What Makes a Successful Training Plan?

Posted by on Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A successful training plan requires more than just volume. There are many components which need consolidating; the total amount of training completed is a small part of the puzzle. Thought must be put in to muscle groups, diversity, type of training, recovery, and more. Addressing all the points required in a cohesive training plan ensure long-term success, sustainability, and the best overall results!

The main parts of a successful training plan can be categorised in to 6 sections.IMG_3507

1 – Endurance

When one thinks of training for endurance, they are likely to imagine hours spent on the gym treadmill. Aerobic endurance is indeed an important part of endurance as a whole, but it isn’t the sole focus.

Endurance also includes Muscular Endurance (the ability to generate consistent muscular power over an endured period of time), Aerobic Threshold (cardiovascular performance over a prolonged period of time), Anaerobic Threshold (the highest intensity that can be held for up to an hour), and VO2 Max (tough, but a good indicator of athletic performance – specific strength, sustainable speed, power, threshold and improved endurance).

Exercises to promote endurance include the running, biking, spinning and rowing. Vary intensity levels on a frequent basis to maximise the benefits.

2 – Movement Economy

The ability to move with fluidity and efficiency is incredibly important in achieving high levels of fitness, especially for those partaking in sports and athletics. This is an area of training that needs continual development throughout one’s training programme, through swimming, cycling and running. It is all about creating a larger output for the same amount of input; increasing your efficiency so that your body delivers more.

Research has shown that appropriate strength training has yielded up to a 5% increase in performance through improved movement economy. A massive benefit of this type of training is the potential for drastically reduced injuries.

3 – Strength Power

Strength training is a undeniable part of a cohesive and effective training plan. Although many athletes focus on this in the off-season, it is important to maintain and develop muscular strength throughout a training regime, especially when approaching the age of 30 and above (when muscle mass starts to diminish at an increased rate).

Off-season strength workouts should occur two to three times a week, and only need last for 40 minutes, but this time should be used effectively. A well balanced strength routine will include Movement Skills, Core Stabilisation, Multi-Joint Movements, and Flexibility/Soft Tissue work.

Although endurance training mostly targets high repetition work, it is important to build strength and power with heavy, low repetition training (3 to 12 reps per set).

4 – Speed

When competing in your chosen sport or athletics, speed is incredibly important. Once speed it lost, it is typically hard to regain, meaning the maintenance and development of your speed with regular training is incredibly important.

During the colder months, stationary trainers (treadmills, etc) are useful for building your speed without needing to get out on the track. Try to build explosive power with short, hard sprints (although be careful with trying to change speed whilst running). Swim based sprints are also very useful for building overall athletic speed.

5 – Mental Fitness

One of the largest, if not the largest contributor to the bodies performance is mental drive. One can be incredibly fit, but without the willpower to perform, nothing will happen. Those that are willing to push through adversity and challenge will often excel in a competitive sport/athletic environment.

Professionals as well as amateur and hobbyist athletes and sportspeople benefit greatly from developing their mindset.

6 – Recovery & Regeneration

When training hard, recovery is just as important as the physical training itself. This is when your body will regenerate stronger than before, improving your physical performance and composition. The most important tool in your recovery is sleep (a lack of sleep will harm your training performance and recovery). Blood Chemistry and Heart Rate Variability are also good indicators of overall body health for serious athletes, although this is somewhat overkill for hobbyists. Remember to include rest days for your body, and spread out muscle groups to avoid over training.

Although categorising the core elements of a comprehensive training plan can be somewhat limiting, by addressing the 6 major points outlined in this article, you can make sure that your training plan is delivering results that address all of the areas needed to create well balanced and sustainable results.TPDash

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