Strength Training Across the Developmental Continuum for Speed-Power Athletes


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This is a presentation given by Mike Young, PhD on the best practices for developing strength in speed-power athletes across the developmental continuum. This presentation was given at the 2010 USATF Annual Meeting.

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Strength Training Across the Developmental Continuum for Speed-Power Athletes

  1. 1. Mike Young, PhD Human Performance Consulting
  2. 2.  The focus of this lecture will be on the appropriate means & methods for developing strength & power in an age & developmentally appropriate manner across the developmental continuum from age group to elite speed-power athletes
  3. 3.  Strength is the ability to apply force  Strength is the outcome of: 1. Neuromuscular efficiency and coordination 2. Contractile properties of the muscle 3. Musculoskeletal leverage
  4. 4. The key to sport performance is being able to apply large forces in the desired direction over short periods of time through optimal ranges of motion
  5. 5. Stages of Development
  6. 6. 1. Infant 2. Toddler 3. Pre-Pubescent 4. Pre-Adolescence 5. Early Adolescence 6. Adolescence 7. Early Adulthood 8. Late Adulthood
  7. 7.  Pre-Pubescent ◦ Ages 8-10 ◦ Before sexual characteristics ◦ Period in time where motor skill development is extremely important  Create the hard wiring for future success  Pre-Adolescence ◦ Ages 10-13 ◦ Characterized by the onset of puberty and sexual characteristics ◦ Boys tend to reach this stage later
  8. 8.  Early Adolescence ◦ Transitional stage between childhood and adulthood ◦ The teenage years are from ages 13 to 16
  9. 9.  Adolescence ◦ Ages 16-19 ◦ Puberty  Hormonal changes  Implications for sport training  Early Adulthood ◦ Ages 19…. ◦ Rapid muscle growth may continue, especially in males ◦ Physical and cognitive maturity
  10. 10. General Consideration s
  11. 11.  Overload: Athletes must be progressively challenged  Adaptation: Positive or negative changes that occur in response to a training stimulus  Recovery: Rest or recovery necessary for adequate adaptation  Specificity: Training adaptations are specific to the stimulus applied
  12. 12.  Detraining: Loss of fitness due to inadequate or infrequent stimulus  Reversability: Occurs as a result of detraining Loss of previously gained fitness  Volume: The total quantity of work performed  Intensity: The quality of work done relative to an athlete’s maximal effort
  13. 13.  Don’t sell the farm to by the tractor  Follow appropriate progressions  Overload is vital to improvement but must be done cautiously at young ages
  14. 14.  Chronological age: length of time since birth  Biological age: developmentally related  Training age: length of time individual has been resistance training  All three should be considered when developing training plans for developing athletes
  15. 15.  An unsafely executed lift can be injurious ◦ Excessive intensities and volumes or poor technique  Weight training in and of itself does not cause injury  Motor skills of all sports and physical training should be rigorously taught to children and coaches to minimize the risk of injury
  16. 16.  Supervision  Appropriate technique  Appropriate load  Managing fatigue  Appropriate exercises  Pedagogical soundness  Defining purpose
  17. 17. Facts & Fallacies
  18. 18.  FALLACY: Strength training is ineffectual at producing strength at younger ages because their hormonal profile is not adequate  FACT: High intensity programs have been shown to increase strength in preadolescents in 6 weeks or less (Mersch, 1989; Nielsen, 1980; Ozmun, 1991, Wescott, 1979)
  19. 19.  FALLACY: Injury rates with weight training are a continual source of concern and have been proposed as one of the major rationale for precluding children’s training with weights.  FACT: Injury rates are lower in weight lifting than in other sport activities (Stone, 1990)  FACT: Weight training programs are safe with athletes as young as 7 (Pierce et al, 1999)  FACT: Weightlifting can reduce the likelihood of injury (Faigenbaum&Schram, 2004)
  20. 20.  FALLACY: Weight training will damage epiphysial plates and stunt growth  FACT: No clinical record showing correlation between heavy weight training and epiphysial damage  FACT: Bone density actually INCREASES
  21. 21.  John A. Bergfeld, M.D. says… Despite the previously held belief that strength training was unsafe and ineffective for children, health organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Strength and Conditioning Association now support children's participation in appropriately designed and competently supervised strength training programs.
