The goal of strength and conditioning (S&C) program is to increase your performance in life and in sport. To achieve this, the athlete needs to remain injury free during training time. I know everyone has seen some sketchy positions and movement patterns in S&C programs at all levels and even with great programs individual efforts can undermine the best programs. Here is how to stay healthy and get stronger and faster, then excel at your sport.
Learn the Basics
When you first start learn the 3-4 key principles for each movement. Review these each day, during warm-up, when these movements are programmed. For instance, Deadlift:
- • Keep back straight and midline tight
- • Activate lats to keep bar close
- • Clear hips early so they can finish the lift
Practice perfect movement at low rep, distance or light weight. This will allow you to develop a motor pattern that can rely on when you are under extreme fatigue or heavy load. In Olympic lifts it’s important to know 3-4 key positions and stay fast and aggressive. In running it’s important to have fast feet and good posture. In body weight movements it’s best to perform full range of motion and use the correct muscle groups.
As you get stronger and faster you will likely plateau, each athlete will need to push themselves to learn why, and work with a coach to break through. You may find you are strong and slow, strong and fast, fast and weak in some areas. Concentrate on what your flaws are for a short while, 3-4 weeks; this is enough time for most to engage the neural patterns to increase their ability to do more work.
Follow the Program
Most sport specific S&C programs are created with a very scientific method, if you are off doing your own thing, running 9 miles for fun, lifting with the boys at the Y, you are going to risk overtraining and reaching a breaking point that could cause injury much more easily. Stay on track with the program and clear any extra work with your coach beforehand.
Training can be grueling and it can be dangerous, there is no crowd, there are no cheerleaders, it’s you versus you in the pursuit to getting more from your machine. Stay focused and stay aggressive in your pursuit and you will get stronger and faster.