The Training Philosophy of ASC

Recently ASC has been asked a number of times what our training philosophy is. Therefore I have decided to post the publication that I created on the website for all to access and understand how strength and conditioning training from ASC is so different and I hope you agree better than what most athletes are doing in the gym.

Our Training Philosophy: Train Like You Play

At Australian Sports Conditioning our philosophy is simple “Train like you play”. If there isn’t a valid argument for how a training exercise relates to your sport, we wont do it.

A lot of recreational and professional athletes go to the gym, few actually benefit in the competition arena as a result of their hard work.

Why? Because they are doing non-specific, unrelated exercises. Top athletes and recreational athletes alike are still doing such classic exercises as bicep curls, hamstring curls and leg extensions. Can you name an activity that is mimicked by any of these exercises?

These exercises are attractive because they are easy to teach and safe for beginners. They also have a feeling of intensity (the burn) due to the limited ability of a small muscle to remove lactic acid so people feel like they are working hard. Hard maybe, smart? Definitely not.

ASC realizes this and creates strength training programs that are specific to athletes’ sports. Our strength training programs begin by addressing athletes’ specific issues such as poor movement mechanics, postural deficiencies, muscular imbalance, stability and specific rehabilitation concerns.

The Strength and Conditioning Coach is a key part of the modern coaching team. They do not replace physiotherapists but work closely with them. The Strength and Conditioning Coach has a unique knowledge of athletic preparation and can assist the physiotherapist in getting the athlete from the physio table to the competition arena.

The Process of Creating an Athlete that is Strong for Their Sport

Once the athlete has established sound movement patterns ASC builds a strong foundation, as nothing can be built without a strong foundation. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench press, chin ups and bent over rows are the basic building blocks on which to build sports specific exercises. We use exercises that use multiple joints and multiple muscles and require a degree of balance and coordination (we never use machines because there are no machines on the sports field).

Having established a base fitness we move on to make it sport specific here we ask specific questions like:

  • Do they take off on one foot or two?
  • What actions do they do with their arms?
  • Do they need to jump high or long?
  • Do they need to throw or perform a throwing type activity?

Australian Sports Conditioning works by following these basic principles:

Correct movement patterns:

  • Ensure that the athlete can do the basics right; running and jumping. This can be corrected as we build the base strength.
  • Base Strength:

    • The foundation on which everything else will be built.

    Strength Specificity:

    • Increase strength as it applies to the sport.

    Power development:

    • Improve the athletes’ ability to move quicker and higher.

    Power Specificity:

    • Adapt the improved power to the specific movements of the sport.

    In terms of the principles of periodisation these phases fit into the overall training plan. This plan is typical of a sport that requires single-periodisation (where there is one long season such as football) the plan is different from those such as swimming where multiple-periodisation is required. In multiple-periodisation the training year is divided into small blocks with the pattern below repeating itself for each important competition.

    • Anatomical Adaptation phase – General Preparation Phase
    • General Strength Phase – General Preparation Phase
    • Maximal Strength Phase – General Preparation Phase (sport dependant)
    • Strength Power Conversion – Specific Preparation Phase
    • Power Consolidation – Pre-Competitive phase
    • Maintenance – Competitive Phase
    • Transition – Transition Phase

    Sample progressions of athlete training programs

    Step 1: Establish if the athlete matches the optimal model athlete for their sport.

    • Motor skills
    • Muscular strength
    • Muscular power
    • Power to weight ratio
    • Take off mechanics
    • Landing mechanics
    • Core stability

    These issues are corrected during the general preparation phase, step 2 incorporates the majority of corrections.

    Step 2: Establish good movement patterns – Anatomical Adaptation Phase/General Strength Phase

    • General strength
    • Improve activation of key muscle groups (gluteals, quads, hamstrings, calves, core
    • Use balance exercises (specific to the sport)
    • Take off and landing exercises
    • Core stability

    Step 2 is completed during the general preparation phase.

    Step 3: Increase power (and therefore jump height) – Strength Power Conversion Phase

    • Focus on increasing speed of concentric phase of the lift.
    • Introduce jumping.
    • Progress to loaded jumping, Counter movement jumps, box jumps, jump squats, depth jumps.
    • Core Stability

    Step 3 is completed during the specific preparation phase.

    Step 4: Increase specificity to sport – Power Consolidation Phase

    • Once two-legged performance is satisfactory progress to single leg if required.
    • Incorporate angles and rest periods specific to the sport.

    Step 4 is completed during the pre-competitive phase.

    Step 5: Maintain performance – Maintenance Phase

    • In season, the hard work has been done.
    • Keep the athlete injury free and manage those injuries that do occur.

    Step 5 is completed during the competitive phase.

    Step 6: Recovery

    Getting, bigger, faster and stronger needs more than hard work. Recovery ensures the adaptation process happens as quickly as possible so adaptation can follow. The principle is simple; train hard plus recover well equals best performance. ASC devises workable recovery plans for athletes, professional and amateur alike feel better, train better and compete better when the take an active role in their recovery.

    Good hydration, good nutrition, good post exercise recovery strategy means best possible performance next time.

    Finally

    The concepts are simple and modern:

    Train like you want to play –

    Replicate movement patterns, without teaching skills.

    Build a foundation –

    Make sure the athlete uses key muscles appropriately and make sure that they are strong in core movements

    Adapt the foundation to the sport –

    Strength, Speed, Power, Balance, Joint stability

    Maintain –

    Keep the athlete going through their competitive season

    Rest and recover –

    Get the athlete optimally recovered for the next training or competition

    Test –

    Where are we starting from, where do we need to go, is what we are doing working? These are key questions and fitness is highly quantifiable. Regular testing keeps players motivated and reveals problems.

    Australian Sports Conditioning can deliver highly professional programs, coaching and consultancy for motivated teams and individual athletes of all sports using these principles adapted to the individual, their position and their sport.

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