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erformance ournal


Issue 9.1 Jan / Feb 10

raining Conditioning Fundamentals Features Warm-Ups Under the Microscope Richard Scrivener, MSc, CSCS In-Season Training for the High School Athlete Allen Hedrick, MA, CSCS,*D, FNSCA

about this


NSCA’s Performance Training Journal is a publication of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Articles can be accessed online at www.nsca-lift. org/perform. All material in this publication is copyrighted by NSCA. Permission is granted for free redistribution of each issue or article in its entirety. Reprinted articles or articles redistributed online should be accompanied by the following credit line: “This article originally appeared in NSCA’s Performance Training Journal, a publication of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. For a free subscription to the journal, browse to” Permission to reprint or redistribute altered or excerpted material will be granted on a case by case basis; all requests must be made in writing to the editorial office. NSCA Mission As the worldwide authority on strength and conditioning, we support and disseminate research–based knowledge and its practical application, to improve athletic performance and fitness. Talk to us… Share your questions and comments. We want to hear from you. Write to NSCA’s Performance Training Journal Editor, NSCA, 1885 Bob Johnson Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906, or send email to The views stated in the NSCA’s Performance Training Journal are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the NSCA.



erformance ournal



Editorial Office

Editorial Review Panel

1885 Bob Johnson Drive Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906 Phone: +1 719-632-6722

Scott Cheatham DPT, OCS, ATC, CSCS, NSCA-CPT

Editor Keith Cinea, MA, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D email:

Jay Dawes, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, FNSCA Greg Frounfelter, DPT, ATC, CSCS Meredith Hale-Griffin, MS, CSCS

Sponsorship Information Richard Irwin email:

Michael Hartman, PhD, CSCS Mark S. Kovacs, MEd, CSCS David Pollitt, CSCS,*D Matthew Rhea, PhD, CSCS David Sandler, MS, CSCS,*D Brian K. Schilling, PhD, CSCS Mark Stephenson, ATC, CSCS,*D David J Szymanski, PhD, CSCS Chad D. Touchberry, MS, CSCS Randall Walton, CSCS Joseph M. Warpeha, MA, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1



table of

conditioning fundamentals


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope Richard Scrivener, MSc, CSCS


In-Season Training for the High School Athlete

This feature article explores the impor-

Allen Hedrick, MA, CSCS,*D, FNSCA

tance of warm ups prior to beginning a

Take an in-depth look at in-season training

workout session. The article also offers

for high school athletes. This article dis-

advice on how to structure a warm-up

cusses injury prevention, training guide-

based upon a specific workout and offers

lines, and provides a sample program for

descriptions for exercises that may be

the year-round high school athlete.

used to properly prepare muscles for highlevels of physical exertion.



The effects of beta-alanine when coupled

Ounce Of Prevention Achieveing Aerobic Fitness in Untrained Individuals

with a high-intensity interval training plans

Jason Brumitt, MSPT, SCS,

are discussed. Research that exam-


ines the effects and potential benefit of

Aerobic exercise is defined and explained

combining resistance training with sprint

in this article, which offers advice and

training is presented as well as the effects

training goals to help individuals achieve

of altitude training on endurance and

improvements in cardiovascular fitness.





FitnessFrontlines G. Gregory Haff, PhD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA

In the Gym The Push-Up: The Ultimate Foundational Movement


Mind Games The Less Obvious Factor Suzie Tuffey-Riewald, PhD, NSCA-CPT This article dives into the aspect of mental

Kyle Brown, CSCS

stress and its effect on athletic perfor-

Push-ups are a part of most athletes’

mance. Mental characteristics are offered

workout regimen. This article delves into

to help enhance an athlete’s performance

the basics of a push-up and offers sug-

and identify skills that better develop the

gestions to improve the results an athlete

skills needed to succeed at a high level of

receives from performing the exercise.


Training Table Acai Berry: Indispensable or Superfl ous? Debra Wein, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, NSCA-CPT,*D This article explores the effect Acai berry has on athletic performance and debunks the myths associated with the use of this antioxidant supplement.

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


fi tness frontlines about the AUTHOR

G. Gregory Haff, PhD, CSCS, FNSCA

Including Beta-Alanine Supplementation with a HighIntensity Interval Training Plan Magnifies Training Adaptations.

Should Sprint Training Bouts be Isolated from Resistance Training Sessions in order to Maximize Resistance Training Induced Adaptations?

Exercise Physiology at

High-intensity interval training is a popular training in-

When preparing athletes for competition, it is likely that

the Medical School at

tervention which has been shown to increase maximal

a combination of training methods will be employed,

West Virginia University

aerobic power and improve high intensity exercise per-

especially with team sports such as football, basketball,

in Morgantown, WV.

formance. Additionally, this method of training has been

and soccer. The combination of training methods has

He is a member of

reported to also improve body composition, muscle buff-

been defined as concurrent training. Concurrent training

the National Strength

ering capacity, and improve fat oxidation. Recently beta-

methods such as combining endurance training and re-

and Conditioning

alanine supplementation has been shown to improve per-

sistance training in close proximity does not optimize the

Association’s Board

formance, through a delaying of fatigue. Theoretically, the

training outcomes of either modality. Very little research

of Directors. He

combination of a beta-alanine supplementation regime

has examined the molecular responses to combinations

is a Fellow of the

coupled with a high-intensity interval training plan may

of resistance and sprint training. Since the combination of

National Strength

result in significantly greater physiological adaptations.

sprint and resistance training is generally considered to be

and Conditioning

In order to test this possibility researchers from the Uni-

an integral part of the training process, it can be argued

Association. Dr.

versity of Oklahoma examined the effects of beta-alanine

that it is important to understand the molecular responses

Haff received the

supplementation and high-intensity interval training

stimulated by this type of training. Recently, researchers

National Strength

across 42 days. A total of thirty-six subjects were divided

from Australia examined the effects of combining resis-

and Conditioning

into either a placebo or treatment group. The treatment

tance training and sprint training in order to determine

Association’s Young

group consumed 1.5g of beta-alanine plus 15g of dex-

the compatibility of these types of training. Two training

Investigator Award

trose powder, while the placebo group consumed 16.5g

interventions were employed. The first consisted of a re-

in 2001.

of dextrose powder four times per day for the first 21 days.

