Sunday, July 21, 2013

Planning a Training Program, Part Three

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Intermediate Fitness Work

Having followed the previous routine for some four weeks (in a single pyramid scheme) you are now ready for some tougher training on the Fartlek system. For this it is better to get out into the country, in amongst the woods and the fields, but if you are in the center of a city do not let this stop you; there will always be a football field, track, or even some waste ground where you can run. I advocate rough country so that you have to vary your stride and occasionally dodge and jump obstacles, which avoids a boring, mechanical rhythm. One of the most enjoyable periods of my own training days was when I trained on Sunday mornings with Highland Games athletes at the Bay of Nigg. We would go running along the cliffs, descend over rough boulders, run in the shingle; sand is also great to run in, it is tough and builds up stamina. We would climb and clamber, walk and run, swing over obstacles and finally swim in the sea. The sessions would finish off with about 10-15 sprints, ranging from 30-70 meters each.

The Bishop's Walk, near to Nigg

These sprints were done like proper races. Someone would give the starts and we would really try to win over the distance, then have a slow walk back to the start and begin all over again. This is the sort of program I would recommend, but I suggest you try to adjust this according to your circumstances and if can do something like our Sunday sessions, you are on a real winner because it's great fun. We did this is summer and most of the winter. I have even been training on 1 January after a really hectic Scottish New Year. Don't let the weather put you off. Get wrapped up in a tracksuit and sweater and you'll be all right.

The following are guides to the sort of thing you should aim at:

10 minutes slow jogging, break for free exercises covering all parts of the body (say 7 or 8 minutes), 10 minutes medium jogging, slow down to a walk then gradually build up to a really tough pace for 5 minutes and slow down for a 5 minute walk. Total time around 45 minutes at the most.

This should be followed by 2 all-out sprints at 50 meters and 2 very fast 100-meter sprints.

Throwing practice. Get a medicine ball of a small boulder. Practice double-handed under-arm swing throws (4 half-efforts then 3 all out), then 3 all out back over the head throws, also with two hands. If you have a special interest in any proper throwing events, this is the time to practice these.

Finally, some jumping should be done. If a pit is available do 3 long jumps and 3 hop, step and jumps with maximum speed run-ups. If there is no pit available try 3 maximum hops on each leg plus 3 maximum hop, step and jumps from the standing position. Watch that the heels do not become bruised. Well-padded insoles are advisable here.

This sort of routine should be done at least twice a week during this phase and I would suggest two outdoor workouts and two indoor workouts.

Circuit Training

Circuit training may be included in the indoor sessions; here is a circuit suitable for our purposes. We should make full use of weightlifting apparatus as this will be readily available.

1) Power clean
2) Heave jerks, no split
3) Hyperextensions
4) Burpee jumps
5) Situps, to touch knees only
6) Squats

Exercises 3, 4, and 5 are done without weights. The lifting exercises should be done with weights half your maximum single for the same movement. The exercises should be done 10 consecutive times in each set. You work from exercise 1 to 6, then back to 1 again and repeat the whole sequence. It is then done a third time so that the total is 3 complete circuits. The whole routine is timed and progress not by adding weight or increasing the repetitions, but by reducing the time taken to perform the circuit.

Circuit training like this can be done three times weekly on alternate days. This is only part of your training -- a component if you wish. Weight training now begins to play a more important part but it is still with very light weights. The idea of the next routine is to build endurance, so that the working muscles recover quickly from their tasks and the work capacity is increased. this will stand the trainee in good stead when he comes on to the strength, power, and finally competitive period. 

These exercises should all be done for 2 sets of 25 repetitions and gradually increased to 30 repetitions. When 2 sets of 30 reps can be done with the poundage initially used, change to 3 sets of 25 and gradually work to 3 sets of 30. Keep the rest pause between groups as short as possible. 

1) Dumbbell press
2) Hang cleans
3) Deadlift - 
alternate sets of regular deadlifts and stiff-legged
4) Bench press
5) Leg press, alternate sets with
6) Pullovers at arms' length
Sequence training***
7) Lateral raise
8) Leg raise
9) Heel raise
10) Abdominal raise 
*** Do one set of each exercise non-stop if possible (if not possible, then with the minimum of delay) then repeat sequence again, i.e., Exercise 7,8,9,10,7,8,,9,10.

The state of your breathing provides a good guide. Although you will be breathless immediately after each set this will not last and your breathing should return to normal after two minutes. If still very short of breath, delay the start of the set. If should never be more than three minutes between sets; one and a half or two minutes is much better. The sequence of 7,8,9,10 should be done with little or no pause between sets. If you are using a 3-month fitness phase you will now be ready for a real hard final bash.

Next: Advanced Fitness Work 

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