Periodization Principles for Strength. February 9, 2012.

Law #1: Develop Joint Flexibility
Use the entire range of motion of major joints. Especially knees, ankles and hips. Plantar flexion is a key.

Law #2: Develop Tendon Strength
Muscle strength improves faster than tendon and ligament strength. Training tendons and ligaments causes them to enlarge in diameter, increasing their ability to withstand tension and tearing.

Law #3: Develop Core Strength
Strength training programs should first strengthen the core muscles before focusing on the arms and legs. The core muscles act as shock absorbers, stabilize the body and represent a link, or transmitter, between the legs and arms. Most of these muscles are dominated by ST fibers because of their supporting role to the arms and legs. They contract constantly, but not necessarily dynamically, to create a solid base of support for the actions of other muscle groups of the body.
Abdominal muscles – Back muscles – Iliopsoas (most powerful hip flexor)

Law #4: Develop the Stabilizers
Prime movers work more efficiently with strong stabilizer or fixator muscles. Stabilizers contract, primarily isometrically, to immobilize a limb so that another part of the body can act. A weak stabilizer inhibits the contracting capacity of the prime movers.

Law # 5: Train Movements, not Individual Muscles
The purpose of strength training in sports is to simulate sport skills. Athletes should resist training muscles in isolation as in bodybuilding. Athletic skills are multi-joint movements occurring in a certain order, called a kinetic chain. When athletes train a movement, the muscles are integrated and strengthened to perform the action with more power.

Progressive Increase of Load in Training

Improved performance is a direct result of quality training. Workload in training must increase gradually according to each individual’s physiological and psychological abilities.

Standard loading results in early improvements followed by a plateau and then detraining during the competitive phase.
The overload principle is another traditional strength training approach where the load is increased constantly.
The step type method requires a training load increase followed by an unloading phase during which the body adapts, regenerates, and prepares for a new increase.

The step type approach does not mean steadily increasing the load in each training session. A single training session is insufficient to cause visible body change. To achieve such adaptation, the same type of training loads must be repeated several times.

An increase in training loads on Monday fatigues the body since it is not accustomed to such stress. The body adjusts by Wednesday, adapts to the load over the next 2 days and by Friday, the athlete feels stronger and capable of lifting heavier loads. Fatigue is followed by adaptation, then a physiological rebound or improvement. This new level is called a new ceiling of adaptation.

A macro cycle of training is comprised of a series of micro cycles of consistent time, a week for example, where a progression of adaptation occurs followed by an unloading phase. A reduction in overall demand allows the body to regenerate. During regeneration, the athlete partially recovers from the fatigue accumulated in the first 3 steps, replenishes energy stores and psychologically relaxes.

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