What do I mean by ‘basic is best’?
The objectives of the strength and conditioning coach are to improve athlete performance in their sport, so it’s understandable that coaches will turn to a more sport specific style of training in the weight room. However, if you take a look into the well-performing strength and conditioning session plans across almost any sport, the majority of the session would look like your average gym program.
The number of variables during the athlete’s performance is extremely vast, making it impossible to replicate what happens during competition in the gym. Focusing entirely on making everything relevant to a sport can hinder strength programs and therefore athlete development.
A great Strength and conditioning coach will look to develop physiological and neuromuscular attributes that are necessary for sporting performance; therefore the exercises are chosen simply to allow the coach to get that output in the best way possible.
There is a time and place for ‘sport specific’ exercises, typically as accessories to the main bulk of your program. For example, if you want to mimic the scrum position in your forwards, have them do scrummage holds against a wall adding slight variances for progression, For example; resistance bands pulled in a various direction to encourage core strength.
The best way to evaluate your program is to look at what your goals are. They will help you in choosing those exercises that will give you the most ‘bang for your buck’.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What occurs during the competition/ sport (jumping, running, tackling, throwing etc)
- What attributes does the sport require (strength, speed, change of direction, power, single leg strength and stability etc)
- What exercises give the best output for the attributes required (Olympic lifts for power, back squat and deadlifts for lower body strength, plyometrics for power and rate of force development).
The Whole idea is to be able to justify your exercise selection. What exercises have you chosen and why have you chosen them. If you can do this then you’re on the right track.
Find us at the UKSCA on the 3-5th August 2018
Jack Hughes (MSc)
Strength and Conditioning Coach