Methods of Training

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Methods of Training

Different sports require different training methods but the training methods and their effects on the body will be related to health-related and skill-related fitness elements.

The speed needed in the majority of sports activities tends to be over short distances.

This short activity uses the anaerobic energy system.

Speed and endurance exercises must be undertaken to improve this energy system.


The heart walls grow stronger and are therefore more able to pump blood effectively.

There is a faster dispersal of lactic acid in the muscles, enabling muscle action to continue for a longer time.

Cardiorespiratory endurance is also known as stamina. This is dependent on the aerobic energy system and there are a variety of methods to improve it.

Interval training:

This is a combination of periods of high intensity work and low intensity work.

Times of between 30 seconds and 5 minutes are used to decide the work rate of high intensity.

At the end of the allotted time a rest period occurs, giving the body time to recover before the next period of high intensity work.

This process occurs for a number of repetitions and sets.

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Interval training needs to be carefully planned, as the duration, intensity of work and rest periods need to be carefully matched to the level of fitness of the athlete.

Continuous training:

Continuous training is training without a rest and can only be done at moderate intensity.

Heart rate and breathing rate are maintained at a high level over a sustained period of time.

In the gym, this effect can be achieved by skipping, running on the treadmill and using the rowing machine.

Activity of the correct intensity needs to be maintained for at least 15 minutes.

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Fartlek is a Swedish word that means 'speed play' and is based on Swedish training methods.

The athlete chooses varieties of pace and style of running as they progress through their training time or distance.

Both aerobics and anaerobic energy systems can be trained as the athlete pushes through the anaerobic threshold.

Because of its variety and because the athlete can choose when to change and what to change to, this method helps maintain motivation.

Sessions must be planned to make best use of a training session.

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The anaerobic threshold is the point at which the energy demands of the body exceed that available using the aerobic system and therefore the body has to begin using the anaerobic energy system.

Effects of cardiorespiratory training:

  1. The heart becomes more efficient.

  2. The stroke volume is increased and as a result the heart rate becomes lower.

  3. Recovery after exercise becomes quicker.

  4. Blood volume, red cells and haemoglobin increase.

  5. Arteries grow larger.

  6. Diaphragm grows stronger.

  7. Lungs become more expandable increasing in volume.

Dynamic, explosive and static strength are all dependent on the force exerted by the muscles.

Weight or resistance training is an effective way to improve muscular strength.

It is how this training is applied that will effect the type of strength developed.

The general principles of weight training are:

  1. A light weight moved many times improves muscular endurance.

  2. A medium weight moved very fast will improve explosive strength

  3. A heavy weight moved a few times will improve static strength.

Repetitions and Sets:

When planning a resistance training programme, the number of repetitions and sets must be determined.

Repetitions are the number of times an exercise is repeated.

High repetitions will assist in developing muscular endurance.

Low reps are aimed at developing static strength.

Sets are the number of times an activity is taken in a training session.

It is usually three sets in a session.

Training Different Muscle actions:

The three types of muscle action require special weight training programmes.

Isometric training can be practised with heavy, immovable weights.

Isokinetic training requires the use of weights that provide resistance through the full range of movement.

Isotonic training involves the same resistance or weight as the muscle both shortens and lengthens.


An effective way of improving and developing explosive strength are plyometrics.

It involves rapidly stretching a muscle and using the energy generated in the elastic part of the muscle.

The muscle then contracts using the stored energy.

Jumping is an effective plyometrics exercise.

Plyometrics can improve endurance strength developing muscles that can work harder for longer as a result of improved efficiency.

Energy is obtained from fat rather than glycogen and increased capillary growth enables more efficient transfer of oxygen to the muscles.

Plyometrics improve explosive strength by making the muscles contract more strongly.

The tendons increase in size enabling larger forces to be generated from muscle action.

Plyometrics also develop static strength as muscles increase in size as their fibres grow thicker.

Maintaining and improving flexibility is an essential part of physical fitness.

There are four widely recognised methods of improving flexibility:

  1. Static stretching
  2. Passive stretching
  3. Active stretching
  4. Proprioceptor Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

Static Stretching:

A muscle is held in a stretched position for a short time

As flexibility increases the time can be extended but should be a least 10 seconds.

After a short rest the stretch can be repeated.

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Passive Stretching:

An external force is applied to a limb or joint and held for a number of seconds.

A partner or coach can do this.

Care must be taken so as not to injure the athlete.

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Active Stretching:

The limbs and the body are moved vigorously, stretching the appropriate muscles.

An extensive warm up is a pre-requisite of this form of stretching.

Proprioceptor Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

This is a method of tricking the receptor organs in the muscles and joints allowing the limbs to increase their range of movement.

The muscle being worked on is strongly contracted against a strong resistance.

When the resistance is removed the muscle is immediately stretched to the end of its range.

The exercise is then repeated.

Effects of Flexibility Training:

The muscles and tendons can be stretched more easily, thus increasing the range of movement at the joint.

The result of this is a less likely chance of injury and improved execution of skills.

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