sistance training bout consisting of eight sets of five rep-

After the first 21 days, the subjects consumed the treat-

etitions at 80% of 1-repetition maximum (1-RM), followed

ment or placebo only two times per day. Both groups

by 10 sets of 6-second sprint intervals performed at 0.75

participated in a high-intensity interval training program

N/m torque/kg on a cycle ergometer. The second training

three days per week which consisted of 5 – 6 bouts of

intervention required the subjects to perform the sprint

high-intensity cycling undertaken at a 2:1 work to rest ra-

intervals prior to the resistance training bout. Muscle bi-

tio. After the completion of the study, it was determined

opsies were taken at rest, 15 minutes after each bout of

that after three weeks of supplementation there were

exercise, and three hours after the completion of exercise

significant improvements in maximal aerobic power, time

to determine the cell signaling and mRNA response. The

to exhaustion, and total work accomplished in both the

results of the study suggested that repeated sprint train-

treatment and placebo groups. After the second 3-week

ing results in acute interference of markers of adaptation

period, only the beta-alanine group expressed significant

typically seen with resistance training. Specifically, sprint

improvements in aerobic power, time to exhaustion, and

training can stimulate acute suppression of the molecular

lean body mass. These results appear to suggest that the

processes associated with the maintenance of synthesis

inclusion of beta-alanine with a high-intensity interval

of muscle mass. Additionally, it was noted that these ef-

training plan results in greater training adaptations.

fects were magnified by sprint training-induced markers

G. Gregory Haff is an assistant professor in the Division of

of inflammation, regardless of the order of training bouts. Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR,

Regardless of the training intervention order, it appears

Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer TJ, and

that the sprint training bout exerts the overriding exercise

Stout JR. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and

induced adaptive response. Therefore, it was recommend-

high-intensity interval training on endurance performance

ed that when designing the periodized training plan, it is

and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 6:5. 2009.

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


fi tness frontlines important to separate bouts of sprint and resistance training in order to maximize the training adaptations of both modalities.

Strength Training to Failure Does not Maximize Performance Gains When working with combined training methods the potential for inter-

Coffey VG, Jemiolo B, Edge J, Garnham AP, Trappe SW, and Hawley JA. Ef-

ference between the training interventions can create a programming

fect of consecutive repeated sprint and resistance exercise bouts on acute

problem for both the coach and athlete. It is likely that the residual fa-

adaptive responses in human skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Regul Integr

tigue developed by one training intervention can result in a reduction in

Comp Physiol 297:R1,441 – 1,451. 2009.

the adaptive response to other training activities depending upon when and how they are employed. Recently, researchers from Spain examined

Does a Combination of Simulated Altitude Training and Actual Altitude Exposure Result in Improvements in Endurance Performance?

the effects of a periodized combined resistance and endurance training

The concept of living at high altitude and training at lower altitudes has

were placed into a four exercise not training to failure (4ENTF) program

been recommended by many coaches and sports scientists. Few studies

which also includes the bench press, seated cable row, lat pull down, and

have examined the effects of regular training, simulated altitude exposure,

power clean. Six rowers performed a two exercise not to failure (2ENTF)

and real altitude training on endurance performance. Recently, research-

program with the bench press and seated cable row. Eight rowers were

ers from Australia examined the effects of an extended live-high, train-low

placed in a control group that did no resistance training. All subjects per-

(LHTL) training method. The research simulated altitude exposures com-

formed the endurance training program. Prior to and after eight weeks of

bined with periodic training camps performed at moderate altitude on

training, each subject was assessed for maximal strength, maximal power

middle-distance running performance. Seven elite distance runners were

output during a prone bench press pull, average power output during a

recruited for this study in which they spent 44±7 nights for a total of 392

20-minute all-out rowing test, and 10 maximal stroke power output. The

± 67hr at a simulated altitude of 2,846 ± 32m. This protocol required them

group that performed 4ENTF experienced the greatest gains in mus-

to spend five nights a week, or nine hours a night, in a normobaric hypoxic

cular strength (+4.6%), power output (+6.4%) in the bench press when

chamber with nitrogen enrichment and two nights per week at ambient

compared to the 4ETF (strength = +2.1%, power = -1.2%) and the 2ENTF

altitude (600m). During this time period, all training was performed at nor-

(strength = +0.06%; power = -0.06%). Both the 2ENTF and 4ENTF groups

moxia (600m). Training consisted of 10 – 14 running sessions and 2 – 3 gym

resulted in significant increases in the 10 stroke maximal power output

sessions per week. Additionally, the runners participated in four 7 – 10 day

(+3.6% and +5%) and 20-minute all-out row test power output (+7.6% and

training camps at moderate altitude (1,700 – 2,200m). During these camps,

+9%) when compared to the 4ETF training intervention. Based upon these

interval training sessions were performed three times per week at an alti-

results, it is recommended that performing resistance training to failure

tude of 1,000m. Races were monitored over three months, with specific

when combined with other training modalities will result in a reduction in

races completed 5 – 14 days after each training camp. There was a 1.9% in-

performance gains. Therefore, when designing a periodized training plan,

crease in performance after the combination of the altitude interventions

sets to failure should be avoided in favor of performing resistance training

as compared to pre-testing values. Based upon these results, the research-

not to failure. 

program on rowing performance. Specifically, 43 trained rowers participated in eight weeks of training in which 14 rowers were placed into a four exercise training to failure (4ETF) intervention which includes the bench press, seated cable row, lat pull down, and power clean. Fifteen rowers

ers suggested middle-distance runners can use a combination of simulated and natural altitude exposure to stimulate performance enhancements.

Izquierdo-Gabarren M, Gonzalez De Txabarri Exposito R, Garcia-Pallares J, Sanchez-Medina L, Saez De Villarreal E S, and Izquierdo M. Concurrent en-

Saunders PU, Telford RD, Pyne DD, Gore CJ, and Hahn AG. Improved

durance and strength training not to failure optimizes performance gains.

race performance in elite middle-distance runners after cumulative altitude

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Published Ahead of Print).

exposure. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 4:134 – 138. 2009.

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


in the gym about the AUTHOR Kyle Brown is a health and fitness expert whose portfolio includes everything

Kyle Brown, CSCS

The Push-Up: The Ultimate Foundational Movement

from leading

Probably the most universal fitness movement, regardless

The major caveat when performing a push-up of any kind

workshops for Fortune

of one’s sport, goals, or gender, is the push-up. The term

is to ensure you are not endangering your lower back or

500 companies and

push-up has actually been used since 1905 (1). Push-ups

your shoulders. Ensure you maintain a solid core when

publishing nutrition

have been used for building muscle, all-around fitness,

performing any type of push-up as well as monitor your

articles in top-ranked

upper-body fitness testing, as a measure of strength, and

range of motion at your shoulder joint as to not put too

fitness journals, to

as a means of punishment. Most people think that a push-

much force on or impinge your shoulder. A good rule of

training celebrity

up is solely a chest movement. Yet, while the chest is al-

thumb is to not go any deeper than 90 degrees at your

clientele—from pro

ways the primary mover, a push-up can be modified in a

elbow. This means if you have shorter arms your chest will

athletes to CEOs

variety of ways to achieve total body fitness.

end up closer to the floor and vice versa.

recording artists. Kyle’s

The definition of the term push-up is “an exercise in which

Below is a sample conditioning push-up workout that is

unique approach to

a person, keeping a prone position with the hands palms

far from the traditional push-up. 

