Fall Sports Strength Training Pt2

Any strength training program involves employing basic exercises with a heavy enough resistance to limit the amount of repetitions performed. The basic exercises are the most effective because they rely on a number of major muscle groups pulling or pushing together to execute the movement. When these major muscle groups work in conjunction with each other, more power can be generated and greater strength developed.

We're going to try and limit the number of repetitions per set to between 8 and 3 for most exercises. By the time you get to that last rep on the last set, you should be straining to complete it. This heavy resistance helps develop tendons and ligaments which, worked consistently over the weeks and months, can translate into increased strength and power on the field of play.

Last month, we tackled the beginner's program. By now, you may be ready to challenge yourself with the intermediate level strength training program. It'll move your workout up a notch or two, and incorporates more volume (reps x sets = volume) for each major muscle group. Because of this extra work, you won't be able to train your whole body in a single session at the gym.

There are a couple of ways you can split your training so that all your muscles get enough time to recover from each challenging workout. Some athletes choose to do pulling exercises one day, and pushing movements the next. In between you might undertake some cardio work or skills drills.

We're going to take a different path and divide the workouts between upper body exercises and movements for strengthening lower body muscles. Since chest, shoulder and arm muscles all work together, it makes sense to train them all in one workout. This helps reduce the chance of overtraining because you'll be directly and indirectly working all three groups in each exercise. The extra forearm work with help you develop grip strength, which is as important during athletic contests as it is for performing barbell and dumbbell exercises.

The exception to this upper/lower body rule will be on leg day (Workout 2, in this example). Since leg day exercises typically involve lower back muscles, training both of these muscle groups in the same workout is an effective strategy for strength and power development. Workout 2 begins with the core muscles and abdominal training, followed by the legs, the back and the lower back.

The strategy for each exercise is to begin with a moderately heavy weight at a higher number of reps to warm up your muscles and tendons for the heavier load to come. For the following sets, use increasingly heavier resistance for fewer and fewer reps. This technique is designed to lead to failure. Not failure in the sense that the training won't work. You'll feel it working alright. 'Failure' in this case describes your inability to lift another pound after the exercise is completed.

The best way to utilize this workout program is to train a total of 3 days each week. Do the workouts on non-consecutive days such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Or you can schedule Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday dates with the plates. The day-off staging helps assure that your aching muscles get plenty of time to rebuild. When training for strength and power, it's very important that you fully recuperate.

To kick start the recovery process, mix up a shake of quickly digesting whey protein and consume it within 30 minutes of competing your workout. A couple of hours later, you'll want to sit down to a whole foods meal that also provides protein in the form of lean meat, cottage cheese or whatever your favorite source might be. Then, just before going to bed, treat yourself to a thick, creamy slowly digesting casein protein shake. Since the majority of muscle recovery takes place while you're asleep, the steady flow of amino acids can go a long way toward completing the work you started in the gym. Check out our protein timing article for more suggestions.
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