SPORTS SUPPLEMENTS

Find out which sports supplements work and which don’t, according to science. Plain English reviews that focus on facts without the hype. Most of us involved with sport and fitness have, at some point, used nutritional supplements. That makes it big business and with big business comes very clever and very persuasive marketing. It’s easy

Sports Nutrition Basics Part 4 – Vitamins & Minerals

Thirteen different vitamins have been identified and studied to date. They are classed as either fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, K) or water-soluble (vitamin B complex, vitamin C). Together they are responsible for blood clotting, neuromuscular function, healthy skin, teeth and bones and numerous other bodily functions. A well-balanced diet should provide an adequate supply of all the vitamins

Sports Nutrition Basics Part 3 – Protein

Correct and adequate protein intake is crucial for anyone involved in vigorous training. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of skin, hair, nails, bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. It also serves a crucial role in enzyme production and maintaining a strict acid-base balance. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for the average male and

Sports Nutrition Basics Part 5 – Pre & Post Competition Eating

Long gone are the days when athletes thought that eating a big steak before a game would give them lots of energy. Today’s elite sports men and women follow a strict diet, particularly on the day of a competitive match or event. While diet won’t turn poor athletes into great ones, it can make the

Sports Nutrition Basics Part 6 – Fluid Replacement & Hydration

Athletes can lose between 2-3 litres of sweat during 90 minutes of intense exercise, particularly in hot and humid conditions. They can also lose as much as 2-3 kg (4-6 lbs) in bodyweight during the same period. This amount of fluid loss will certainly have a negative affect on performance. Ideally to counteract dehydration, athletes

Sports Nutrition Basics Part 2 – Fat

Fat contains more than twice the amount of energy as carbohydrate. A single gram contains nine calories making it a valuable source of fuel for longer duration activities. While fat cannot supply energy quickly enough for very intense activity, it can be used by the body to power lower intensity exercise such as jogging and walking. Fat

Sports Nutrition Basics Part 1 – Carbohydrate

All energy, whether it’s to play sport or carry out any other activity, comes from three classes of food called macronutrients. These nutrients are better known as carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Each is important – not only to fuel athletic performance but also for overall health and well-being. Weight for weight carbohydrates contain the least amount of energy

How to Design A Speed Training Program

The complete speed training program aims to: Improve acceleration Increase maximal velocity Maintain velocity against the onset of fatigue Closely related to speed training is agility and quickness training. This aims to: Improve deceleration Enhance the ability to change direction Improve co-ordination and dynamic balance Speed and agility training are not the same and one does not

Speed Training For Football

Football is not just about strength. In fact speed training for football might be just as important as traditional weight lifting… The highest ranked players are more likely to outperform their peers in tests like the 10 yard and 40 yards sprints than they are in the squat or bench press. You could say that

Speed Training Drills

These sample speed training drills are designed to develop quick feet, power and acceleration. Use them as part of a more comprehensive speed program or as a session on their own. You can get more information on speed training by visiting the speed training section. Here some general guidelines to bear in mind… A typical speed

Speed Endurance Training

These speed endurance drills will help you to maintain a higher work rate for longer. They are excellent for improving performance in sports such as football, soccer, hockey and basketball. Any athlete that is required to repeat high intensity sprints in quick succession can benefit from this type of training. The accumulation of blood lactate disturbs the excitation-contraction

Sample Soccer Weight Training Program

Take just a little time to plan your soccer weight training program correctly and it will certainly re-pay ten-fold on the field… In a previous article we covered the different types of strength in soccer. To quickly recap, good muscular power and strength endurance is far more benefical than maximal strength and huge, rippling muscles. We also covered why a soccer

The Soccer Warm Up

A good soccer warm up meets three important objectives… Decreases the risk of injury. Increases agility, skill, power and performance. Allows players to mentally prepare and focus on the game or session at hand. A cold muscle is stiff and rigid. Sudden twisting, turning and stretching can place greater tension on muscles and connective tissue

12 Month Soccer Training Program

Soccer is the total sport. And a well-thought-out soccer training program must reflect that. Soccer players must perform with short bursts of power and speed AND have the ability to keep going for 90 minutes or more… First and foremost though… a soccer training program should be individually tailored to your needs AND your resources. All the

SOCCER TRAINING

Soccer is perhaps the most demanding of all sports. In the modern game (at any level) soccer training and conditioning is essential. Few sports are played on as large a playing field, lasting as long and without regular rest periods. Players cover 8-12km during a match, consisting of 24% walking, 36% jogging, 20% coursing, 11%

Soccer Stretching Exercises

These soccer stretching exercises will not only increase your flexibility… They also have a positive effect on your ability to perform ball skills and your agility around the pitch… A good range of motion helps you to perform fine motor skills with greater poise, elegance and consistency. It also improves your agility – aiding you