health and fitness

down under the shoulders, the balls of the feet on the

emphasizes nutrition

ground, and the back straight, pushes the body up and

and supplementation

lets it down by an alternate straightening and bending

as the foundation for

of the arms (1). Yet that is only the foundation of a push-

1. Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House

optimal wellness. After

up. A push-up is the most versatile movement in the gym

(2006). “Push-up”. Retrieved July 6, 2007.

playing water polo

and can be modified by changing the pace, hand position,

for Indiana University,

lower body involvement, and more.

to multiplatinum


as well as in London, Kyle became involved in bodybuilding and fitness for sportspecific training. Kyle is the creator and Chief Operating Officer for

Table 1. Movement


Push-Up Into T


Into Push-Up Into Tuck

FIT 365—Complete

Sets 2



20 push-ups,

1. Lower your body into a push-up. 2. As you press

(You can

5 Ts each

up from the floor, lean your bodyweight onto your

scale up

side, tucks

left hand and bring your right hand up from floor into

the intensity

each side

T-Position. Your body should be lined from hand to

Nutritional Shake

by using

shoulder to the ground. 3. Return back to push-up



position and repeat on the right side. 4. Complete another push-up and tuck your left knee ino your chest and back into push-up position. 5. Repeat with your right knee then continue into the next repetition.

Bosu Push-Up

Bosu Ball



1. Complete a push-up while holding a Bosu Ball (ball

into Burpee

side down). 2. Jump your feet forward and press the

into Bosu

Bosu Ball overhead. 3. Drop the Bosu down to the

Shoulder Press

floor (ball side down) and jump your feet backwards into push-up position.

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


in the gym

The Push-Up: The Ultimate Foundational Movement

Table 1. (continued) Movement Resistance

Weight Bodyweight

Sets 2

Reps 15

Notes 1. Line up in push-up position but with your top of the ball between your ankles and

Ball Push-Up

thighs. (The further down your legs are on the ball the mor difficult the movement).

Into Pike

2. Drop down into the push-up and as you press up, flex your hips as you lift into an inverted angle. 3. Extend your hips as you drop back down into the next push-up repetition.

Speed Spiderman



Maximum in

1. Line up in the push-up position. 2. As you lower your body, bring your right knee up

30 seconds

outside your body up to your right elbow. 3. Repeat with your left knee.


nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1



conditioning fundamentals

Warm-Ups Under the Microscope Richard Scrivener, MSc, CSCS

about the AUTHOR

The humble warm-up is an essential component of any

Warm-up stage 1: Mobilization

exercise regime, whether it is a 20-minute light workout

Duration 1 –5 minutes

or a more intense session lasting three hours. However, do

Imagine you’ve been at work all day and have just left,

we really know how to optimally prepare our bodies for

hopped into your car and driven to the gym or park. You

exercise? This article attempts to answer that very ques-

plan to do some weight training and running. Upon ar-

he works as a Health,

tion. By investing some time in preparing the body and

riving at the gym, how do you feel? I would expect the

Fitness and Nutrition

mind for what is to come, you’ll gain the tools to maximize

answer would be stiff, sluggish and a little tight. My next

Lecturer for Premier

your performance and of course your training outcomes.

question is do you feel it appropriate to jump straight

Richard Scrivener currently resides in London, UK, where

onto the treadmill or rowing machine to begin warming

Training International. Richard has

During my time as a health and fitness professional, work-

up? I would argue no. Jogging immediately, for example,

previously worked as

ing with a variety of individuals from elite-level world

would require you to “open up” at various joints across

a Premiership Rugby

cup winning athletes to sedentary out-of-shape folk, the

the body causing muscles to stretch and contract. Joints

Union Strength and

workouts each and every one of them have completed all

would begin to absorb forces as you land and impact

Conditioning Coach

began with the same approach—the warm-up. Of course,

upon the running machine or ground, somewhere in the

they would not all be expected to prepare for physical

region of 2 – 3 times the runner’s body weight (7). This

activity in the same way so I follow the rule of SAID (Spe-

is quite a lot of stress for the body to contend with. My

cific Adaptations to Imposed Demands). In a nutshell, this

solution to this would be to have my clients and athletes

means I have tailored all of my client’s warm-ups to be

“warm up for the warm-up.” By this I mean, mobilization,

High Performance

specific to a) their level of conditioning and fitness, and

which is the measure of combating that previously noted

Physiology and Human

b) the main workout they will complete. So in this respect,

joint stiffness and muscle tightness. Mobilization exercis-


you want to plan the warm-up after planning your main

es would consist of gently and progressively moving each

session because how can you prepare, if you don’t know

major joint in the body through their available range of

what you’re preparing for?

movement, as shown in Table 2.

An important first question to address is of course the

Completing each of these for a mere 5 – 10 seconds per

purpose of the warm-up. This can be answered from two

movement will serve to gently increase the temperature

perspectives: physiologically (changes inside the body)

of all the soft tissues in the body such as muscles, ten-

and psychologically (thought processes). As we explore

dons, ligaments and fascia (9). Furthermore, you begin

how to build the optimal warm-up below, we’ll see how

to improve your proprioception, a term used to describe

the physiological and psychological preparation unfolds.

joint position and awareness (2). If you are going to be

Some thought should precede the main body of your

lifting weights, competing in a particular sport or simply

workout (which energy systems to challenge, what ex-

taking a gentle jog, knowing how to control your body

ercises to include, how many sets and reps to use etc.),

movements and being able to react to any disturbances

the warm-up too, should be structured and considered. It

to balance is critical for optimal performance and reduc-

needn’t take up too much of your total workout time (see

ing the risk of injury (7).

and holds the NSCA’s CSCS credential. He previously studied at Brunel University gaining an MSc in

Table 1), and of course each warm-up will vary in its content and exact timings depending on the main session to follow. By following the proposed warm-up structure below, you will optimally prepare your body and mind and allow for a great workout to be achieved.

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope Warm-Up Stage 2: Pulse-Raise

eter of the blood vessels (vasodilation) carrying

the tension in hypertonic or overactive muscles

oxygen rich blood and also speeds the rate at

that might otherwise impair performance.

