Thanks to Ben Mahoney from Oceanic Health and Fitness for supplying this article.
Strength and conditioning is an integral part of the development of not only athletes, but also everyday people who just wish to become fitter and healthier, and are looking to improve muscle tone and/or weight loss.
There are nine elements that are commonly identified as defining fitness. These are:
The extent to which muscles can exert force by contracting against resistance.
Examples: Withstanding resistance, including holding or restraining an object or person, or lifting weights.
The ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movement.
Examples: Olympic weightlifting – power cleans, push presses, a single roundhouse kick delivered as fast and powerful as possible.
The ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions.
Examples: Lateral bounding, martial arts footwork, ladder runs.
The ability to control the body’s position, either stationary or while moving.
Examples: A handstand, yoga poses or balancing on one leg while delivering a roundhouse kick.
The ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue, like fat or muscle.
Example: Reaching down and touching your toes while keeping your legs straight and not bending at the knees.
LOCAL MUSCULAR ENDURANCE
A single muscle’s ability to perform sustained work.
Examples: Rowing or cycling.
The heart’s ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it.
Examples: skipping, or running long distance.
A muscle’s ability to perform a maximum contraction time after time.
Examples: Continually delivering full power roundhouse kicks into a set of pads one after another, or being able to push or pull an external resistance.
The ability to integrate the above-listed components so that effective movements and performance are achieved.
As you can see, strength and conditioning is about more than lifting weights. It encompasses the entire development of an individual and what is needed to improve physical performance, with strength training being just one piece of the puzzle.
The aims strength and conditioning
A good strength and conditioning program should do the following:
- Help develop correct exercise skill or drill technique before progressing to a heavier load, or more advanced exercises. Lighter weights (often referred to as a ‘scaled down weight’) should be used initially to get you going through the movements and technique without risking injury
- Improve the strength base of all individuals progressively over time
- Improve an individual’s movements and techniques by incorporating multi-joint, free weight exercises
- Improve the individual’s physical conditioning
- Improve the individual’s overall body composition — basically, looking better!
Things to remember with strength and conditioning training:
- Every workout will be challenging if you allow it to be and listen to the coach. If the training becomes too easy the body will adapt very quickly and progress will stagnate. Don’t be afraid to push yourself!
- Consistency is the key: Without a consistent approach to training, results may be less than optimal. Specifically planned regular bouts of the correct training, coupled with a good recovery strategy, is vital for the individual to optimise their physical potential.
- Ladies – lifting weights is beneficial for you too, and will NOT make you look like a man. You can tone all areas of your body and you will not turn into The Hulk. You simply do not have the same genetic makeup to develop massive pecs and bulging arms. Do not be afraid of barbells!
Oceanic Health and Fitness offers strength and conditioning classes to allow each participant to progressively achieve their optimal performance in each of the nine areas of fitness. See http://www.ohaf.com.au/ for more information, including session times.