Did you know?
1st4sport offer over 285 qualifications delivered by over 850 centres, including 192 coaching qualifications, in 39 sports!
APA are very proud to say we are one of those endorsed centres qualifying coaches in the Level 2 Certificate in coaching Strength & Conditioning for Sports (L2CCSC).
Here’s what two recent attendees had to say about their experience:
Had a great 4 days on the Level 2 S&C course with APA, the course was delivered in a fun, practical and easy to understand manner in a great learning environment. Any questions/problems I had were quickly sorted face to face or via email with the course leader. ” Nathan Atlay.
“I would like to thank you for all your work and helping me getting my Level 2 in S&C. I am now confident to safely deliver a program helping my athletes to get stronger and faster and most of all to stay injury free for as long as possible. The course you delivered highlighted my lack of sufficient knowledge in the science behind the S&C and thank to you I will be able to rectify this.” Sebastien Scaux.
If you are interested on finding out more about the next Level 2 qualification then click HERE for more details.
In the mean time I thought I would discuss a topic to give you an idea of what kind of things we discuss. We get lots of questions from the candidates on the course so I thought I would try and answer a common one in this post.
Writing training plans for athletes
What do you recommend for training?
Train a group of muscle per day? I.e. Monday legs, Tuesday arms and shoulders, Wednesday chest, Thursday back
Train a group and its opposite I.e. Monday back and chest, Tuesday legs, Wednesday arm and shoulders, Thursday core
Or train everything during the same session? Maybe with an emphasis on a group of muscle?
And in term of periodisation how much strength would you have compare to SAQ? I personally think it would more strength at the start of a cycle leading to more SAQ when getting close to competing.
Well let me start by answering the first part of the question. The type of approach to strength training prescription you are describing there is something we call ‘split routine‘ training. This is widely used in the sport of body building.
It is important to remember that in our pursuit of athletic performance in certain sports such as tennis, football and rugby, S&C coaches have sought to learn from those sports that are the best in the business at getting strong, powerful and defined.
- Power lifting– the best at developing maximum strength (1 Repetition Maximum in Back Squat, Deadlift and Bench press)
- Olympic weightlifting– the best at developing Power (1 Repetition Maximum in Clean & Jerk and the Snatch
- Body building– the best at developing the physique of the body. Bodybuilding is the use of progressive resistance exercise to control and develop one’s musculature. An individual who engages in this activity is referred to as a bodybuilder. In competitive amateur and professional bodybuilding, bodybuilders appear in lineups doing specified poses, and later perform individual posing routines, for a panel of judges who rank competitors based on criteria such as symmetry, muscularity and conditioning.
Going back to your original question I would say that split routines are effective for making physique gains for those athletes who are in pursuit of symmetry, muscularity and conditioning. The split routines are exactly are you describe it, usually working one or two muscles per gym session. The exercise prescription usually uses sets and reps schemes we would associate with ‘hypertrophy.’ This is a specific type of strength training that we associate with training adaptations that result in increases in the cross sectional area of the muscle.
So the question is should we train athletes who play sports like body builders?
For the majority of athletes my response is…… No!
But like most things in life it depends! I think it’s important to distinguish between functional and non-functional hypertrophy. If you type these terms into the web you’ll get lots of articles on this topic. Click HERE for a nice summary of Functional Hypertrophy from the Poliquin (Charles) Education Team.
Functional hypertrophy is muscle growth that is strategic so that it grows your muscles in a way so that it will improve physical performance.
Functional hypertrophy training:
- Strengthens your Type II muscle fibres
- Involves heavier and more explosive lifting
- Associated with growth of sarcomeres (contractile proteins)
The problem with body building routines?
The issue is that most body building routines could be considered examples of sessions designed to build non functional hypertrophy! Body builders may have the most impressive physiques but they are not the strongest. They train you to get big but slow!
Non functional hypertrophy training:
- Uses forced reps at a slow speed
- Develops your Type I muscle fibres
- Associated with growth of sarcoplasm (non contractile elements of muscle cell)
Example of Functional Hypertrophy Workout (Poliquin System)
A functional hypertrophy technique that I teach at my Hypertrophy Bootcamps is the use of Giant Sets. A giant set is a group of four exercises that target one part of the body. For instance, a lower body giant set would be eccentric-enhanced squats, followed by heel-elevated squats to isolate the quads a bit better, followed by lunges, followed by trap bar deadlifts. This is an excellent way to shock the lower body into getting stronger and it will also train cardiovascular fitness. It triggers a robust anabolic hormone response and is particularly effective for boosting growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1.
Training giant sets and using related training techniques such as varying tempo is the best way to subject your body to something it’s not used so that it has to adapt. The variation of tempo is a complex training strategy in which you alter the amount of time spent on different parts of the lift such as doing eccentric-enhanced squats that use a slow tempo (4 to 6 seconds) for the down motion and a fast tempo (explosive) for the up concentric motion.
APA thoughts on this
There are a couple of principles that I stick to:
- Train Movements not Muscles
- Unbalanced programmes are needed to get a balanced athlete
- Train the entire Force-Velocity curve
I think that what Poliquin described above could definitely work as an upper body-lower body split routine. Doing squats (knee dominant bilateral pattern), lunges, (unilateral hip dominant pattern), deadlift (bilateral hip dominant pattern) respects APA’s first principle of training movements not muscles.
Sometimes you need an unbalanced programme to balance out the body. So often athletes are over dominant in the push and knee dominant movements and weaker in the pull and hip dominant movements. The example above is well balanced so if someone is very knee dominant you could tweak that to emphasis more hip dominant exercises.
Finally, it uses variations in tempo from slow eccentrics to explosive concentrics to work both the strength and power ends of the force-velocity curve.
3 is the magic number
For far more in depth analysis on programming considerations please check out one of the APA Philosophy blog posts HERE called ‘3 is the magic number.’
Thanks for reading!!!