Duration 3 – 10 minutes

which the brain instructs muscles to work (ner-

You are now ready to move on to what most

vous impulses). This allows your movements to

Rhythmical or active movements that take all of

people would probably consider a traditional

be more precise, particularly important if you

the major joints through a full range of move-

warm-up. This involves attempting to switch on

have a very dynamic main session planned (6).

ment are initiated by the nervous system. This

your body’s physiological and energy producing

During the pulse-raise you should also have time

approach will actually assist with the “rehearsal

systems, and it makes sense to do this before

to tune your thoughts in to the main session,

effect” of the various movements to come; in-

you begin your main session rather than at the

so you can begin to mentally rehearse some of

deed, some experts suggest activating the ner-

beginning. To achieve intensity conducive to an

the anticipated movements, or consider how it

vous system is the most important part of the

appropriate pulse raise, you could monitor your

would feel to achieve any goals you have set for

warm-up (5). For example, the combination

heart rate, however an additional tool named the

yourself in this workout.

stretch shown below called a “squat and swing” will prepare you for all squat-type movements

RPE scale (Rating of Perceived Exertion) serves as

and all exercises where the arms are in an over-

here is to speak to the person next to you. If you

Warm-Up Stage 3: Dynamic Stretch and Movement-Based Flexibility

can just about hold a conversation then you’re

Duration 2 – 10 minutes

store and use as required, known as “generalized

probably working at the correct level of exertion

The purpose of this stage of your warm-up is

motor programs,” (11). Again, just like a com-

for your pulse-raise.

to actively stretch your muscles and take them

puter, when you first open a program, it takes a

to the lengths they will experience in the main

few seconds to download your document. After

A slight caveat with this part of your warm-up

session. The emphasis here is on “active” or “dy-

you have done this once and the main program

relates to the earlier discussion of specificity. If

namic” stretching where you are continuously

is open, subsequent documents can be opened

your main workout is going to be a high inten-

moving. Commonly you see many individuals

more quickly. The same applies with our move-

sity/anaerobic-based session, you should finish

holding various stretch poses for several sec-

ments. Having downloaded the primary move-

the pulse-raise at an intensity that just about

onds, known as “static” stretching. Current think-

ment patterns available to us we can more ef-

matches the intended intensity of your main

ing now suggests this may not be as appropriate

fectively utilize these once the main session is

session. For example, it would not make sense

in preparing for exercise as once thought, and

under way. Therefore, try including the dynamic

to take a gentle stroll and then move onto re-

although many health and fitness authorities

stretch moves from Table 5 in your next training

peated sprint exercises; the body would not be

still promote static stretching as part of a warm-

session to download all of the movement pat-

adequately prepared for this. Table 4 provides

up, you may actually be harming your potential

terns you require. Complete 5 – 10 repetitions

some suggestions on suitable pulse raise modal-

for optimal performance in the main session to

of each.

ities, and if you follow Figure 1 when conducting

come (1). Some evidence suggests that static

this part of your warm-up, you won’t go wrong.

stretching prior to athletic performance does

Having the confidence that your body has now

It outlines how you should develop and progress

not reduce the risk of injury either, and may ac-

experienced all the movements it will encounter

your exertion levels.

tually reduce power output and therefore per-

should instil the belief that you can push your-

formance (10, 13). Also, consider the quadriceps

self to perform at the planned intensities with-

In addition to the aforementioned physiological

thigh stretch shown below in Figure 2. Holding

out holding back or risking injury.

benefits, the pulse-raise also serves to increase

numerous stretches like this for several seconds

body temperature and thus the elasticity of the

each will not only use up much of your valuable

soft tissues. This is important for one obvious

workout time, but as you are remaining station-

reason; the prevention of injury. If a muscle and

ary for a prolonged period, all of those desirable

tendon can elongate when subjected to loading,

physiological changes such as increased body

Duration 2 – 10 minutes

it won’t snap, plus it will store and release energy

temperature will begin to subside. However, that

The final phase of your warm-up should con-

back to the exerciser making the workout more

is not to say static stretching does not have a

sist of the same movements to be performed in

energy efficient (4). Increased body temperature

place in our warm-ups, as they can be very useful

your workout, but completed at a slightly lower

serves other functions too; it increases the diam-

within a correctional exercise session to reduce

intensity and velocity. This strategy not only en-

a useful guide and correlates to aerobic exercise intensity (3) (see Table 3). A value of 12 –13 on the RPE scale is deemed an appropriate intensity to aim for. What might help to guide your efforts

head position. To take this concept slightly further, we are effectively “downloading” the correct movements to be used. Just like a computer, we have several patterns of movement that we

Warm-Up Stage 4: Movement Practice

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope sures you have fully downloaded the necessary


9. Safran M, Garrett W, Seaber A, Glisson R,

motor-programs as discussed, but also allows

1. American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s

Ribbeck B. The role of warm-up in muscular

your nervous system to coordinate all of the

guidelines for exercise testing and prescription.

injury prevention. The American Journal of Sports

muscles that will work in a given exercise (syn-

(6th ed.). Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams &

Medicine. 16(2):123 – 129. 1988.

chronisation). Smooth and coordinated move-

Wilkins. 2000. 10. Samuel M, Holcomb W, Guadagnoli M,

ments rely upon the correct muscles working at the correct times, in the correct sequence and

2. Baechle TR, and Earle RW. Essentials of

Rubley M, and Wallmann H. Acute effects of

with the correct amount of force and velocity.

strength training and conditioning (2nd ed.).

static and ballistic stretching on measures of

If it has not become clear already, our bodies

Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics. 2000.

strength and power. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 22(5):1,422 – 1,428.

move in many directions or “planes of movement.” Therefore, we need to be prepared for

3. Chen M, Fan X, and Moe S. Criterion-related

this. For example, if you plan to perform the ex-

validity of the Borg ratings of perceived exertion

ercises shown in Table 6, within your workout,

scale in healthy individuals: a meta-analysis.

11. Schmidt R, and Lee, D. Motor Control and

you should actually warm up by completing 5 –

Journal of Sport Sciences. 20(11):873 – 899.

Learning: a Behavioral Emphasis. (4th ed.).

10 repetitions of each movement as shown. This


Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics. 1999.

focusing your attention on the exercise to come

4. Fletcher I, and Jones B. The effect of different

12. Sweet S, and Hagerman P. Warm-up or no

and allowing rehearsal of the desired technique

warm-up stretch protocols on 20 meter sprint

warm-up. Strength and Conditioning Journal.

(12). These could be performed in a circuit at the

performance in trained rugby union players.

23(6):36. 2001.

beginning of the main session or before each

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

particular exercise. When it comes to adding any

18(4):885 – 888. 2004.


will confer a further psychological advantage in

13. Thacker S, Gilchrist J, Stroup D, and Kimsey JR C. The impact of stretching on sports injury

additional weights or performing these exercises at speed, you will have improved levels of

5. Gambetta V. Athletic development-the art

risk: A systematic review of the literature.

muscular control, balance and force production.

and science of functional sports conditioning.

Medicine in Science and Sports and Exercise.

With this is mind, you’ll be assured that you have

Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics. 2007.

36(3):371 – 378. 2004.

given yourself every opportunity to perform at your best, whether you are a competitive athlete

6. Hedrick A. Physiological responses to warm-

or a new gym member.

up. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 14(5):25 – 27.

So there you have it, your guide to the optimal warm-up. Use this step-by-step plan in prepara-

7. Myer G, Ford K, and Hewett T. Rationale and

tion for all of your workouts. Adjust it as you feel

clinical techniques for anterior cruciate ligament

suitable. For example, if you are short on time,

injury prevention among female athletes. Journal

decrease the number of repetitions you per-

of Athletic Training. 39(4):352 – 364. 2004.

form in your mobility and dynamic stretching or drop one or two of the preparatory movements.

