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Your objective should be to analyze the movements involved in performing each event, and break them down into components that can be worked on in the training program.

Physiological requirements of the various events Muscular Endurance Events. For athletes who perform repetitive movements for a prolonged time, i.e., distance runners, the focus should be on muscular endurance. The weight training prescription needs to be light-weight loads of less than 67% of the athlete’s one repetition maximum (1RM). You should have them perform 2–3 sets of each exercise for a minimum of 12 repetitions. Rest periods should be short, no longer than 30 seconds. Events That Require Strength. For your athletes in the shot put, discus and javelin throw, a prime requirement for success is strength. When training for strength, they should use weight equivalent to 85% or more of their 1RM. Each exercise should be performed for 2–6 sets with 1–6 repetitions. You can allow them longer rest periods of 2–5 minutes so that they can continue to use heavy-weight loads throughout the duration of the workout. Events That Require Power. Power is a main component of many track and field events, including the high jump, long jump, triple jump and sprints. Speed is an important component of power; for that reason, it’s important that you don’t have your athlete use maximal weight when performing lifting exercises. The weight should range between 75–90% of 1RM, and be performed explosively for 1–5 repetitions. Rest periods should be 2–5 minutes so that each set can be performed explosively. Events That Require Muscle Hypertrophy. Throwers can also benefit from muscle hypertrophy. Their training should rely on volumes of 65–85% of 1RM for 6–12 repetitions. Generally rest periods should be between 30 seconds to 11⁄2 minutes. Exercise Order. Exercise order is another key component of a successful resistance training program. In most cases, you’ll want your athletes to begin with power and multi-joint movement exercises first, proceed to other core movements, and finish with the remaining single-joint movements. Another simple approach to designing a program is arranging exercises from larger to smaller muscle groups.

Photos by: Yohei Kamiya, PhotoRun.NET

Training Frequency and Duration. The number of sessions you have each athlete perform each week is important. While it’s common that at least 48 hours be provided between training the same muscle group, there are many other factors you should note when designing your training program. Elements to consider include the athlete’s level of fitness, the type of exercises performed, if the athlete is currently in or out of their sports season and if the athlete is involved with any other training activities. In general, you should design strength training sessions to take no longer than 60 minutes to complete. Longer sessions may become ineffectual due to the reduction of athlete mental attentiveness, exercise form and intensity. Recovery. For sufficient recovery time, beginner athletes may require fewer training sessions per week when compared to advanced athletes. Likewise, if advanced athletes are performing several other modes of training simultaneously, they, too, will need to reduce their strength training to ensure proper recovery. It’s imperative that you ensure each athlete understands proper sleep patterns, nutrition, and stretching to enhance recovery quality.

Conclusion While the basics of resistance training may seem elementary, it’s imperative that program design begin with fundamental training principles for each event. Likewise, each athlete must be individually assessed for his or her own needs. By doing so, proper development and optimal performance will be created. Future articles will focus on proper strength training for the high school athlete, strength training for sprinters, as well as proper pre-season strength training protocols.

Chase Kough (pronounced “Coe”), a summa cum laude graduate of Oral Roberts University in health and exercise science, is an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and has been Tyson Gay’s strength coach for the past three years.

Coaching Athletics Quarterly - Spring 2010

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