Tagged as: strength and conditioning

PART 3: If You Want to Run Faster… Build These

As we have discussed previously – one of the major benefits of strength training is its ability to improve the running economy of runners.

If you have missed this discussion I invite you to go back and read Part 1 of this series Kickstart You Running. Part 2 of the series, 3 Mistakes to Avoid is also worth a look

IF YOU WANT TO RUN FASTER you need to build strength in these muscle groups:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteals
  • Calves

QUADRICEPS

Key muscles: Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius, Rectus Femoris

Key Functions: knee extension and hip flexion

Key Exercises: Squats, Lunges

NOTES

I will often incorporate both of these exercise into a runner’s program. At times I will run them concurrently, with the most of the heavy lifting being done in the squats while the lunges are used to develop strength and stability on each leg individually. At other times I will use variations such at the Bulgarian Split Squat or Front Loaded Split Squat to target the muscle differently.

HAMSTRINGS

Key muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus

Key Functions: hip extension and knee flexion

Key Exercises: Deadlifts, Nordics

NOTES

Both of these exercise will load and strengthen the hamstring. Early on you need to be aware of soreness and how this will impact your running.

When using Deadlifts I like to mix up the range of movement (from the floor, raises, deficit and Romanian style) and the means of weighting the lift (Hex Bar, Olympic Bar, Dumbells, Banded).

There are a great number of variations of the Nordics. Throughout the season I like to vary the style to challenge the muscles in a variety of ways. My absolute favourite is using the Glute Ham Raise (GHR).

GLUTEALS

Key muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus

Key Functions: hip extension, external rotation, transverse abduction (Glute Med), Internal rotation (Glute Med), Abduction, Transverse Abduction (Glute Min)

Key Exercises: Hip Bridging, Bench Hip Thrust

NOTES

My “go-to” exercise for the Glutes is the Bench Hip Thrust. It has the ability to move a heavy load in a running specific direction (esp in terms of acceleration) without the overloading of the spine that can occur during squats and deadlifts. To incorporate Glute Med & Min I place a band around the thighs just above the kneecaps and then resist the pulling together of the knees caused by the band.

CALVES

Key muscles: Soleus, Gastrocnemius, Tibialis Posterior

Key Functions: Dorisflexion (Gastroc, Soleus), Plantar flexion. Inversion (Tib Post)

Key Exercises: Standing Single Leg Calf Raises (barefoot), Weighted Seated Calf Raises

NOTES

Being able to develop strength in the calves in both the straight leg and bent leg position will help to significantly reduce the chance of common running injuries such as Achilles Tendinopothy and Plantar Fasciitis.

One of the common ideas we use is to develop the eccentric strength first, working slowly on the downward part of the moment (often under weight) and then being assisted in the rising motion.

Sets 2-3 of 15-20reps on a single leg will assist in building the required strength.

The exercises we have listed above will help develop strength in the key muscles involved in running. These exercises (or those that work the muscles similarly) should form the core of any strength programme aiming to improve running performance.

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning

Improve Your 2km Time Trial

With the AFL season fast approaching and preseason underway for most players, I thought I’d share one of my favourite workouts for improving your 2km time trial.

This workout works best as part of a weekly schedule which incorporates a longer runs (3-5km) and some strength work for running economy and stability.

In 2018 Jacob Kennerley (drafted by Geelong) set a new AFL combine record for the 2km time trial with an effort of 6.04min. Whether you are in Jacob’s league, or just keen to improve your 2km time and catch the coach’s eye – this training set will help you towards your goal.

This session is designed to teach your body to run faster than it is accustomed to.

WARM UP

Theraband Glute Activation:

  • Clams 2×10 each side
  • Banded Hip Thrusts 2×15

General Active Stretches: Ankle, Calves, Hamstrings, Quads, Hips, Glutes, Back, Shoulders

RUNNING DRILLS

A Skip 3x20m with walk back recovery (WB)

Figure Four  3x30m WB

Strides 5x100m WB

WORKOUT

10x200m with a 200m walk (or 200m slow jog) between reps

The aim for each 200m rep is to achieve it roughly 2-3s faster than your target time.

EXAMPLE

2km Target Time: 6.04min ie the average time per 200m is 36.40s (6.04min/10)

Target Time for 200m reps is 33.40s

VARIATIONS

I love to play around with this session. Once I can hit my training targets with a 200m walk between reps, I like to experiment to push myself further and maintain the target time but reduce the recovery by walking only 100m between reps. On one occasion I also “played” with dropping the recovery to a 50m walk between reps but found I was unable to still hit my target times. This is a speed endurance oriented session… when you can’t maintain the speed you are no longer working that aspect of the activity.

Give it a try and GOOD LUCK

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning

The Ageing Warrior – Fighting Speed Loss

We can’t avoid age. However, we can avoid some aging. Continue to do things. Be active. Life is fantastic in the way it adjusts to demands; if you use your muscles and mind, they stay there much longer.

Charles H. Townes

If we loose our sight our other senses develop further to help us cope.

If we injure our hip we change our gait to be able to keep moving.

If we lose running speed our brain adapts and uses our experience to improve our game sense so we are able to anticipate better and still compete

These amazing adaptations however can be a curse on the sports field.

