Conditioning for Your Sport

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Athletes have to exert themselves for different amounts of time in each sport. Just compare the bursts of full-out sprinting in soccer to a typical 50-second shift in hockey. Here's a quick breakdown of typical exertion times for various sports:

  • Football – 5 to 15 seconds
  • Hockey – 45 to 60 seconds
  • Soccer and Basketball – Quick explosive bursts
  • Tennis – 1 to 20 seconds

Conditioning should train your body's energy system for the way it's used in your sport. Since a play typically takes less than 60 seconds, your body uses its anaerobic energy system—stored energy—to quickly provide the fast burst of energy you need to run down a ball or leap to catch a pass. After the play, your body goes into recovery mode, attempting to replenish those energy stores.

There's no reason to run for 30 minutes, which improves the body's ability to use oxygen to generate energy. Instead, you should focus on interval training—running or biking at close to maximum effort for a short period of time, followed by a set amount of rest. Check out this interval treadmill program to start improving your game performance.

  • 3 sets @ 9.2, 9.6 and 10.2 mph for 60 seconds with treadmill at 1 percent grade
    • Take 60 seconds rest between sets
  • 4 sets @ 10.5, 10.8, 11 and 11.2 mph for 40 seconds with treadmill at 4 percent grade
    • Take 60 seconds rest between sets
  • 4 sets @ 11.5, 11.8, 12 and 12 mph for 20 seconds with treadmill starting at 6 percent grade and increasing one percent each set
    • Take 60 seconds rest between sets
  • Jog at 7 mph for 1 minute and then decrease speed by 1 mph each following minute until at 3 mph
  • Cool Down Circuit
    • Walk for 30 seconds
    • Turn and perform Lateral Shuffle for 30 seconds
    • Backpedal for 30 seconds
    • Perform Lateral Shuffle on opposite side for 30 seconds
    • Repeat circuit 3 times

*Note: Base speeds on individual fitness.  Use caution when performing Lateral Shuffle and Backpedal on treadmill.

For another interval routine, check out STACK's exclusive training content from Real Salt Lake.

Photo:  Lamarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers OLB

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock