Hints & Tips
I plan the training session and then a heavy rainstorm means I have to abort the planned session - what do I do?
If you have somewhere dry with a bit of space then this is a possible solution. The added benefit is that in one session you can develop the athlete's strength and endurance. Identify the possible exercises that can be performed with the available equipment and then construct 3 to 4 circuits of 6 to 10 exercises. In each circuit try to ensure that no two consecutive exercises exercise the same muscle group. e.g. do not have press ups followed by pull ups.
A circuit should be set up so that you work each body part as follows: Total-body, Upper-body, Lower-body, Core & Trunk For each circuit I have a set of linoleum cards (you could use laminated cards), 6 inches by 6 inches, with an exercise written on each which I lay by the equipment to indicate to the athletes the required exercise at each stage of the circuit. Ensure you have one or two circuits where no equipment is required. I am sure you have experienced the situation where you are unable to conduct a planned coaching session because of unforeseen circumstances (generally in the UK this is the weather).
In future you can just get the cards out, find some space and do a circuit training session. I can remember, many years ago, conducting a session on the 3rd floor of 4 storey car park during a thunderstorm. Consider the Fast Feet drills detailed in this newsletter as possible exercises for inclusion in a circuit training session.
A recent study in France suggests that if you're carrying out short, very intense work intervals, you are far better off exercising lightly during your recovery intervals, compared to just resting. If you're conducting a high interval session, it's always wise to resist the temptation to be passive during your recoveries. Hanging on to the edge of the pool or leaning up against a fence by the track may seem like the right thing to do, but moving around at a slow but steady rate is the best way to prepare yourself for the next work interval. Active rest leads to better-quality work intervals, which ultimately produce higher fitness levels and improved competitive performances.
One of the most common sites of injury, regardless of the sport, is the lower back region. There is a whole host of causes for lower back pain; for example, in runners weak or inflexible hamstrings can often be the culprit. Poor posture is another common cause, so conditioning of the muscles that help to maintain solid posture should form part of the schedule of anyone who exercises regularly, whatever their discipline or sporting standard. A variety of muscle groups contribute to good posture and all require attention. Naturally the lower back muscles can do with strengthening. Work on the abdominal muscles is also important because it will complement work you do on the back region; it is dangerous to develop muscular imbalances by working on just one part of the body.
If core strength is poor then the torso will move unnecessarily during motion and waste energy. Good core strength indicates that the athlete can move with high efficiency. To undertake this test your athlete will require: Flat surface, mat and a watch.
The Core Muscle Strength Test is conducted as follows:
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About the Author
Brian Mackenzie is a British Athletics level 4 performance coach and a coach tutor/assessor. He has been coaching sprint, middle distance and combined event athletes for the past 30+ years and has 45+ years experience as an endurance athlete.
The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: