10 Considerations For An Effective Performance Program Part 2
Here we go with the second part of Danny Hague’s article on effective programme design.
If you missed the first part make sure you read it by clicking here.
6) Periodise your Training:
Periodisation is not a new concept; it has been used successfully for many years by strength coaches and athletic trainers. It is essentially just a plan that ensures your training follows a systematic approach to bring performance to a peak, while minimising the risk of overtraining. Just think about it you wouldn’t hop in your car with no destination in mind and no route to follow. So with regards to training you need to know where you are at, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and where you need to be at a specific time. Knowing these facts means you can plan your training for specific time periods (pre-season, competitive, off-season) while manipulating the training variables along the way (volume, intensity) to ensure you are training the correct physical qualities at the right time, whether it be general or specific strength, maximal strength, power, speed or endurance etc… A sound program will keep certain physical qualities throughout the training process while putting an emphasis on one at a particular time. I use the force-velocity curve as a model, and ensure I surf the curve at certain periods of time to ensure all the correct physical qualities are trained at the right time. There are many periodisation models to use, (linear/block, concurrent, conjugate, undulating) it is up to you as a coach to choose the right model to use for a particular situation, the athlete/athletes in mind, and the sport they are training for.
7) Try using Supersets, and Trisets
A super-set is 2 exercises in a circuit back to back with minimal rest and a tri-set is 3 exercises in a similar fashion. I like to use these methods for developing work capacity in my athletes/clients. Mel Siff defines work capacity as ‘ the general ability of the body as a machine to produce work of different intensities and duration using the appropriate energy systems’, so basically it is your ability to produce work under given conditions. The use of supersets and tri-sets ensures constant movement and work rate. I often program a lower, upper or core movement into my tri-sets, or you could do agonist, antagonist pairings, or a strength/power exercises with a more specific sporting movement, or mobility work. It all depends on the situation, the athlete and the sport; the possibilities are endless with this kind of setup. So instead of talking between exercises get to work and keep moving, sessions like these have a metabolic component to them as well, so the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems are both been stressed. Research shows that these types of sessions are superior for fat loss than long slow distance cardio methods, all while developing a lean strong physique. This is due to the rise in EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption), increased metabolic rate, and the release of anabolic hormones in the blood. Here’s an example of some hypertrophy supersets
8) Recovery is Key:
Recovery is a huge topic and beyond the scope of this article. People seem to forget but you get, stronger, bigger, and faster in the recovery period, not when you are actually training, when the reverse occurs. Training actually overloads the system and breaks our bodies down, so it is important that our bodies compensate for this through regeneration, reducing residual fatigue, so adaptations can occur. Fatigue exists in various forms (muscular, metabolic, neural, and psychological) and time should be spent to ensure the body is in the best physical state before training. It is important to consider the ’24 hour’ athlete, as it is what happens before and after training that is of real importance.
Methods I use are:
Sleep: Sleeping or resting allows the body to regain homeostasis (resting state), which allows adaptation to occur. You should be looking to get 8-10 hours per night.
Nutrition: Good nutrition is key. Recovery drinks during and post workout deliver important nutrients to the muscles and energy stores. The drink should contain a carbohydrate and protein mix in the ratios of 4:1, or 2:1 depending on intensity of session and the sport you are training for.
Soft tissue work: Tissue therapy through massage is very important. I use the foam rollers with my athletes as a form of self massage. Foam rolling serves to iron out the muscles aligning the fibres back to their original positions, as well as increasing blood flow to the muscles to accelerate the healing process and removing metabolic waste products.
Contrast Showers: Alternating between hot and cold shower for a period of time can help reduce muscle inflammation and increase blood flow to the muscles to remove waste products. Alternating between 30sec hot as you can handle and 30sec as cold as you can handle for up to 15min after training.
9) Eat Healthy:
Your nutrition is a major part of the overall training process for optimal health, body composition and performance. Your nutrition is a weapon and should be used systematically to ensure optimal recovery and energy requirements for performance in your sport. It’s no good having a Ferrari engine with no fuel in the tank.
While I am not a registered dietician, eating clean and healthy is not rocket science. Most people if asked to write down what they think eating healthy really consists of they are not usually that far out, unless they are completely clueless. A good acronym to follow hear is the KISS principle (Keep it simple stupid). Some easy things to consider with regards to healthy eating are:
Is it meat and runs around in a field, if so, eat it!
Can you pick it from a tree, if so, eat it!
Can you pull it from the ground, if so, eat it!
These 3 points above along with plenty of water will ensure you are eating healthy. As you can see no labels consisting of hundreds of ingredients, and no processed foods.
There are a lot more components to consider for a complete nutritional program, including individual needs, macronutrient ratios, and supplements to take. However get the basics nailed down first then seek out a more complex nutritional strategy from a registered professional. Dr John Berardi is an excellent resource, check out his website precision nutrition. Also check out the 10 nutritional guidelines that Brendan put up recently which are excellent guidelines
10) Be Consistent:
Well last but certainly not least, I consider the principle of consistency to be a huge component for an effective program. All the above points of this article mean nothing if you are not going to be consistent with them. I like how S&C Coach Martin Rooney describes consistency, as ‘Always or Never’. Always eat right and you will get leaner, never skip your training sessions and you will improve and get stronger. The terms occasionally, although convenient doesn’t produce results. So get consistent with your actions and be disciplined to stick to the plan and work hard, and the results will speak for themselves.
Well thats it! These are some important considerations I believe should be in a well developed performance program. There are many others to consider, but if you follow these points above, I’m confident you will see major improvements in your health and performance. Don’t forget to let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Danny Hague ASCC, MMA-CSCC