  22. 22.  John A. Bergfeld, M.D. says… If 7- or 8-year-olds are ready for participation in organized sports or activities such as little league or gymnastics, then they are ready for some type of strength training program.For children starting out in weight training, lifetime fitness and proper exercise techniques should be emphasized. Adults designing training programs should provide a stimulating environment that helps children develop a healthier lifestyle.
  23. 23.  Increased muscle strength and endurance  Enhanced running economy  Sports performance improvement  Better cardio respiratory function  Injury prevention  Stronger bones  Improved body composition  Improved flexibility
  24. 24. Age Specific Consideration s
  25. 25. 1. FUNdamentals 2. Learning to Train 3. Training to Train 4. Training to Compete 5. Training to Win 6. Retaining
  26. 26. FUNdamentals
  27. 27.  Age: Males 6-9/Females 6-8 years  Objective: Learn all fundamental movement skills (build overall motor skills)  Participation once or twice per week [in desired sport], but participation in other sports three or four times per week is essential for further excellence. BLUEPRINT THE ENGINE
  28. 28.  Even though proper weight training protocols will not inhibit growth proper instruction is vital  Careful attention should be paid to correct technique rather than load  Greatest benefits and smallest risks occur when 8 to 15 repetitions can be performed with a given weight before adding weight in small increments  Appropriate warmup helps prevent injuries
  29. 29.  Body weight calisthenics  Medicine ball throws  Low level plyometrics  Weight training skill development
  30. 30. Learning to Train
  31. 31.  Age: Males 9-12/Females 8-11 years  Objective: Learn all fundamental sports skills  A 7:3 training/practice to competition ratio is recommended DESIGN THE ENGINE
  32. 32.  Introduction to weight training for strength development  Medicine ball throws  Moderate & low level plyometrics  Body weight calisthenics
  33. 33.  Studies show that before puberty athletes are capable of strength gains without injury or harmful effects on growth and development although, more often, they show greater strength gains during puberty (Sewall &Micheli, 1986; Rians et al, 1987)
  34. 34. Training to Train
  35. 35.  Age: Males 12-16/Females 11-15 years  Objectives: Build strength towards the end of the phase and further develop sport-specific skills  3:2 training to competition ratio with competition ratio including competition and competition- specific training. BUILD THE ENGINE
  36. 36.  Introduction to weight training for strength development  Medicine ball throws  Moderate & low level plyometrics  Body weight calisthenics
  37. 37. Training to Compete
  38. 38.  Age: Males 16-18/Females 15-17 years  Objectives: Optimize fitness preparation and sport, individual and position-specific skills as well as performance OPTIMIZE THE ENGINE
  39. 39.  General training ◦ Determining appropriate set / rep / intensity schemes  Introduction to specific training means  Inclusion of increasingly higher intensity activities ◦ Greater load ◦ Greater speed emphasis
  40. 40. Training to Win
  41. 41.  Age: Males 18+/Females 17+  Objectives: Maximize fitness preparation and sport, individual and position-specific skills as well as performance  Training to competition ratio of 1:3, with the competition percentage including competition- specific training activities MAXIMIZE THE ENGINE
  42. 42.  More advanced strength methods ◦ Complexing ◦ Varying tempo ◦ Speed lifts  Physically mature athletes with a history of strength training will benefit from greater external loading (~80-90% of 1RM)
  43. 43.  General Training  Specific Training ◦ Resisted running ◦ Resisted bounds ◦ High CNS intensive activities ◦ Special strength?
  44. 44. Know the Basics
  45. 45.  Lower body pulling  Squatting  Upper body pressing  Upper body pulling
  46. 46.  Basics: ◦ Stance / grip ◦ Posture ◦ Movement pattern ◦ Range of motion  Part-whole vs Whole-part teaching
  47. 47. Know the Basics
  48. 48.  Adhere to sound long term athlete development principles: ◦ General to specific ◦ Simple to complex ◦ Volume to intensity
  49. 49.  Strength development can be a safe and effective means of enhancing athletic ability, confidence and injury prevention  Proper instruction is vital for safety and development  As with every other facet of training, age (biological & training) appropriate training methods should be applied when developing strength  Do not limit yourself to the weight room