When people hear these word, people think it applies to athletes only. Here's why it can pertain to anyone training.
To begin, we'll go over what it means. Many people think sport specific just means that the movement of an exercise is similar to those seen in a specific sport. For example, rotation of the torso and extension of the hips is specific to a baseball swing. That's only a small piece of it. Below are components of sports specific programming.
Movement of Sport
This refers to the example given earlier about the baseball swing. Sports are observed and specific movements of the sport are studied. Those movements then get replicated into a exercise that mimics it best. Range of motion (ROM) can be a component to this. For long distance runners, a full squat may not be needed because, when looking at runners, their hips do not fully flex during their running pattern. So rather than going low on a squat, it can be just as beneficial to keep the hips a bit higher on a squat.
Velocity of Sport
Next is the speed of movement. The nature of most (not all) sports is explosive, therefore exercises need to mimic that. As competition gets near, most athletes will begin doing power training and working on fast movements in general. Because fast movements are needed, most of the training uses little resistance when talking about weights (usually 30-80% of 1RM). The lighter loads are used because the foundation of strength should have been trained weeks or months prior through periodization. Strength is no longer the priority at this phase.
Bioenergetics of Sport
This may be confusing if you have not read our post on bioenergetics. By looking at the sport, speed, and movement, we can now observe which energy system the sport requires most. For racing sports, a program with high repetitions that lasts a bit long are used. For sports like football, exercises should be very intense for less than 30 seconds to gear up the ATP-CP and glycolytic systems.
Why does this matter to you?
"I'm not an athlete, who cares?" might be your thought, but this can help you with your goals. Do you want to get insanely strong and have a high 1-RM? Stick with heavy loads that don't last long, go full ROM for exercises, and high velocity doesn't need to be a focus. Have a goal of running a half marathon some day? Keep the weights light, reps high, and movement fast.
With general fitness, the goal is just to be healthy. As you begin and continue your journey, goals and activities become created. By programming correctly, you can meet these goals quickly.
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