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Strength training – Late phase

 15th March, 2012

Are you ready to start playing an activity at a higher level – faster, for longer, or more frequently? Your strength training should reflect the needs of your sport. For example a netball or basketball player needs explosive strength for jumping to catch the ball many times throughout a game. Are you putting yourself at greater risk by returning to a sport without having completed the final phase strength training?

The ability of a muscle to produce force relates to the length of the muscle and its size (cross sectional area). The cross sectional area of the muscle is likely to be increased from following the strength training outlined in the mid phase blog. Make sure the length of the muscle is good to get the maximum force from it too – you will need to consider a stretching programme that will be discussed in a future Guildford Blog.

Plyometrics (for example jumps and hops) use a pre-stretch (i.e. bending knees to prepare to jump) which can therefore enhance the force production when jumping. Using strength training in this way will help your body manage quick powerful movements required in most sports. It is important to keep sessions short, maximal of 2 per week to lessen DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and overloading of tendons.

These plyometric exercises make the most of using a number of muscles simultaneously, preparing the body to work as a unit.  This way of exercising is more realistic when we consider how the body moves rather than working one muscle independently.  Strength training also includes the need for explosive power.  This power is thought to be gained through strength training and light quick exercises such as plyometrics mentioned here.

Check out tomorrows Guildford blog for a final look at strength training principles and how to adapt the exercises in each phase to get more out of your programme.

Jo Lamplough, Senior Physiotherapist, MSc, BSc (HONS), MACP, MSCP