Training For Sport – Part 2a – Exercise Selection

The bell just sounded and we are off with the second instalment of my blog… How far am I going to run today? Well I’m aiming to cover the art of exercise selection or at least appropriate selection for sports by the time I run out of breath…

If we look back at my 3 key points I left you with:

  • What it is you want to achieve/improve
  • How you intend to measure improvements
  • How much time can you give to this

I would like to start by focusing on the first of the points, what is it we are trying to improve? If you haven’t already started writing your plan down, you may want to start now… Just a thought…

I shall start with a simple example… Lets say you’re a prop (if you don’t play rugby, that’s one of the two really fat guys) and you want to improve your strength when lifting a jumper in a lineout. I don’t want to get overly technical here, I want this blog to appeal to regular people as much as for trainers, we can debate the more technical items at another time.

So I’d say start by thinking about what the move you’re looking to improve in the following way:

  • What does it look like?
  • Does that vary?
  • What does it feel like?
  • How is it loaded?

A few examples of lineout lifting

Let’s start with the first question, what does it look like? Well it looks like a step (or steps) into a squat to a press with the weight moving from chest height to above head in a shoulder pressing type motion. So that’s going to be my exercise, a step into a squat where as I rise from the crouched position, I shoulder press.

Now does that vary? What I mean by that is if you’re lifting someone, are your feet always going to be in the same position? The chances are no. So why not vary the foot positions of the exercise so that you ensure that you are strong no matter where you are? So vary the exercise with different feet positions and take a wide, narrow, normal, right foot forward, left foot forward stance.

What does it feel like? Is it fast or slow? Heavy or light? The fact is you get what you train for and so if you train slow, you’ll be slow. In this case the move is explosive and heavy so your exercise needs to replicate that otherwise you’re going shoot yourself in the foot. This said, I wouldn’t hurtle out of the blocks straight into explosive and heavy lifting tomorrow, you should build up to this, especially in terms of weight.

Finally how is it loaded? Or more importantly, what in terms of weighted object would replicate the lifting of a grown man the best? Is it a barbell or a medicine ball or a dumbbell etc? I’m going to say for the sake of argument 2 dumbells, you could probably find a better loading vehicle but not everyone will have access to 50kg powerbags!

If everything has gone to plan, we should now have an exercise to improve our lineout lifting, either that or we now have a very confused reader! I’m hoping you have followed this… If not, don’t worry, I will post a video for this tomorrow and talk about how we add some meat to the bones of our workout and also a few other exercises for you to have a look at. Then I’ll do the same for golf, football and anything else you want me to look at…

Si Tate


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