8. Nilsson J, and Thorstensson A. Ground

Once you get confident with this structure, be

reaction forces at different speeds of human

inventive and come up with your own mobility

walking and running. Acta Physiologica

exercises and dynamic stretches. By having an

Scandinavica. 136(2):217 – 27. 1989.

appreciation that if the body can move there, it can be trained there too, optimizing your preparation to match the specificity of these movements should be encouraged. Sometimes the moves presented may raise a few eyebrows, but be confident in the fact that what you are doing has all the physiological and psychological benefits discussed. 

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope Table 1. Structuring your workout. The center column suggests an appropriate length of time to dedicate to each component based upon a regular 1-hour session. The far right column makes a suggestion for the amount of time that could be spent on each component which would account for a very short session of 20 minutes up to a longer session of 3 hours. Workout Component

Time Dedicated

Potential Time Dedicated


10 min.

4 – 30 min.

Main Session

40 min.

12 – 120 min.

Cool Down

10 min.

4 –30 min.

Table 2. Mobilization Exercises (Top Down Approach) Mobility Exercise

Demo See figures 1 a and 1 b

• Neck: a. lateral flexion b. rotation, left and right

• Shoulder rolls:

Move shoulders in a circular shrug motion with arms relaxed by sides

Forwards Backwards

• Arm Curls:

Swing arms lightly by sides making an exaggerated bicep curl-like movement

• Wrist Circles:

With arms held out in front, make circular movments

Forwards Backwards

• Alternating Arm Swings

See figure 2

• Chest Hugs

Stand tall and wrap arms around body with a hugging motion. Reverse and lightly swing arms out and away from the body Keeping the arms straight, make circular movements coming close to the side of the head

• Arm Circles Forwards Backwards

• Spine Rotations / Tai Chi Slaps

See figure 3

• Groin Circles:

Stand tall and lift knee towards chest whilst moving the leg away or towards the body in a

In – Out

circular movement

Out – In

• Knee Raises

See figures 4a and 4b

a. up and down b. cross body

• Heel Kicks

Lift the heel of one leg towards the buttock on the same side, alternating legs

• Ankle Drives

Position one foot forward slightly of the other keeping the involved side on the ground. Gently flex the knee whilst pushing it foward on the toes. Move the knee back to the start position and repeat continuously

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope Table 3. 15-point RPE Scale Associated Value

Approximate Effort Given

Associated Likely Feelings



Complete Rest



Very, very light









Very light, easy to sustain

Fairly light, reasonably comfortable, breathing slightly deeper and quicker





Somewhat hard, steady pace, sweating, difficult to talk continuously





Hard, rapid breathing, very warm, profuse sweating





Very hard, pounding heart rate, deep fast breathing





Very, very, hard, struggling to keep going, every muscle is screaming



Table 4. Appropriate Pulse-Raise Modalities Gym Equipment Pulse-Raise Options

Bodyweight Only Pulse-Raise Options


In-place jogging

Stationary Cycle


X-Trainer / Elliptical Trainer



In-place medley: star jumps – spotty dogs – squat thrusts – high knees jogging – stair climbers


nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope Table 5. Suggested dynamic stretches appropriate to any training session and muscles involved Demo

Dynamic Stretch Muscles Targeted • Open arms (varied angles)

Stand tall and swing the arms open away from the body, changing the angle of the

Pectorals / anterior deltoids / biceps

direction of movement randomly

• Alternating arm swings + reach

See figure 6

Latissimus dorsi / triceps

• Long arm rotations + pivot

Stretch arms out horizontally and begin to rotate the torso side-to-side builidng up

All spinal / core muscles

momentum. Be sure to pivot on both feet in the direction of the swinging arms

• Posterior step and reach

See figure 7

Hip flexors / abdominals

• Squat and swing

Perform a body weight squat movement whilst swinging the arms backwards. As you

Quadriceps / hamstrings / glutes /

stand tall, allow the arms to swing upwards, in front of you, and to the side of the head.

latissimus dorsi

• Lose leg swings

Stand tall and lift one foot off the ground. Keeping the leg relatively straight, swing the leg

Quadriceps / hip flexors / hamstrings

forwards in front of the body and backwards behind the body keeping the pelvis steady

• Lateral lunge and rotate

See figure 8

Adductors / core muscles

• Step and reach

Take a step forward off the lead leg, keeping it relatively straight, treach down with both

Hamstrings / glutes / back muscles

arms towards the lead foot. Maintain a neutral/flat back position with the eyes looking downwards, then step back and stand tall See figure 9

• Split feet woodchop Core muscles / latissimus dorsi / triceps

Table 6. Suggested preparation movements with sample main workout exercises in mind Main Workout Exercises

Warm-Up Movement Preparation

• Kettlebell front squat – 3 x 15 reps

See figures 10a and 10b

• Shoulder press and rotate – 3 x 12 / 12 reps

See figures 11a and 11b

• Split-stance single-arm row – 3 x 12 / 12 reps

See figures 12a and 12b

• Transverse plane lunge – 3 x 12 / 12

See figures 13a and 13b

• Cable push with rotate – 2 x 12 / 12

See figures 14a and 14b

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope

Figure 1a. Lateral Flexion

Figure 1b. Rotation left and right

Figure 2. Alternating arm swings

Figure 3. Spine rotations / Tai Chi slaps

Figure 4a. Knee Raises: Up and Down

Figure 4b. Knee Raises: Cross Body

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope

Figure 5. The static standing quadricep stretch

Figure 6. Alternating arm swings and reach

Figure 7. Posterior step and reach

Figure 8. Lateral lunge and rotate

Figure 9. Split feet woodchop

Figure 10a. Kettlebell front squat prep

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Micrscope

Figure 10b. Kettlebell front squat exercise

Figure 11a. Shoulder press and rotate prep

Figure 11b. Shoulder press and rotate exercise

Figure 12a. Split-stance single-arm row prep

Figure 12b. Split-stance single-arm row exercise

Figure 13a. Transverse plane lunge prep

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


Warm-Ups Under the Microscope

Figure 13b. Transverse plane lunge exercise

Figure 14a. Cable push with rotate prep

Figure 14b. Cable push with rotate exercise

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1



conditioning fundamentals

In-Season Training for the High School Athlete Allen Hedrick, MA, CSCS,*D, FNSCA

about the AUTHOR

In-season training is important for most, if not all, athletes

It is important to note that there is an increased risk of

at all levels. However, this is especially true for high school

injury to adolescents who use exercise equipment at

athletes because most high school athletes participate in

home. Adolescents are more likely to be injured using

multiple sports. As a result, many high school athletes are

home exercise equipment than older age groups because

considered in in-season for a majority of the school year.

of unsafe behavior, equipment malfunction, and lack of

Conditioning Coach

In this situation, if in-season training is not performed,

supervision (1).

at Colorado State

the only time left for strength training is the off-season or

University – Pueblo

when school is out.

in September, 2009.

