GYM Training: a word from our lead trainer Marc Bebich-Philip
MUSCULAR POWER DEVELOPMENT – THE “MAGIC BULLET”
To enhance your explosiveness and thus your competitive edge, you need to perform power-specific exercises. This type of training stimulates adaptations in the body that enable you to respond with greater strength more quickly when you need it. These exercises approach the development of power by increasing the power output of the muscles by directly simulating a sudden acceleration against resistance. Plyometrics utilise explosive movements to develop muscular power. It is a system of exercise in which the muscles are repeatedly stretched and suddenly contracted. This takes advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle – when an active stretch of a muscle is followed by an immediate contraction. With the help of plyometric exercises you can train your neuromuscular system to unleash impressive amounts of speed and strength – the two ingredients behind the explosive muscular power treasured by athletes. This modality of exercise causes a physiological response to occur that increases the speed at which the muscle can apply maximum force. In other words, they enable a muscle to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible. Taking advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle allows your movement to become more powerful and explosive.
This type of training can help improve any runner’s gait, swimmer’s kick or cyclist’s pedal stroke – by developing and utilising the elastic energy and strength that makes you more resistant to injury, more efficient in movement and less apt to tire. Success in cycling stems from the amount of power a rider is able to apply to the pedals when it comes to crunch time. The increase in response strength will give you more snap when you need to answer an attack, power a short climb, or react to a sprint. The point is that when you are making a potentially winning move in a sprint or break-away, power is what you will need to be successful. Improvements in your muscles’ ability to elastically store energy have obvious implications for runner’s, as more stored energy means you can maintain a given pace using less overall energy. In short, your movement efficiency will improve. In addition, it may also be the missing piece to many swimmers’ strength and conditioning program. Swimming is the definition of a total body exercise, with numerous muscle groups and joints working synergistically to propel an athlete through the water. For swimmer’s who want to improve their speed, acceleration and transition times from the water to dry land (triathlon focus) – these exercises are must-do movements.
Explosive training exercises, however, involve an increased risk of injury due to the large forces generated during performance, and should only be performed by well-conditioned individuals under qualified supervision. Take the time to learn the correct technique, and practice the exercise before increasing the volume and difficulty of your training. Prior to undertaking plyometric/power-specific exercises, it is also important to be well rested and free of injury in the limbs to be exercised.
The qualified and experienced exercise specialists at the Exercise Institute will design and supervise a resistance training program that does exactly what you need it to – whether that is improving your speed, overcoming a weak area or addressing a muscular strength imbalance. The science behind our program design has been proven and is based on what an athlete’s body specifically needs.
B.Sc. (Sport Science, Exercise & Health) (Hons)