Tag Archives: weight training

The Importance of Strength Training and Speed

Author: David Hornestrength_training2

Strength training is required to help develop a “base” from which an athlete can build upon and become faster. Strength is required before power training and it helps to lay the foundation for overall body conditioning. I have found that strength is the single most dominant factor in predicting and also improving speed. It is not the only factor but it is definitely the main one that can bring about the most significant results.

If you have not performed a regular strength training program before then you need to participate in a general total body program as this will lay the foundation for a more advanced speed program. This article assumes that you have already been involved in a strength training program and are ready to expand into the specifics of training for blazing speed.

There are various types of strength which will help you to understand how to specifically train for your sport of tennis.

Strength-endurance refers to the athlete being able to exert strength over and over many times. If an athlete lacks the ability to continually exert this strength then they will become slower in reacting to a certain situation. The best way to work on strength endurance is by performing circuit training.

Maximum strength refers to being able to exert the maximum force possible in a single contraction or movement. It is this type of strength that plays a significant role in developing that “explosive” component of speed. An athlete can work on this maximum strength by conducting a strength training program.

plyometricsElastic strength is a third type which refers to the athlete having the ability to overcome a significant force or resistance with a fast contraction. How does this relate to speed? Well, think about how soccer has become more physical or football with the known amount of sheer strength required to push away from a defender. This can help the athlete to become faster in their response to a situation and get a jump on their opponent. This contributes to an athlete being fast and responsive to a certain situation. An athlete can work on developing elastic strength by working with medicine ball, performing various weight training exercises and a series of plyometric exercises.

Precautions for strength training include conducting a complete “needs analysis” for each individual, avoiding excessive loads on the body, avoiding over training (leads to overuse injuries)and avoiding training errors and using poor technique. Be sure to follow all guidelines and train with a partner if possible (for motivation and for spotting)

Principles of Training include the following: Frequency is how often you workout, intensity is how hard you work out or the effort you put into your work. This is expressed as a percentage of 1RM (maximum repetition). Time is how long you work out for(e.g. 45 minutes).Progression refers to a gradual increase in repetitions, sets, or resistance that allows for adaptational changes. Specificity is about training the body part or system specific to those used in your sport.

If you have access to a gym facility then you can develop a strength training program utilizing the equipment available. For those coaches or athletes who do not have access to a gym, you can design a program using a combination of the exercises included using an athlete’s own body weight for resistance.

Make sure that you include a variety of exercises that cover the lower body, the core and the upper body. Neglecting one area can create imbalances that will likely lead to injury.

How Do We Get Stronger? We get stronger by continually overloading the muscle and forcing it to grow stronger in order to cope with this increased load. When you hear coaches talking about a “maintenance phase” during their competitive season then they are often referring to maintaining the load placed upon the muscles. Whereas as during the pre-season the athletes were constantly striving to increase the loads placed on the muscles.

There are several methods when it comes to basic strength training. These include free weights such as barbells and dumbbells which are common in gyms and homes, using fixed machines such as universal machines, using your own body weight for resistance such as performing push-ups and squats, partner assisted exercises where your partner is the resistance, various forms of circuit training which involves performing a series of pre-defined exercises in rapid succession.

These are methods used for general strength training especially when the athlete lacks the appropriate resources. Our strength training exercises are more specific and cover a variety of methods but all aim to train specifically for the demands of tennis.

Many tennis players have to travel and this is where having the option to perform exercises using your own bodytennis player weight can come in handy if this is your only option for strength training.

Repetitions – When conducting your initial strength training program for overall body conditioning and preparation for more advanced exercises I want you to work in the 10-12 repetition range. This allows you to develop muscle size and endurance but most of all it doesn’t place too much stress on your body which would likely lead to injury. You should be pushing out that last repetition, if not then increase the weight.

Once you have completed at least six months of a general weight training program then you can move onto the specifics that will really help you to become faster.

To achieve maximal results and adaptations you will want to train in the repetition range of 6-8 repetitions. This will help to achieve maximum strength and muscle growth. Every two to three weeks I want you to include a heavy day in your training which will consist of performing the same exercises but now in the 4-6 repetition range. It is important to perform these fewer repetitions with exercises that you have been doing for a while. This is a gradual progression. These heavy days will really help to overload and stimulate the muscles.

Sets – During your initial general strength training program I want you to perform 3 sets. The goal should be to push out 10-12 repetitions in each of these three sets. Remember that the main goal of a general strength training program is to prepare the body for the more strenuous activities placed upon it in the power and advanced training programs. If you have already been involved in a strength training program then you need to move on to a more intensive strength training program of 3 to 5 sets per exercise (include super sets into your programs)

Rest periods – During your general conditioning phase you will want to only rest for 1-2 minutes between sets.

When you have moved on to the more intensive program you will need to increase your rest periods to at least two to three minutes (due to using heavier weights and performing fewer repetitions). Anything less when maxing out will not allow you to fully recover in order to perform the next set for maximal gains. This increased rest period will allow the muscles to sufficiently replenish their ATP and creatine phosphate stores which will allow you to get better results on your next set.

Many power athletes will require rest periods of greater than 3-5 minutes. This is more specific but I am sure that you will have time restraints with your sessions.

Strength Training Program for Novice Lifters includes using a lighter weight, more repetitions, goal of becoming accustomed to strength training, fewer sets, divide into two sessions (upper body and lower body), conduct each session twice per week = 4 total sessions

Strength Training Program for Advanced and Experienced Lifters includes heavier weight, fewer repetitions, goal is to increase strength, more sets, three distinct sessions allowing for more emphasis on a specific muscle group, minimum of 72 hours rest between same muscles group work out, push out last few repetitions, increase weight if they are too easy!Introduce super sets, complete one heavy training session every three weeks, increase rest period between sets.

With frequency you should try to aim for at least three sessions per week with a minimum of two sessions.

Choice of exercises: To maintain motivation and prevent boredom change the exercises every 4-6 weeks. Refer to the article “Need New Strength Training Exercises to Add Variety to Your Programs?

The choice of exercises may be determined by the equipment available to you. If you have access a gym then they should have all of the required equipment. If not, then choose some of the body-resistance exercises or stability ball exercises.

Include a super-setting program for a 6 week period. Super-setting is where you complete a set with one muscles group and then immediately perform a set with another muscle group. For example: complete one set of dumbbell curls for the biceps and then complete one set of triceps extensions for the opposing triceps.

I strongly believe in keeping the repetition range between 6-8 as anything higher is not “overloading” the muscles. Every 2-3 weeks I want you to include one session of maximum lifting where your repetition range is between 4-6 repetitions. This will help to stimulate the muscles.

Always use a spotter and seek the assistance of a trainer to help you with technique. Remember that this is a general strength training program and change exercises every 4 – 6 weeks for variety and to stimulate muscles. Perform the general program for at least 6 months and allow for 48 to 72 hours rest between workouts. Start with a light weight and then progress to heavier weights and aim for a designated number of repetitions.

Include the following strength and power training exercises in your program for advanced players: BB and DB squats, squat3Snatch Squat, Power Cleans, Bench Press, Hack Squats, Leg Sled.

Characteristics of Strength Training Programs
Hypertrophy involves concentric and eccentric exercises, multiple sets for each muscle group (greater than 3 sets, short rest periods (less than 2 minutes, repetition range of 6-12, include super setting (same or opposing muscle groups), use a variety of exercises per muscle group, focus on muscle being trained and start with the larger muscle groups first.

Power involves multi-joint exercises (power cleans, multiple sets (greater than 4), longer rest periods greater than two minutes (need longer rest periods before next set), repetition range less than 6 per set, very high intensity (maximal effort), choose power exercises specific to the movements used in tennis, perform power exercises early on in a session (work assisting muscle groups second), power is similar to strength but you are adding the time factor, plyo-metrics are exercises where the muscle is contracted eccentrically and then immediately concentrically. Stretch shortening cycle.

Muscular Endurance involves tennis specific exercises, fewer sets (3 or less), moderate rest periods (2-3 minutes between sets), repetition range of 12-18, lower intensity (allows for more repetitions), lighter weights used for more repetitions,

Remember that these are directed towards become a faster athlete. Strength and Power is what is needed for speed. Be aware of your own current fitness status and design a program that suits your needs based on the above principles.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/sports-and-fitness-articles/the-importance-of-strength-training-and-speed-295204.html

About the AuthorDavid Horne is a former professional tennis player who has created several online sports web sites including Sports eBooks .You can also visit the global web site for Tennis Coaching at Global Sports Coaching

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Lower Body Exercises With No Equipment

Author: Joey Atlasleg_exercise5

The best lower body exercises are the ones that can be done anywhere with little or no equipment. Being single with no kids may allow for wasted time in the gym doing twelve sets per lower body part, but once in the real world of spouse, kids and job, those two hour gym visits are history. The good news is this should be a welcome change because the old-school bodybuilder, weights and machine type workout routines can do more damage in the long run as compared to a smart, properly structured lower body exercise routine.

Exercise machines and weights will always have their place in fitness – but they are not the only way to achieve a strong, well toned lower body. The right selection of lower body exercises can produce a sufficient training stimulus to bring about desired changes, continuous progress and visible results. As health clubs and fitness centers are filled with an endless amount of exercise machines and weight training gear, it is in their best interest to promote weight and machine type workout programs. Naturally, members develop a dependency on these types of workouts because they don’t learn any alternative exercise methods. Some fitness experts argue that workouts with machines and weights are the only path to true lower body improvements. The reality is, nothing can be further from the truth.

The problems with this mind-set range from the ‘more is better’ syndrome to the ‘I got out of my routine’ excuse. To develop a strong, fit and defined lower body your choice of exercises must be realistic for long term adherence and they must consist of exercises that can be done at home or while on the road if you are traveling. As a career personal trainer and fitness consultant I’ve had the opportunity to work with many people at various stages of life. The people who maintain long term fitness success are the ones who structure their lower body exercise routines so that they are ‘portable’ – meaning if they don’t have a gym available to them – it’s not going to prevent them from getting their lower body exercise session in. This ties into one of the essential elements of fitness success – consistency. Staying on a regular exercise schedule will yield the best long term results. Starting and stopping a routine that is unrealistic will yield harmful results – this is a fact.

Lower body workouts consisting of body weight leg exercises produce an incredible amount of natural strength while providing gender specific improvements in muscular development and appearance. While women seek more of a toning and firming effect, men seek more of a lean muscle building effect with muscle group definition. An old fitness myth exists that has people believing that a woman will develop muscles like a man if she follows the same type of lower body exercise program. The exercise program does not dictate this result. It’s the gender/genetic differences of the male and female DNA that dictate the specific results that men and women derive from well rounded, and properly structured lower body exercises. Not the type or intensity of the workout routine itself.

Yes, we sometimes see women who look like male bodybuilders or power-lifters – but these abnormal looks can almost always be traced back to some method of pharmaceutical enhancement. For example, taking anabolic steroids or growth hormone to develop as much muscle mass as possible is one way for a woman to lose the fit, sexy and feminine look. Nothing against them – but they do not represent the definition of fitness – especially for women.

No matter if you are male or female, the benefits of properly structured lower body exercises that do not rely on the confines of a gym or fitness center can give you all the results you could ever want, in a program that can easily be followed for life. After all, isn’t that what true fitness is about?

Don’t get rid of your health club membership – especially if you enjoy doing some of your lower body workouts there. But it would be wise for you to develop a body-weight leg exercise routine for you to follow at home or while you are ‘on the road’ – so you don’t develop over-training injuries or find yourself missing several weeks of exercise sessions because you were traveling or just ‘didn’t have time to get to the gym’.

Bodyweight Strength Training: Recommended For All-Purpose Strength

Author: Eddie Lomax

Mention strength training, and weight lifting or using machines immediately comes to mind.  But there are many types of strength, not just “maximum” strength.  I want to show you how bodyweight strength training is excellent for increasing each type of strength and why you should use your own bodyweight first and as an ongoing part of your strength training.

One-Hand-PushupSo, what is strength?

Well, a simple definition of strength is the capacity your body has to exert muscular and skeletal force against a resistance.  The resistance can be the weight of your own body,  the weight of something else or both.  So, the larger capacity you have to move your own body or a foreign object in your environment, the stronger you are.

And being stronger has its benefits:

-    You can do more with your body and objects you find in your environment
-    You reduce the risk of injury because of increased ability to control your body and other objects
-    You gain confidence knowing there is strength behind your movements
-    You can overcome the challenges of sport, work and life easier
-    And you look better because your strength is visually apparent in strong muscles

But the truth is, there are many different kinds of strength.  And I believe each one can be improved upon with bodyweight strength training.  Here we are going to look at the three main types of strength: maximal strength, explosive strength and strength endurance.

Bodyweight Training For Maximal Strength

Maximal strength is the amount of force that can be generated from one, all out effort, regardless of time or bodyweight.

Some people say weight training is best for maximal strength training, and for some exercises they are right.  However, many trainees are using weights to perform exercises because they can’t handle the weight of their own body.  For example, many men and women do Lat Pull Downs because they can’t do pull ups or chin ups.

There are many other bodyweight exercises that can build maximal strength.  How about one-arm pushups or one-leg squats as strength builders?  Most weight lifters can’t perform these exercises, regardless of the weights they use in their training.

Bodyweight Strength Training For Explosive Strength

Explosive strength is strength per unit of time, and is also known as speed strength.  So, this is how much force you can generate in the shortest amount of time.  In terms of bodyweight training, it means how fast you can move your body from one position to another.

Think of explosive movements like jumping squats or plyometric pushups where your body is propelled with such force it actually leaves the ground.  Is this type of strength important?  You bet it is!

Bodyweight Strength Training For Strength Endurance

Strength endurance is the amount of force you can generate for an extended period if time.  It is the ability to be as strong as possible as long as possible.  This type of strength is characterized by being able to perform a movement repeatedly without being overcome by fatigue or sacrificing form.

When you think of bodyweight strength training, this is normally the type of strength people think of.  Rhythmic, repeated bodyweight calisthenics for example builds strength endurance.

As you can see, there are a lot of different types of strength.  And you can train each one by using the weight of your own body.  No outside resistance is necessary.

Think of it this way.  The training you do is specific.  If you do a certain type of exercise, you become better at that exercise.  So, if you are training for all-purpose strength (which included maximal, explosive and endurance strength) where the object performing the movement is your own body, there is no better tool than bodyweight calisthenics.

Bodyweight strength training should be the starting point, and a continual part, of everyone’s over-all workout program.