Athlete's Article:

This will probably bore some of you to death, but it’s an article written by an athlete of mine who is in her first year of college. It’s an article titled ‘Strength Training’ and I couldn’t be more proud. By the way, she’s 18 years old, a kinesiology major, and a fantastic volleyball player (all-conference, setter of the year, etc.).

Strength Training

Throughout the past decades strength training has become highly sophisticated due to the interest in its scientific aspects. A need for the understanding of specific strength training has allowed for more effective programs to be used by athletes, bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, strength coaches and personal trainers. Unfortunately, training programs that are best for all athletes, at all times, are unreal and unrealistic. There are several components in a training program that are interchangeable for every athlete. Those components are the basic concepts of training theory, training intensity (methods of strength training), and goal specific strength training.

One of the major concepts of training theory is adaptation- the adjustment of an organism to its environment. This means if an environment changes, the organism also changes in order to survive. The major objective in strength training is to establish specific adaptations in order to improve sport performance results. General theories of training are simple models that coaches and experts use broadly to solve practical problems. One type of theory is the One-Factor Theory, where certain substances are exhausted as a result of a strength training workout, and after the restoration period, the level of the substance increases above its initial level (supercompensation). The other theory is the Two-Factor Theory, which includes two major components: one, preparedness and two, fatigue; as both increase fitness levels decrease. The major objective in training is to set specific adaptations towards the improvement of athletic performance.
How do you know how much weight to lift and how many times to lift it? It’s called training intensity. Resistance plays a major role in training intensity. The main factor determining the balance between protein catabolism and anabolism is the amount of energy available for protein synthesis during exercise. An example is the 1RM (repetition maximum). It has a high rate of protein degradation, low number of repetitions (mechanical work), which equals a small amount of degraded protein. Whereas, a RM of 25 or above would have a low rate of protein degradation, high number of repetitions, which implies for a small amount of degraded protein. The training intensity of elite athletes consist of loads below 60% of their maximal competition weight (mainly for warm up) and their highest portion of weights lifted consists of 70% - 80% of their maximal competition weight.

There are three methods in which strength training can be accomplished. First, lifting a maximal load to failure- maximal effort theory. In this method the muscles and central nervous system (CNS) adapt to the weight placed upon them. This method should be used to produce the greatest strength increments. This method is not recommended for beginners because of the high risk of injury; each lift has a specific technique that must be mastered before you use it. Second, lifting a nonmaximal load to failure, with the muscles developing a maximal force possible in a fatigued state during the last repetitions- the repeated effort theory. The most important lifts in these sets are the last few, this is where the muscle puts out the most effort. If these final repetitions are not carried out the exercise set is worthless. Lastly, lifting a nonmaximal load with the highest attainable speed- dynamic effort method. The dynamic effort method is not used to increase maximal strength, but to improve the rate of force development and explosive strength.
Being goal-specific in your workouts is a major advantage. As always, knowing exactly what you want to receive will help you receive it faster. There are 4 major concepts to goal-specific training: strength performance, power performance, endurance performance, and injury prevention. The main idea when training skilled athletes is not to train strength by itself, but rather train the core factors- muscular and neural. The maximal effort method would be applied to a workout for an athlete who needs neuromuscular coordination improvement. On the same note, to encourage muscle hypertrophy, the repeated effort method would be more appropriate. By changing the type of exercise, its intensity, and training load, we can initiate positive adaptation in the desired direction. If you’re looking into working on your power, maximal strength is a requirement. The typical routine consists of three sets of three repetitions near 90% of your maximum. Endurance is defined as the ability to bear fatigue. In order to obtain excellent endurance, you should work out with low resistance and high repetitions. Athletes are not matched in a competition according to their strength, so a big part of practice should focus on endurance. In planning training routines to reduce the risk of injury, it is essential to consider (a) muscle groups and joint motions, (b) muscle balance, and © coordination patterns.

Contrary to what most people think, strength training is not just for elite athletes. Having some knowledge of training and the effort to get your butt to the gym is all it takes. Picking your method for your training program should be easy with the knowledge of adaptation, resistance, multiple theories depending on what results you want, and being goal-specific. Properly training can prevent injuries, and keep you healthy.

Nice article. I’m jealous, she knows WAY more then i do about strength training.