Soccer Strength Training

Few players get soccer strength training right. Today’s soccer performers must be “complete athletes”… They have to be quick off the mark and over 10-20 yards. They have to have the upper body strength to resist challenges. They need excellent levels of both aerobic and anaerobic endurance to last the duration. If you simply lift

Soccer Speed Training

At any level, speed separates the outstanding players from the average… So, soccer speed training sessions should play a major role in your training. Speed in soccer can be quite complex. It certainly entails more than just running fast. When you talk about speed in your game, here are some of the attributes that will

Sample Soccer Speed Drills

Use these sample soccer speed drills to improve your speed off the mark, acceleration and agility… Speed training should not be physically exhausting… A slow jog or walk between each sprint or drill should be long enough for full recovery. Your focus must be on quality and form. A typical speed training session could consist of 3-5

How to Determine Your Level of Soccer Fitness

What does a high level of soccer fitness really involve? What better way to find out than looking at the physical attributes of the game’s top players? In this article we’ll look at some of the ways you can test your own level of soccer fitness… Testing or setting a bench mark before you begin

Four More Soccer Conditioning Drills

Here’s a collection of 5 soccer conditioning drills that reproduce the physical demands of the game. Cherry-pick those that appeal to you or use them all for an intense fitness session. I’ve included a ball as much as possible, even if it’s just a token gesture – every effort to make soccer conditioning drills more

The Basic Soccer Conditioning Program

Not every player has the time (or the facilities) to follow a complete soccer conditioning program… But that doesn’t mean you can’t significantly improve your soccer-specific fitness. This 3-days a week (which includes a match) soccer training plan will improve your endurance, strength and agility for the game. Not only that… It doesn’t require any

Six Soccer Agility Drills

Use these sample soccer agility drills to improve your balance, body control, foot speed and co-ordination. Like speed drills, agility drills should not be physically exhausting… A slow jog or walk between each drill should allow complete recovery. The emphasis must be on quality and form. Because these soccer agility drills are not physically demanding, you can

The Sliding Filament Theory of Muscle Action

Sliding filament theory in its simplest form states that muscle fibres shorten when actin filaments slide inward on myosin filaments – pulling the z-lines closer together. If that’s all Greek to you then have a quick look at the article on muscle anatomy which outlines the different components of a muscle. Have a look at the diagram

SKI TRAINING

For serious skiers conditioning is an essential part of an overall ski training program. Not only will it allow athletes to perform at a superior level, it’s an important preventative measure to protect joints and connective tissue from injury. From a sporting perspective (as opposed to a leisure activity), skiing events can be broadly grouped

Sit Up Test Calculator

This sit up test can be used as a simple measure of strength or strength endurance. To improve the strength of your core, see the Core Strength Training section of tis site. Instructions Complete as many sit ups as you are able to in 60 seconds. Knees should be bent with feet flat on the floor. You

Sit And Reach Test Calculator

The sit and reach test is the most common flexibility test. It measures the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings. To find out more about improving your flexibility for sport or health, visit the Flexibility Training Section of this site. You will need: A box about 30cm (12 inches) high A meter rule Instructions Sit on

Self Myofascial Release

Self myofascial release techniques (SMRT), although not new, have become more and more prominent amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. Both allopathic and alternative Therapists have embraced the use of myofascial release massage to reduce chronic pain and rehabilitate a range of injuries. Some therapists claim a long list of benefits, from curing tennis elbow

RUGBY TRAINING

A rugby training program must help players to cope with the rigorous demands of the modern game. Despite its gruelling nature, amateur players perform poorly in rugby-specific fitness tests and this may be due predominantly to poor training habits (1). Rugby is classed as a multi-sprint sport. Its intermittent nature demands that players generate high levels of speed and

ROWING TRAINING

Rowing has become popular not only with aspiring oarsmen and women, but with the general population who see it as an effective form of fitness training. The success of the Concept 2 rowing ergometer has meant that health club members can develop substantial rowing-specific fitness without ever taking to the water. Several events now exist

Forearm & Rotator Cuff Exercises

Rotator cuff exercises can help to prevent common injuries that occur in sports such as tennis, golf and baseball. During a baseball pitch for example, the posterior rotator cuff muscles (external rotators, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor) are exposed to considerable eccentric contraction during the declaration phase (1,2,3,4). Unfortunately, many traditional isotonic exercises may ot be

Rockport Test Calculator

The Rockport Walk test is used to measure cardiovascular fitness and predict your VO2max. You can learn more about VO2max here and more about endurance training here. You will need: A 1-mile course (either 3.75 laps of a 400m running track or you can pace out a mile course using a pedometer). A stop watch. Instructions Warm up

How to Design a Resistance Training Program for Your Sport

Resistance training is now accepted as an integral and crucial part of any athlete’s training plan… Unlike the generic strength training routines found in fitness magazines, sport-specific strength conditioning involves a few more design variables and takes a little more planning. This guide outlines the seven steps to designing effective resistance training programs for sport… Step 1

