There’s many different types of training techniques athletes use to prepare themselves to perform their best. A few types I find interesting and are most often used are circuit training, strength training and interval training.
Circuit training is a type of conditioning that helps develop strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination. This type of training is a variety of exercises in short bursts with resistance and no breaks in between exercises because you’re using moderate weights and frequent reps targeting different muscle groups. Circuit training workouts contain series of workouts or stations that must be completed in a minimal amount of time giving the trainer or coach the ability to create and add variety of workouts. According to Westcott, on WebMD, one important fact to know is that a circuit workout improves both strength and endurance and jump starts metabolism.
Many people get circuit training and interval training confused because their routines are similar, however, there are many differences between the two. Circuit training, as you have read, is a variety of exercises that are working multiple muscle groups in shorter duration with no breaks. While interval training is focused on one exercise at a time and the intensity varies throughout the workout. Circuit workouts consist of about ten exercises each about 60 seconds each with about 15 seconds of rest between exercises. Athletes perform a number of sets based on their level of fitness and goals. <http://bit.ly/Y9vHqN>
According to sports medicine here are some “guidelines” for circuit training;
- 8-12 exercises or stations for the entire body
- Each exercise should be about 30-90 seconds allowing 15 to 30 seconds of rest between each exercise; however allow 48 hours between sessions that workout the same muscle groups
- Select weights/resistance that allows you to perform exercise for the entire time but still provides a challenge
- As your fitness improves you can increase your resistance, weights, reps, and decreasing time of rest
- To focus more on muscular strength, increase the intensity (resistance) at each station and allow rest time between for full recovery
- To focus more on cardiovascular endurance, decrease the intensity at each station and increase length of time spent at each station and shorten rest
Joe Burch, a P.E. teacher at Madison Elementary and the head wrestling coach at Pella High School, does a lot of circuit training to keep his athletes in shape and him as well—he participates in rugby.
Joe has his athletes typically do a 45 minute workout with a partner. Their workout consists of each person doing a particular lift for ten reps and has to be done within a particular time i.e. a minute with a minute of rest. They repeat this workout for five sets.
For his wrestling athletes he does more explosive lifts to help build strength and explosive movements that also help focus on endurance.
Interval training is the alternating between short and high intensity bursts of speed which uses both anaerobic and aerobic systems. This type of training helps build speed and endurance. According to Sports Medicine, some of the benefits of interval training are;
- Increase cardio efficiency
- Increase tolerance to built up lactic acid
- Improve performance
- Greater speed
Also, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, more calories are burned in short, high intensity exercise.
The duration of intervals should be somewhere along these guidelines;
Short Durations—6-30 seconds
- 6 seconds can help improve speed and endurance
- 30 seconds help produce better outcomes for athletes that are very competitive
- 6 seconds result in less muscle damage and faster recovery
Long Durations—2-3 minutes
- These are very demanding and damaging to muscle tissue
- Long intervals result in greater muscle damage, greater need for oxygen, and faster depletion of muscle glycogen
- Longer rest phases
- Longer than three minutes are less common and should not be done more than every few weeks
Strength training reduces body fat, increases lean muscle, and burns more calories more efficiently.
According to the MayoClinic website strength training has many benefits such as;
- Developing strong bones
- Controlling your weight
- Reducing risk of injury
- Boost in stamina
- Manage chronic conditions
- Sharpen your focus
Strength training can be done at the gym or at home with body weight, free weights or weight machines. Like any workout, making sure to stretch and warm up, such as a brisk walk for about ten minutes, is a start, and then picking a weight or resistance level heavy enough to perform twelve reps.
Aaron Mejia, a student at the Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is involved in football, wrestling and track. He does a lot of strength training to stay in top shape for all of these sports; the biggest focus is weight lifting and conditioning. For targeting those core muscles for football Aaron does bench, squats, and cleans. This benefits him to get stronger and heavier in order to play better and benefit from it. Stretching is a necessity to prevent tearing muscles and enabling Aaron to run on the fields and track; along with doing conditioning to keep his cardio in shape and maintain his ability to keep going throughout his competition. He typically does this five times a week to be at his best and perform his best—which makes a great and determined athlete!
“Take a Shortcut to Fitness with Circuit Training”. Fitness & Exercise. WebMD. 2013. 26 March 2013.
Quinn, Elizabeth. “Circuit Training for Sports Perfromance”. Sports Medicine. About.com. 28 Oct. 2008. 25 March 2013.
Quinn, Elizabeth. “Interval Training Workouts Improve Speed & Endurance”. Sports Medicine. About.com. 28 Sept. 2011. 25 March 2013.
Quinn, Elizabeth. “Interval Training Workout Routines—How to Design Training Workout Routines”. Sports Medicine. About.com. 20 Jan. 2011. 24 March 2013.
“Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier”. Fitness. MayoClinic. 2 Aug. 2011. 24 March 2013.