“Sport-Specific Training” has become a buzzword used by trainers and gyms to appeal to the athletic client base. While specific training for one’s particular sport is important, I’m not certain that all of these "sport-specific programs" are truly sport specific.
If you’re an athlete, or the parent of an athlete, it is important to know that all of your hard earned money is actually making you or your child better at their sport. Just because it is called “sport-specific”, doesn’t mean that it actually is. Every sport-specific program should consider and tailor to the following three elements.
1. Energy Systems
While both sprinters and long distance runners are using basically the same muscles to run, their training programs are going to be vastly different.
Why? Energy Systems.
There are three energy systems that the human body relies upon depending on the given activity or sport:
Aerobic (Oxydative)- is the primary source of energy when the body is at rest or working at a low intensity level over a long duration.
Anaerobic Glycolysis- is the primary source of energy when working at a high intensity. Can provide energy for up to two minutes.
ATP-PC (Phosphagen)- is the fastest source of energy for the body when working at a maximal intensity. Can only provide energy for up to about 10 seconds.
With a simple understanding of energy systems we can conclude that long distance runners should spend the bulk of their time training in the aerobic energy system and sprinters should spend more time training in the ATP-PC system. These energy systems don’t just apply to track sports. This concept applies to all sports.
2. Movement Planes
There are three common movement planes that most sport skills fall into:
There are some other movement planes, such as the diagonal planes, that need to be considered but for the most part the big three are the primary focus of a sport specific program.
Simply put, figure out what movements your sport requires and design an exercise program to increase your ability to more powerfully or more efficiently perform those movements.
3. Counterproductive Exercises
After analyzing the energy systems and movement planes for a given sport, one should be able to identify exercises that will enhance sport performance. In addition to that, and maybe more importantly, one should be able to identify exercises that are counterproductive or disadvantageous to that sport.
For example, having baseball players perform exercises like the bench press, which locks the scapula into a fixed position while allowing for arm motion, is counterproductive because the goal of a baseball sport specific program should be to mobilize the scapula. The focus is to establish scapulohumeral rhythm, not prevent it.
Article: >>Should Baseball Players Bench?<<
There are certainly a multitude of other factors that one must consider when designing a sports specific program but these three are a good starting point.
Thanks for reading this week's blog post! If you haven't already, click here to subscribe to the newsletter where you'll get instant blog updates and bonus content coming soon!
Follow On Social Media!