High School Athletes Can Significantly Increase Strength Levels

Increased Injury Rate in Youth Sports

Allen Hedrick was named the first ever Head Strength and

Hedrick is a graduate of California State University – Chico (BA) and California State

The decrease in injuries among athletes who participate in strength training programs is important because the number of youth injured while participating in sports has

There is a significant amount of evidence to indicate

increased (3). At least a part of this increased injury rate

that high school-aged athletes can significantly increase

can be attributed to the fact that many youth are ill pre-

strength levels, beyond what would occur naturally as a

pared or improperly trained to handle the rigors of sports

result of growth and maturation, as long as training is of

participation (1). Gamble is in agreement, suggesting that

sufficient intensity, volume, and duration (1). Indeed, it is

young people are often not physically prepared for the

common to see strength gains of approximately 30% in

demands of youth sports because of sedentary lifestyles

Center in Colorado

youth training programs that last 8 – 20 weeks in duration

(3). Approximately one-third of young athletes who par-

Springs, CO for three

(1). This is important for two reasons. The first reason is

ticipate in organized sports in the United States sustain

years then became the

that multiple studies have shown that resistance training

injuries that require medical attention (3). This is unfortu-

Assistant Strength and

can have a positive effect on athletic performance (1, 4).

nate because sports-related injuries are one reason youth

Conditioning Coach

This positive effect on performance is mainly the result of

athletes elect to stop participating in sports.

at the United States

increases in lean body mass, decreased fat content, im-

Air Force Academy

proved maximal force and power production. The second

before being named

Detraining Defined

benefit of resistance training for athletes is injury preven-

Unfortunately, the physiological adaptations that occur

the Head Strength and

tion. Because of this, in recent years, strength training has

as a result of training are reversible as a result of detrain-

become a part of most high school’s athletic programs (4).

ing. Detraining can be defined as the loss of physiologi-

Safety of Resistance Training Among Adolescents

cal adaptations and athletic performance when training

and Conditioning

Current research from resistance training studies shows

as to what can be expected when training is reduced or

Association as the

a low risk of injury in adolescents who follow appropri-

stopped. Further, as noted by Fleck, an understanding of

Head Strength and

ate training guidelines. Most published reports have not

the detraining process assists the strength and condition-

Conditioning Coach

reported any serious injuries as a result of resistance train-

ing specialists in designing in-season programs that will

and eventually

ing (1). Of course, resistance training carries some risk of

slow or stop the loss of endurance and strength gained in

transitioned into the

injury, however, this risk is no greater than many other

the off-season and preseason conditioning programs (2).

Education Coordinator

sports and recreational activities in which adolescents

position. Hedrick held

participate (1).

University – Fresno (MA). Hedrick worked as a strength and conditioning coach at the United States Olympic Training

Conditioning Coach, a position he held for nine years. Hedrick then moved to the National Strength

is reduced or stopped completely (2, 5). Knowledge of detraining is important because it gives understanding

that position until moving into his current position at CSU – Pueblo.

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


In-Season Training for the High School Athlete The effects of detraining on endurance and

Also important, in addition to training frequency,

Athletes are encouraged to move the weight as

strength occur quite rapidly. For example, en-

is the volume and intensity of training. Volume

fast as possible, even when using heavy loads,

durance athletes show a decrease in sub maxi-

refers to the total amount of work performed,

in order to increase power production because

mal run time to exhaustion by as much as 25%

while intensity refers to the amount of resistance

research demonstrates the value of this training

after only 15 days of inactivity. Within eight

used in an exercise. A common training strategy

method improves power production. Moving

weeks of inactivity, VO2 max returned to the un-

in sports is the reduction in training volume and

the load as fast as possible while maintaining

trained state (2). While decreases in strength, as

a concomitant increase in training intensity prior

exercise technique will allow high load strength

a result of detraining, have been less studied it is

to the competitive phase (7). While both factors

training and enhance power output (4).

recognized that strength will also decrease once

are important, intensity of training is one of the

training is stopped, and this is an important

most important components in a resistance

In terms of exercise selection, the priority is on

consideration when designing and in-season

training program. However, it is critical that ex-

multi-joint movements with a special emphasis

training program (1, 2). Studies have shown that

ercise technique be emphasized over training in-

on Olympic-style lifts. Exercises are varied each

decreases in strength will be demonstrated as

tensity so the athlete first learns how to perform

training day for both physiological and psycho-

quickly as two weeks following detraining, and

the exercise correctly (1).

logical benefits (4). For example, alternating between back squat and front squats recruits

that the higher the training status of the athlete, the quicker the decreases in strength will be

Evidence was gathered for the effectiveness of

different muscle fibers within the leg and hip

demonstrated (2).

maintaining strength in-season when training

extensors and also provides the opportunity to

In-Season Training Guidelines

twice per week when a study was done using col-

avoid the monotony of performing the same

lege football players who were training twice per

exercise repeatedly. An example of an in-season

week for 14 weeks—they showed no decrements

workout for a power athlete is provided below

To this point, it has been established that high

in 1-RM strength. Thus, it appears that train-

(Table 1). 

school-aged athletes can increase strength lev-

ing twice per week is effective at maintaining

els, and that these increases in strength can have

strength in conditioned athletes. To accomplish

a positive effect on performance while reducing

this, the intensity of strength training must be

the opportunity for injury. Further, high school-

maintained when the frequency is reduced (2).

aged athletes can safely participate in resistance training programs, especially if such training oc-

Example Training Program

curs in a professional or educational setting with

Muriasits and Langley suggest implementing an

qualified supervision. As a result, it can be rec-

in-season training program consisting of train-

ommended that high school athletes participate

ing twice per week, with each session being

in in-season resistance training, though as noted

about 45 minutes in duration (4). The primary

by Schneider, there is little information to date

goals of the in-season training program are to

on the detraining process during an ongoing

maintain maximal strength and to continue to

competitive sport season, especially for multi-

convert maximal strength to power and high

component sports such as football (5, 6).

speed force production (4). The authors recommend using a nonlinear periodization model, al-

In terms of resistance training frequency, the

ternating high and low resistance training days

recommendation is 2 – 3 times per week on

because this approach is ideal for maintaining

nonconsecutive days for adolescents (1). Evi-

performance during a long competition period

dence suggests a frequency of one day per

without peaking for a specific contest.

week of resistance training is less than optimal for improving muscular strength in youth. However, training once per week may be effective in maintaining strength, at least for a short period of time. The general recommendation is a training frequency of 2 – 3 times per week on nonconsecutive days because this arrangement will allow for adequate recovery between training sessions (1).

