Injury prevention is the most important reason to have a strength and conditioning program in place, despite the majority of athletes not realising how or why it is important. An athlete who follows a well-designed program will prevent or eliminate muscle imbalances, as well as strengthen tendons and ligaments, which will lead to fewer injuries. A good program will also address flexibility/mobility issues, which will also reduce injuries. Following sound nutritional advice will further help prevent ailments that can have a major negative impact on an athlete’s performance.
Programmes for Improved Performance:
A well-designed programme does not always include features from your favourite bodybuilding magazine, or from a friend who’s a natural athlete, or from some guy who has more drugs in his body than a pharmacy. A well-designed program addresses the individual, their muscle imbalances, and the sport they play or train for, as well as many other factors.
Most people do not realise that getting an athlete’s legs stronger through exercises such as squats and lunges, is the quickest way to make an athlete faster and stronger. Focusing on smaller muscle groups will allow bigger muscle groups to work harder. For instance, focusing on Glute stability alone will help strengthen and stabilise the hips, as well strengthening the knees, benefiting both cycling and running. This allows athletes to increase power output, whilst decreasing the risk of injuries.
Making an athlete faster is a simple but technical process. I have never seen an athlete who can run correctly without first being taught correct technique, including myself. Sprinting is very technical and requires hard work to make improvements. This programme should address conditioning and agility work, so that the athlete’s newly developed speed transfers to the field. This is done through:
• Ensuring that the hip and Glute stability is being worked on 2-3 times per week
• Incorporating activation exercises into warm ups
Supplemented by other methods, this helps to improve performance and prevent injury, allowing work on any muscle imbalances which will help strengthen technical training.
A powerful athlete is one who can jump higher and accelerate faster than other athletes. A well-designed strength and conditioning programme will make an athlete more powerful, through utilising the most appropriate exercises and implementing plyometrics correctly.
An athlete who works hard and follows a strength and conditioning program will display more confidence on the field, due to their consequentially improved performances. The hard work and discipline it takes to do things in life that are unpleasant or tough lead to the creation of better people and athletes. Incorporating a well designed strength and conditioning program into training schedules significantly helps mental preparation for events or races. An athlete’s confidence in their strength and conditional fitness, as well as cardiovascular fitness, gives them great confidence in knowing that they are in optimum shape, injury free and mentally strong.