If you don't condition properly, when game time comes around, you may find yourself sucking more wind than playing. Understanding the conditioning demands of your sport will allow you to pick the conditioning drills that will get you ready for your upcoming season.
Speed—Speed Endurance—Endurance Speed—Endurance
Every sport can be placed in one of these categories. Some have a little crossover, or different positions within the sport require different attributes.
1. Speed: Sports that require all-out speed for a short period—e.g., Track (sprinters), Football and Baseball.
2. Speed Endurance: Sports that are speed-based but require you to repeat multiple bouts of speed with little rest—e.g., Football, Track (200-meter sprints) and Hockey.
3. Endurance Speed: Sports that are endurance-based but also requires bursts of speed and quickness—e.g., Soccer, Basketball, Lacrosse and Field Hockey.
4. Endurance: Sports that require moving at a steady pace for long periods of time—e.g., Long-distance Running, Marathon Running.
The Conditioning Drills
For pre-season training, you want to focus on increasing speed and recovery time. The best way to do this is to run sprints with partial recovery. Sprint as hard as you can, but instead of getting a full recovery break , shorten the break to 20 or 30 seconds.
- Sprint Distance: 25 to 100 yards
- Sets: 6-10
- Rest: 20-30 seconds
Speed Endurance Athletes
You need to focus on the ability to recover fast. Performing partial recovery sprints (per the above) can help get you ready. I also like to use ascending pyramid sets. Pick two exercises—one upper- or lower-body exercise and one either Sprinting or Sled Push.
Ascending Pyramid Set
- Med Ball Slam: 2x10 or 2x20
- Sprints: 50 yards
- Rest: As needed
In this example, you do two Med Ball Slams, sprint 50 yards, do four Med Ball Slams, sprint 50 yards and so on, going up by twos on Med Ball Slams. The sprints stay the same distance.
Endurance Speed Athletes
Endurance speed athletes must keep moving and have quick bursts of speed when needed. Circuit training works great for this. A circuit is a group of exercises done one after another.
- Push-Ups - 10x
- Jump Squats - 12x
- Inverted Row - 8x
- 100-yard Sprint - 1x
- Kettlebell Swings - 15x
- Sets: Do as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes
- Rest: As needed
You can get ready for your sport with just running, but if you always run at the same speed, you will never get faster or better. One way to condition for endurance sports is by using intervals to increase your aerobic capacity and push your lactic threshold, allowing you to run longer and faster.
Intervals (on a track)
- Sprint the corners
- Jog the straightaways
- Start with 6-10 minutes and work up to 12-18 minutes.
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