In recent decades, strength training in sports has become popular thanks to extensive scientific evidence that demonstrates with great veracity that it is a key tool to improve performance and prevent injuries. It is clear that strength is the gear that moves performance and can make you achieve maximum potential, but, even so, there are always coaches settled in their positions who refuse to update and only use strength training as a complement.
The application of strength programs with high loads and low repetitions has beneficial effects for the performance of long-term endurance athletes (Aagaard and Raastad, 2012). In addition, there has been benefit at the level of cognitive and academic development, as well as for the prevention of numerous pathologies thanks to strength training.
Granted, strength training is critical, but…
How do I apply this in my sport?
Well, as each sport is a world, the important thing we must do is carry out an analysis of the sport in question and determine which will be the components that make the difference and are decisive for performance, that is, identify the basic physical qualities and movement or relevant actions, as well as the involvement of each muscle group in performance.
Then, taking into account these qualities and the calendar of competitions, we must design and schedule the training. From all this we will obtain some results that we will have to analyze and check if we must modify any factor of the training to improve these results. That is, if after several weeks of training, the results in the competitions are not as expected, we may need to modify some nuts so that the gear works.
Gambetta, 2000, proposed the following steps for adequate intervention in both individual and collective sports:
- Analyze sport, from the point of view of physical factors such as psychological, emotional and cognitive in competition, in addition to others such as intensity, duration, etc.
- Evaluate the athlete or team, to know where they are in each one. What can’t be measured, can’t be improved
- Propose a work plan with marked objectives and use the results to feed back into the plan itself and know whether or not those objectives are being met.
Of course, each sport has its own characteristics, but from the strength’s point of view, many of them have something in common: athletes must be able to move a certain load at a higher speed. With one exception, lifting sports, such as weightlifting and powerlifting, where the goal is to lift more load on it.
Sports training variables
A strength training program is much more than putting together exercises quickly as if it were a shopping list and adding a number of sets and repetitions that fit the time available. As the drugs are, the dose marks the result.
Most studies showed better results the higher the training frequency. However, when the training volume was equalized, these differences disappeared. The frequency therefore interacts with the rest of the variables since a higher frequency is an effective strategy to increase the weekly volume of training, and in the same way large weekly volumes demand a high frequency. Frequency alone is not a determining variable, but it is key to increasing training volume.
As for the volume we have seen greater improvements in strength by performing multiple series instead of a single one. Performed with the right intensity entails increases of force majeure is that medium volumes (5-9 series) or low (<5 series), but as we have said before, the dosage makes the difference, so we must be careful because if the optimal volume is exceeded, we would reach overtraining.
It has been shown that, in terms of intensity, using a character of maximum effort, supposes worse performance improvements and significantly greater fatigue than performing half of the possible repetitions that tends to coincide with an approximate loss of 20% of the execution speed. And this is where velocity training comes into play.
As we have said before, something that many sports modalities have in common, is to be able to move a certain load at a higher speed. In order to increase performance-oriented strength, it is crucial to perform repetitions at the highest possible speed.
It has been shown that when the athlete puts the attentional focus on speed the improvements in power and speed are better than when the athlete puts the attentional focus on the muscle, which achieves improvements at the level of hypertrophy. Executing the repetitions at the highest possible speed, even with low loads, involves recruiting all the motor units of the muscle, preferably to the fast fibers (Duchateaur and Hainaur,2008).
As a general guideline, repeat series until a maximum of 20% of the speed of the best repetition has been lost, this loss occurs approximately when half of the possible repetitions have been reached (character of the average effort).
If you have an encoder like Vitruve’s, it will allow you to control and adjust the intensity of the load precisely and daily by measuring the average speed of the concentric phase of the lift. Knowing when we are losing speed and being able to control it, will allow us to avoid performing repetitions that do not serve you.
If you still do not know all the benefits and everything that training with a linear encoder like those of Vitruve offers you, we suggest this other article so that you can continue to enhance your knowledge with the aim of getting the most out of your workouts. Speed-Based Training: A Guide to Getting Started with VBT Training.
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