programme should develop the appropriate metabolic system(s).

Recovery and Regeneration - fundamental for optimal adaptation reduced risk of injury and illness.

For years recovery and regeneration has been hidden in the shadows, eclipsed by fitness training, but in recent years our understanding of fatigue and its impact on performance means that recovery and regeneration is now at the forefront of advances in programme design.

In order for the body to adapt to training it must have a period of sufficient recovery. This is not a new concept, Hans Seyle first proposed it back in the 1940's and it should be one of the cornerstones of your training programme. Your body is pretty amazing and actually needs a certain level of physiological stress to bring about physiological adaptations, that ultimately lead to improved performances. Training creates that physiological stress, it disturbs homeostasis at a cellular level. This is just what the body ordered but only if you allow some time for it to recover.

Recovery provides an opportunity for training based adaptations to take place, enabling the body to cope with the subsequent training session. To encourage adaptation to training it is important to plan recovery activities that reduce residual fatigue. That's right, you need to plan 'time-outs' because without sufficient rest your body cannot adapt to and cope with the physical and mental demands of training and it will quickly become exhausted.

If you are interested in learning more about my approach to training and would like to discover how to train like an athlete, pick up your copy of The Strength and Conditioning Bible today from Amazon.