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


In-Season Training for the High School Athlete Table 1. In Season Example of Two Day Per Week In-Season Resistance Training Program Heavy day – 3 sets of 5 at 5RM, 2 minutes rest, unless otherwise noted. Attempt to lift the load as quickly as possible

Speed day – 3 sets of 3 at 3RM unless otherwise noted, 3 minutes rest, attempting to move the load as quickly as possible




Hang power snatch

Back squat

Jump squats@60% 1RM

Dumbbell press crunch 3x10

Medicine ball twisting throw 3x10 (total)

Romanian dead lift 3x8

Good morning 3x8

Bench press

Standing bench press@50% 1RM of bench press

References 1. Faigenbaum AD, Kramer WJ, Blimkie CJR, Jeffreys I, Micheli L, Nitka M, and Rowland TR. Youth resistance training: Updated position statement paper from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. J. of Strength and Cond. Res. 23(S5):S60 – S79. 2009. 2. Fleck SJ. Detraining: Its effects on endurance and strength. Strength and Cond. J. 16(1): 22 – 28. 1994. 3. Gamble P. Approaching physical preparation for youth team-sport players. Strength and Cond. J. 30(1):29 – 42. 2008. 4. Muriasits Z and Langley J. In-season resistance training for high school football. Strength and Cond. J. 24(4):65 – 68. 2002.

Earn 0.5 CEUs

5. Santos EJAM, and Janeria MAAS. Effect of reduced training and detraining on upper and lower body explosive strength in adolescent male basketball players. J of Strength and Cond. Res. 23(6):1,737 – 1,744. 2009. 6. Schneider V, Arnold B, Martin K, Bell D and Croker P. Detraining effects in football players during the competitive season. J. of Strength and

The NSCA offers CEU qualified online quizzes on select Strength and Conditioning Journal articles. Look for the logo above articles in each issue, then go online to test your knowledge and earn NSCA CEUs.

Cond. Res. 12(1):42 – 45. 1998. 7. Terzis G, Strataros G, Manta P, and Georgiadis G. Throwing performance after resistance training and detraining. J of Strength and Cond. Res.

Offered exclusively online at:

22(4)1,198 – 1,204. 2008.

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


training table about the AUTHOR Debra Wein, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, NSCACPT is a recognized

Debra Wein, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, NSCA-CPT,*D

Acai Berry: Indispensable or Superfluous?

expert on health and wellness and

While many, especially within the sports and fitness com-

What does the research say?

has designed award

munity, claim that athletes require antioxidant supple-

In a recent, double-blinded placebo-controlled study of

winning programs

mentation to maximize performance and maintain health,

young men, researchers found that giving the antioxi-

for both individuals

this claim is still controversial.

dants vitamins C and E to individuals with no prior vitamin

and corporations

deficiencies has no effect on physical adaptations to stren-

around the US. She

The argument for antioxidant supplementation in sports

uous endurance training, so antioxidant supplementation

is president and

is that physical activity promotes free radical production,

may be unnecessary in the first place (6).

founder of Wellness

which may cause oxidative damage and other diseases

Workdays, Inc., (www. wellnessworkdays. com) a leading provider of worksite

(5). However, research also indicates that, with training,

Research on acai juice itself is mixed, according to Den-

the body’s antioxidant capacity is enhanced to meet that

mark researchers. In a recent study, antioxidant potency,

increased need (2).

ability to inhibit LDL oxidation, and total polyphenol content were consistent in classifying the antioxidant capacity

wellness programs. In addition, Debra is the

Some of the most recent claims are for Acai berry. Acai

of the polyphenol-rich beverages in the following order:

president and founder

(pronounced a-sigh-EE) comes in a number of forms in-

Pomegranate juice, red wine, Concord grape juice, blue-

of partner company,

cluding juice, pulp, powder, and capsule form. The berry

berry juice, black cherry juice, acai juice, cranberry juice,

Sensible Nutrition, Inc.

has been touted as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and

orange juice, iced tea beverages, apple juice (3). The acai


antibacterial. The fruit is said to contain Omega-3 and

berry fared a lot lower on the spectrum than the websites

com), a consulting firm

Omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential to human health

and promoters would have you believe.

of RD’s and personal


trainers, established in 1994, that provides nutrition and wellness services to individuals. Debra has nearly 20 years of experience working in the

Bottom line: Since antioxidant supplements may not be One website that sells acai claims to help athletes in par-

necessary for athletes in the first place, and the amount

ticular, “acai is not only highly energizing, it provides in-

of actual fruit in the juice may be negligible, it seems that

credible stamina and a host of other health benefits. So, if

the smartest recommendation, to date, is to enhance your

you are an athlete who is looking for that little extra boost

performance and maximize your antioxidant intake by ad-

and a competitive edge, look no further,” (4).

hering to the guidelines from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and choose two cups of fruits and 2½ cups of

health and wellness industry. Her sport

Unfortunately, these claims are far from proven and there

nutrition handouts

is much debate about acai berry and juice. According to

and free weekly email

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), “there’s

newsletter are available

no evidence whatsoever to suggest that acai pills will help

online at www.

shed pounds, flatten tummies, cleanse colon, enhance

sexual desire, or perform any of the other commonly ad-

vegetables daily. 

vertised functions,”(1).

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


training table

Acai Berry: Indispensable or Superfluous?


4. Synflex America Inc. (n.d.). Acai for athletes. Retrieved January 15, 2010,

1. CNNHealth. (n.d.), Group Challenges Acai Berry Weight-Loss Claims,


Retrieved January 10, 2010, acai.berries.scam/index.html

5. Williams SL, Strobel NA, Lexis LA, and Coombes JS. Antioxidant requirements of endurance athletes: Implications for health. Nutrition Reviews,

2. Dunford M. Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals, Fourth

64(3): 93 – 108. 2006

Edition. Chicago: The American Dietetic Association. 2006.

6. Yfanti C, Akerström T, Nielsen S, Nielsen AR, Mounier R, Mortensen OH, 3. Seeram NP, Aviram M, Zhang Y, Henning SM, Feng L, Dreher M, Heber

Lykkesfeldt J, Rose AJ, Fischer CP, and Pedersen BK. Antioxidant supple-

D. Comparison of antioxidant potency of commonly consumed polyphenol-

mentation does not alter endurance training adaptation. Med Sci Sports

rich beverages in the United States. J Agric Food Chem, 56(4):1,415 –

Exerc. [Epub ahead of print]Dec. 14, 2009.

1422. 2008.

