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Benefits of Athletic Conditioning – For You and Your Teenager

rachel battingphoto © 2008 Lcrward | more info (via: Wylio)The benefits of athletic conditioning for your high school athlete are immeasurable. But, what about for you? While your child may be involved in school sports, don’t discount the lack of athletic conditioning in YOUR life. What we do at boot camp and small group training is so focused on total body conditioning that you will do nothing but reap the benefits. Don’t let the lack of being involved in an organized sport keep you from receiving all of the amazing benefits that come with athletic conditioning. Try out a few boot camps or small group sessions and you will find that you can even take on your teenager in challenges! Read on for the core competencies behind athletic conditioning and why WE LOVE IT!

The benefits of athletic conditioning.

The higher level of performance desired, the more efficiently and consistently one wishes to perform, (competitively or not) and the more potential that exists for injury (due to either training volume or the inherent danger of the sport itself) the more important it becomes to design a specific sports conditioning program tailored to the athlete and his or her specific sport or event. Many strength training programs given to athletes are based on a cookie-cutter bodybuilding routines which are not the most effective way to prepare athletes for complex and/or repetitive movements. They can actually be counterproductive. The muscles in your body and your entire nervous system must learn to work in concert with each other, in perfect harmony, with perfect timing. This is how our body moves in real life and in sport.

Components of a Sports Conditioning Program include:

Cardiovascular Endurance: The heart’s ability to deliver blood to working muscles; the ability of the muscles to use the blood delivered by the heart.

Strength: The extent to which muscles exert force by contracting against resistance.

Flexibility: The ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle.

Speed: The ability to move efficiently and quickly without wasted movement or effort.

Power: The combination of speed and strength; the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movement (plyometics).

Agility: The ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions.

Balance: The ability to control the body’s position, either stationary (e.g. a trackstand) or while moving (skiing, snowboarding, skating, cornering on a bicycle at speed).

Strength Endurance: A muscle’s ability to perform a maximum contracture time after time (relentless hill climbs).

Coordination: The ability to integrate the above listed components so that effective movements are achieved using the correct combinations of muscles in the correct order.

In addition to resistance exercise; body weight, dumbbells, and cables and bands, stairs, bleachers, stability balls, balance tools, and other resistance tools can be used to create a routine for a specific sport or training cycle, keeping the body challenged and preventing boredom. Agility and plyometric training are often performed in a gym environment as the surface the exercises are performed on is crucial. Suspended wood floors work best but sports conditioning, rubberized floors are great too. The worst surface to perform plyometric or agility drills on is concrete. Balance and coordination are considered functional and a crucial component of training for everyone, not just athletes. Balance and coordination training is just as important for seniors as for an elite snowboarder. Again, a well-rounded conditioning program will include balance and agility drills appropriate for your sport.

Dancers and martial artists have known for years that power originates in the “core” which includes the stabilizing muscles in the abdominal, lower and upper back, and pelvic regions. A well-rounded program for conditioning the core would include classic “prime mover” exercises like crunches, and stabilizing exercises that challenge core stability. Core training is important for endurance athletes in order to prevent fatigue on long training rides, runs or swims. It is much easier to maintain good form when the core is strong.

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