 

As we age, we slow down and our body adapts to keep us competitive. This often causes us to accept the fact that we are slower. Rather we should ask 2 questions:

  1. Why am I slowing down?
  2. What can I do to prevent/decrease the decline?

COMMON CAUSES OF AGED RELATED SPEED DECLINE

  • Our lifestyles become more sedentary- we sit more, we are less active more often
  • We put on weight and in particular we put on fat
  • Our muscles get smaller
  • We produce less growth hormone which decreases our muscles ability to grown and strengthen
  • We produce less Creatine Phosphate which decreases our ability to reduces our ability to work at high intensity
  • We have less time to spend on recovery techniques especially sleep
  • Our flexibility and mobility decrease

 

WHAT CAN I DO?

  • Weight train… regularly. For team sport players 2-3 sessions per week will help increase muscle mass and strength
  • Eat a well balanced diet, ensuring that you take into account your need for protein for muscle building and carbohydrates for energy
  • Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Train mobility daily to ensure range of motion is maintained and improved
  • Train at high intensities for 2 sessions per week
  • Design a training programme which allows full recovery

Our body is incredibly adaptive. It will adapt to our ageing but it will also adapt to the new demands we place on it if we create the right conditions.

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning

The Secret to Success for Masters Athletes

Once we hit the magical 30th birthday we are confronted with the unavoidable fact that in a relatively short period of time we will see our Personal Bests becoming a more distant memory. There are rare genetic exceptions to every rule… supreme athletes like Kim Collins who ran a PB for the 100m at age 40 (9.93s +1.9) and in fact had his best career performances between 36 and 40. But even Collins suffered a dramatic (for him) drop off in speed after 40.

Our decline in speed with age is inevitable. What is controllable is that rate at which our speed declines.

And the secret…

TRAIN HARD and REST HARDER

As masters athletes we need to “check our ego at the door”. We are no longer 10 foot tall and bullet proof” and as such we need adjust our training accordingly to ensure we can maximise our efforts and then recovery as best as possible for our next assault.

While reading the other day I came across a concept that really struck a chord with me. It said (and I paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly where I read it):

The warm up and cool down are not done before and after training respectively but rather they are an integral part of the training programme.

Too often many athletes, especially the time poor among us,  rush to get to the body of the training session (“I haven’t got time for a full warm up”) or we rush off immediately the “hard work” is done. Essentially we see the bit that makes us “huff and puff” as the essential part of training and the rest as non-core extras.

The change in perception that is needed for success applies even more so to Masters athletes.

We know that:

  • Training with intensity increases a release in growth hormones, which elicits an increase in the lean muscle to body fat ratio.
  • Speed training needs neuro-muscular recovery
  • Masters athletes take longer to recover from hard workouts.
  • Increased recovery leads to an improved/increased adaption to training demands

So if we are looking to maximise our performance as Masters athletes we should:

  1. Use a periodised training programme which (in some format) alternates hard and medium training weeks
  2. Utilise high intensity training sessions 2-3 times per week (operating around 85-100% of our maximum heart rate)
  3. Prioritise quality over quantity
  4. Use additional lower intensity sessions to complement the high intensity work
  5. Employ active recovery techniques such as massage, stretching and mobility, contrast baths, ice baths and proper nutrition
  6. Programme regular rest days (at least once per week)

 

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning

 

12 Month Transformation

Last weekend one of our athletes, Fran, won Gold at the Victorian Masters Athletics Championships. That victory in the 60m came after a Silver medal in the 100m the previous day.

These achievements are, by themselves, noteworthy and to be celebrated.

But behind the triumphs is a story much more worthy of celebration (as there often is with athletes).

Twelve months ago Fran contacted Damn Fit Strength and Conditioning almost as a last resort. She was carrying more weight than she wanted to be and she had been unable to sustain any meaningful weight loss. She lived constantly having to monitor a medical condition (and still does). She was plagued by injuries that she could not seem to shake.

By way of background information, Fran has recently turned 40. During her school years she was quite a successful middle distance runner. By the end of her schooling years she had fallen out of love with running (and definitely with training) and, despite being a fiercely determined person, had learnt to avoid contests because of a fear of failure.

We set about, with Fran, changing the way she approached training and life.

Fran signed on as an online client, using the Visual Coaching platform to access her training programmes and to utilise her wellness monitoring diaries. During our weekly phone conversations we worked on setting goals and developing a series of benchmarks to help her achieve success.

During this process we:

  • liaised with her physiotherapist on training and recovery protocols
  • engaged a local Exercise Physiologist to utilise their expertise in Anti G running
  • directed her towards a dietician who assisted in providing advice to help ensure she was providing herself with sufficient fuel for the training load she was keen to undertake.

In the space of those 12 months Fran:

  • lost 12.4kg
  • added 4.2kg of active tissue mass (muscle)
  • increased mobility
  • experienced significant increases in her sport specific strength indicators

There were hiccups along the way – mainly to do with a lack of high quality running facilities in her local area. But by co-ordinating with the various experts we were able to formulate a training programme which allowed Fran, not only to compete in her first competition in 22 years, but to excel in that competition.

In conjunction with Damn Fit, Fran has now commenced goal setting for the next 4 years.

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning

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