33rd National Conference & Exhibition July 14 –17, 2010 / Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort / Orlando, FL


2.0 A C S N 20 NATA

800-815-6826 • 0

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


ounce of prevention about the AUTHOR Jason Brumitt is an instructor of physical

Jason Brumitt, MSPT, SCS, ATC/R, CSCS,*D

Achieveing Aerobic Fitness in Untrained Individuals

therapy at Pacific University in Hillsboro,

The first few months of each New Year finds a host of un-

To improve aerobic fitness, an individual should attempt

Oregon. He is a

trained individuals looking to start a fitness program. For

to achieve a sustained heart rate for a prolonged period of

board certified sports

many, the goal is to lose weight and improve their general

time. In general, performing activity at 70% of one’s maxi-

physical therapist, an

fitness. For “athletes,” the end of the winter months means

mum heart rate (220 – individuals age = max heart rate)

athletic trainer, and a

it is time to ramp up (or start) their training for spring

will allow for improvements in cardiovascular fitness (see

certified strength and

sports (i.e., field sports, soccer, tennis, etc.). To meet their

table 2) (1, 3). An athlete may be able to train at a higher

conditioning specialist

fitness and athletic goals, both groups will need to initiate

percentage of one’s maximum heart rate (≈ 90%) (3).

with distinction. He

an aerobic training program.


may be reached at jbrumitt72@hotmail.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

An aerobic exercise program should be gradually pro-


Aerobic exercise is the performance of moderate (or high-

gressed. A certified strength and conditioning specialist

er) intensity exercise for an extended period of time. For

(CSCS) will be able to appropriately test one’s baseline fit-

the fitness client, improving aerobic fitness will have posi-

ness level and develop a safe and effective cardiovascular

tive effects on his/her cardiovascular and pulmonary sys-

fitness routine. 

tems. For an athlete, improving cardiovascular fitness will increase one’s endurance allowing for prolonged training


prior to the onset of fatigue.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical ac-

Aerobic Exercise Prescription for the Untrained Individual

tivity. Available at:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

2. Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin

have published physical activity guidelines that should

BA, Macera CA, Heath GW, Thompson PD, Bauman A. Phys-

serve as baseline training goals for most individuals (1).

ical activity and public health: updated recommendations

Table 1 presents a summary of baseline training goals for

for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine

adults and older adults.

and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc.

index.html. Accessed January 9, 2010.

39(8):1,423 – 1434. 2007. Examples of activities that would be considered “moderate-intensity” include swimming, brisk walking, or bicy-

3. American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s Guide-

cling (2). Examples of “vigorous-intensity” exercise include

lines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 7th ed. Phila-

jogging and intense bicycling (2).

delphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


ounce of prevention

Achieving Aerobic Fitness in Untrained Individuals

Table 1. Summary of Aerobic Baseline Training Goals for Adults and Older Adults Training Intensity

Adults • 18 – 64 years old

Older Adults • 65 years or older

If one performs moderate-intensity exercise

Perform at least 2 ½ hours of exercise per week

Perform at least 2 ½ hours of exercise per week

If one performs vigorous-intensity exercise

Perform at least 2 ½ hours of exercise per week

Perform at least 1 ¼ hours of exercise per week

If one performs both moderate and vigorousintensity exercise

“An equivalent mix” of each type of activities. CDC states that 1 minute of vigorous exercise ≈ 2 minutes of moderate exercise

“An equivalent mix” of each type of activities. CDC states that 1 minute of vigorous exercise ≈ 2 minutes of moderate exercise

Table 2. Heart Rate Training Goals Based on Exercise Intensity (1) Moderate-intensity exercise is generally performed at 50% to 70% of one’s maximum heart rate. Vigorous-intensity exercise is generally performed at 70% to 85% of one’s maximum heart rate.





2010 PERSONAL TRAINERS CONFERENCE March 7 – 8, 2010 • Bally’s Hotel • Las Vegas, NV • nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


mind games

Suzie Tuffey Riewald, PhD, NSCA-CPT

about the AUTHOR

The Less Obvious Factor

Suzie Tuffey Riewald received her degrees

“I always stress condition with my basketball players. I

successful performance. Note that it is not suggested that

in Sport Psychology/

don’t mean physical condition only. You cannot attain and

having these characteristics cause the ensuing perfor-

Exercise Science from

maintain physical condition unless you are morally and

mance, but rather they seem linked to the ensuing perfor-

the University of North

mentally conditioned.”

mance. Regardless, having an awareness of the skills that

Carolina —Greensboro.

—John Wooden, college basketball coach

She has worked for

relate to enhanced performance can be an asset to you as you strive to enhance your own athletic performance.

USA Swimming as the

If you are like many Americans, you will be tuned in to the

Sport Psychology and

2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the months

Without further ado, let us take a look at these mental

Sport Science Director,

of February and March. It is amazing to watch—with much

characteristics related to successful athletic performance,

and most recently

awe and respect—as these elite athletes sled, ski, jump

as summarized by Krane and Williams (1):

as the Associate

and skate, with speed, precision and grace. In observ-

• High self-confidence

Director of Coaching

ing these Olympians and Paralympians (as well as other

• Arousal management

with the USOC where

elite-level athletes), their physical and technical prowess

she worked with

• Feeling “in control”

is glaringly evident. The speed and agility of speedskat-

various sport national

ers and downhill skiers, the strength and technical skills

governing bodies

of bobsled and luge athletes, the technical proficiency of

(NGBs) to develop

snowboarders and the endurance and technical precision

and enhance coaching

of figure skaters is apparent to all who observe their per-

• Positive attitude and thoughts about performance

education and training.

formances. Knowing the physical and technical strengths

• Strong determination and commitment

Suzie currently works

of elite-level athletes can be an asset to any developing

as a sport psychology

athletes who are working to enhance their skills. But you

• Detailed planning for competition that includes setting goals, imagery and practicing coping skills

consultant to several

already know this, right? It is what you do on a consistent

Read slowly and repeatedly through the list. Which char-


basis—you identify the physical and technical skills you

acteristics describe you? Which characteristics should

need to better develop to improve your performance,

you work to develop and/or improve? Make use of this

then address them in your daily training.

research and hone your mental as well as your physical

• Total concentration • Focus on the task at hand • Productive perfectionism

skills.  Less evident, however, are the mental skills and characteristics that play a role in the performance of Olympians,


Paralympians, and other elite-level athletes. When watch-

1. Krane V., and Williams J. Psychological characteristics of

ing these athletes, we cannot see their thoughts, focus,

peak performance. J. Williams (Ed.), Applied sport psychol-

confidence, anxiety, attitude and self-talk like we can see

ogy: Personal growth to peak performance (pp. 169 – 188),

physical and technical characteristics. Because of this,

New York, NY: McGraw Hill. 2010.

there may be a tendency to only equate performance to observable skills and disregard the other skills that also impact performance—things like mental skills. We are always looking for new ideas on topics for the If we can’t observe these mental skills, how do we know

MindGames Column. Please submit any topic ideas to

they impact performance? That is a good question. Over

the years, there has been much research that has looked at whether there are psychological characteristics that are correlated with successful athletic performance. From this research, we have a better understanding of the psychological skills and characteristics that seem to relate to

nsca’s performance training journal • • volume 9 issue 1


PTE journal jan feb 2010