Resistance Band Exercises

Resistance band exercises are widely used by a variety of health and fitness practitioners – both for general strength and conditioning and rehabilitation or injury prevention. Resistance band exercises are ideal for home exercise programs and can easily be incorporated into a circuit training format helping to condition cardiovascular system as well as strengthening specific

Push Up Test Calculator

This push up test can be used as a simple measure of strength or strength endurance. It’s a often performed alongside the sit up test. You can find out more about the various types of strength training for sport in the strength training section of this site. Instructions Complete as many press ups as you are able to

Power Training for Sport

Power training enables an athlete to apply the greatest amount of their maximal strength in the shortest period of time. This is crucial for many sports men and women who will rarely be required nor have the time to produce maximal forces. Most athletic activities involve far faster movements and far higher power outputs than

Speed And Power Tests

Use these speed and power tests before you begin your training program and then at 6-8 week intervals. Click here for details on how to put together a battery of physical fitness tests. 40 Yard Sprint – Short Term Power Test This test measures your ability to accelerate to full speed quickly, as well as

Sample Powerlifting Routine

A powerlifting routine can be one of the most intense and demanding forms of weightlifting. Although it will consist of relatively few exercises, each is completed with near maximal effort. Power lifting is often confused with Olympic weightlifting. For the uninitiated, Olympic weightlifitng consists of two exercises – the clean & jerk and the snatch.

Power Cleans For Sport Specific Training

Power cleans and other Olympic-style lifts can offer some athletes performance advantages over more common forms of weight lifting… While Olympic-style lifts have long been employed by traditional power athletes such as football players, sprinters and wrestlers, Strength and Conditioning Specialists are incorporating theses exercises into more and more sport-specific routines. Lifts such as power

PNF Stretching

PNF stretching (or proprioceptive muscular facilitation) is one of the most effective forms of flexibility training for increasing range of motion (1,2). PNF techniques can be both passive (no associated muscular contraction) or active (voluntary muscle contraction). While there are several variations of PNF stretching, they all have one thing in common – they facilitate muscular

Plyometric Training For Sport Specific Power

Plyometric training has been shown to be one of the most effective methods for improving explosive power(1). A wide variety of athletes can benefit from power training, particularly if it follows or coincides with a strength training program. This article outlines how to set up a plyometric program covering the parameters for sets, repetitions and exercise selection.

Plyometrics For Soccer

Using plyometrics for soccer is one the most effective ways to increase explosive speed and power. Research has shown that a muscle stretched before contraction will contract more forcefully and rapidly. And that is basically what plyometric exercises do… They stretch muscles rapidly and then immediately demand a powerful concentric contraction. Let’s break that last sentence

Plyometrics For Martial Arts

Plyometrics for martial arts will help to increase your explosive power, your speed and your ability to change direction quickly. On their own, plyometric drills have limited effectiveness. They are most useful when performed in conjunction with a strength training program. In fact without a strength base, plyometric training can do more harm than good.

The Physiology of Plyometrics

Plyometrics refers to exercise that enables a muscle to reach maximum force in the shortest possible time (3). The muscle is loaded with an eccentric (lengthening) action, followed immediately by a concentric (shortening) action. This article outlines the physiology behind how and why plyometrics works. It also examines the research that demonstrates why, as a

Lower Body Plyometric Exercises

These animated lower body plyometric exercises can be used to develop power in any sport that involves sprinting, jumping, quick changes of direction and kicking etc. They are most effective when completed in conjunction with a suitable strength training program or following a phase of maximal strength training… For more details on how to develop a

Upper Body Plyometric Drills

These animated plyometric drills are used to develop explosive power in the upper body. Lower body plyometric exercises can be found on a separate page. There are several different methods of power training. The simplest is to perform classic weight lifting exercises, such as bench presses, as explosively as possible. The problem with this method is that the

How to Design a Battery of Physical Fitness Tests

What exactly is a battery of physical fitness tests and how do you design one? It is simply a group of fitness tests that closely represents the various physiological demands of your sport or event. Step one is to break down the sport (or it could be an assessment for the Armed Forces or Fire Service)

One Rep Max Calculator

One repetition maximum (1-RM) is used by strength coaches to determine the intensity of a resistance training program. It simply refers to the maximum amount of weight you can lift once, and only once, for a particular exercise. When prescribing the amount of weight to use for a strength training program, coaches often use percentages of

Sample Olympic Weightlifting Routine

This Olympic weightlifting routine is an example of how Olympic-style lifts can be incorporated into a strength training program. It is designed for individuals who have little Olympic lifting experience but who do have a significant strength base. It is essential that younger and less experienced strength trainers follow an anatomical adaptation strength phase to prepare

Off Season Training Exercise Images

Push Up with Stability Ball and Medicine Ball Start by placing your hands on a balance board and your feet on top of a stability ball. Move into a plank position and maintain your balance by extending your arms. Proceed to bend your elbows while maintaining your balance until your elbows are bent to about