Strength and Conditioning:
Fact or Fiction?
There are many stigmas and myths that surround strength and conditioning for athletes. Today, we’re going to discuss 4 common questions that we are commonly asked by athletes and parents.
1)Flexibility Does Not Influence Performance
FICTION: Flexibility is defined as the range of motion around a joint. Limitations in flexibility are associated with injury and can lead to decreased function of a muscle. Therefore, increasing flexibility can both increase performance and decrease risk of injury.
To produce force, muscles must shorten as they contract. If the muscle is already short, due to lack of flexibility, then it will not be able to contract to the same extent as an optimally lengthened muscle, resulting in less force production. There is however an optimal range for muscle flexibility and if the muscle and tendons are too lax it can also result in decreased force production.
– Ensure muscles are thermally warm before stretching
– Include dynamic stretches before workout
– Hold a static stretches for 20- 30 sec after workout
– Completing static stretches before workout can result in decreased force production
2) Rest is for the Weak
FICTION: To be the best, do you have to train everyday? Science has told us that it takes 10 000 hrs to reach an elite level. This cannot be done overnight, it requires a long-term plan that must be taken in baby steps. Trying to achieve this too quickly will result in numerous setbacks.
Rest is one of the most important components of training. Rest refers to proper sleep habits as well as the decreased level of activity to allow for relaxation. It is during rest that the muscles are able to regenerate as the body removes wastes produces, restore hormone levels and replace energy stores. If an athlete neglects appropriate rest, they deny their body of achieving super compensation. This results in a training plateau and eventually a decrease in performance.
Reminder: Not achieving the proper amount of rest also leads to a drop in motivation & commitment, increased risk of injuries and higher levels of fatigue.
3) Athletes Need to Watch Their Diet
FACT: What one puts in their body will have a huge effect on what they get out. Athletes don’t only need to consider their nutritional intake pre & post workout but nutrition can affect our bodies 48 hrs after the food is ingested. Nutrition is not only important for performance and muscles recovery but it largely impacts our brains ability to function, the strength of our immune system and even our emotions.
Pre-event (3-4 hrs): Consume complex Carbohydrates, Protein in moderation + 0.5L fluids
During event: 177-237ml of fluid every 15 mins
– If event is >3 hrs include Carbohydrates
Post-event (0-2 hrs): 3:1 Ratio of Carbohydrates to Protein + Hydration should include 0.5L/kg of body weight lost
4) Best Indicator of a Good Workout is How Tired You
FICTION: Some coaches, trainers and athletes feel that they must work their body to exhaustion to receive benefit from a training or practice session. However, the harder you work does not always result in better results. Overreaching can lead to injury, diminishing returns and can have negative psychological effects. Furthermore, post-exercise soreness has NOT been linked to strength gains.
The goal of a workout is to stimulate an adaptation, which requires the athlete to work smart. This includes training at a similar intensity that is demanded from the sport, having adequate recovery time and using periodized programs.
Remember: it is easy to work an athlete to exhaustion, making an athlete functionally stronger, faster and more flexible takes work!
If you have any questions about this blog or would like to know more about one of our upcoming programs, please contact Ross McCain – firstname.lastname@example.org.