Having covered the Fundamentals of Weight Training and Sport Specific training, it is now time to talk about how we progress. I feel this is crucial for development which is why I will be talking about Progression in Sports Training for this article. Listed below are the three things I will be covering within this article:
- Ways to Progress
- Guidelines of Progression
- Getting Ready For The Season
Ways to Progress:
Progression relative to sports training isn’t the same as the progression you would be using in the gym with weights unless you are using weights for things like power training. However, the more body weight and athleticism focused movements typically don’t use weights, such as agility training with a latter. So how do we progress? Some common ways for this would be through more “volume,” reducing time to complete something or just focusing on executing cleaner reps.
Some of these examples will be more specific to different types of training. Increasing “volume” (work done or practice in this case) may be good for movements that benefit more from increasing practice such as agility training. This would help improve your coordination and speed. Reducing time is more specific to things running because time is commonly used as a measure of progression for this. Meanwhile, increasing the distance ran may not be best because training variation is often needed/used. Focusing on cleaner reps is great to get better at pretty much any skill because it is easier to gradually increase and implement, it also isn’t super specific to one thing. For example, you may want to clean up your running form or try increasing accuracy when using an agility latter (i.e get your feet into the squares more often). This would improve the skill overall.
I wouldn’t recommend using only one of these forms of progression for a specific type of training just because it may be more conducive to it, as they all have a place. You may want to focus one form of progression on a specific movement and use the others as a secondary one. For example, focus on reducing your time on a run, but maybe increase the distance of your main run once in a while, and try to clean up your form.
Guidelines of Progression:
While progression is the main thing, there are some things to consider. Similar to weight training volume, you have to make sure you aren’t doing too much training. Also, worth considering is making sure your execution is consistent as you progress. Being able to run through an agility latter a second quicker after a month of training is only beneficial if your execution was consistent. Not if you hit the edging 10 more times.
Progressing too much and too fast has many downfalls with the main one being increased risk of injury. The increased risk of injury comes from doing too much work that you can’t recover from, and putting lots of stress on your body, more so your joints for high impact movements. Also, if you are using form breakdown to progress then you are increasing your chance of injury as well.
The other reason why progressing too fast isn’t a good idea is because it can actually lead to a decrease in performance. Yes, believe it or not, progression, the thing that is supposed to get you results can actually negatively affect your results. This comes from one of two things (or both) that I had mentioned above. The first is if your getting results from decreasing quality of execution, then your not getting anywhere. Progressing at a slower rate with consistent technique would yield better results. Secondly, if you are getting injured, you won’t be able to train as much, nor to your fullest potential. Therefore, hindering progress.
Getting Ready For The Season:
Let’s take the hockey season for example, you’ve put in a summers worth of hard work and it is time for the season. You need to consider the fact that you likely want to start out “guns a blazing,” so you don’t want to come off a hard strength training or hypertrophy block all beat up; as this will lead to you not being able to perform your best. You need to consider your options of training that would make sense for preseason. Maybe a power training block of 4 weeks to get you prepped and ready to go without getting beat up? Or maybe some moderate volume, low-frequency circuit work to polish up your endurance and maintain your strength and size.
In order to make this easier, consider prioritizing the things that you won’t want to be doing preseason as well as things that are a goal of yours. Do these at the beginning of your training season. This will allow you to hit them hard and experience maximal benefit. Also, this will then leave you with the right training to do preseason that you can still benefit from.
Let’s put this into context, you are a football player and need to get bigger and stronger before the season so you can perform at your best from the start. You would want to have strength and hypertrophy training as a priority and complete it at the beginning of the training season. I typically do my strength training blocks before my hypertrophy ones, because I feel it is best for building a foundation to maximize hypertrophy results from. After the strength training block, you would start your hypertrophy training. Once completed you may want to focus on another important athletic aspect of your sport, preferably one that is physically taxing and therefore you wouldn’t want to do preseason. This may include higher volume circuit work, done quite frequently so you can make sure your short burst conditioning is good. This will also allow you to get possible power benefits. Additionally, it will allow you to maintain your strength and hypertrophy (if done in combination with other volume work). Now it has come down to the preseason, your main goals have been accomplished and it is time to touch up certain areas and get your body ready to go. For football, a quick power training block may be a good idea. This will touch up and increase power. As well as maintain your strength and hypertrophy (again, if done in combination with other volume work). All of this while limiting fatigue on your body, and actually allowing it to prepare for the season.
For you to progress in your sports training, you need to make sure you are smartly incorporating some form of progression that makes sense. With doing this smartly comes not overtraining, and not progressing too fast. This will help reduce the risk of injury and in turn, help increase performance.
Ready, set, train! I look forward to you being able to benefit from this information! As always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.