Conditioning

What are the best cardio workouts for the over 40's?

A better question would be...what is the best way to structure a conditioning program for the over 40's? Which would then prompt the reply, what are your goals? Your goals ultimately determine what your conditioning program needs to look like. If you play 5-a-side football regularly then your program will look different to someone who wants to run 5k fast. They, in turn, will look different to someone who takes part in BJJ. What they all have in common is that they are based on a strong aerobic base and less volume than you did in your 20's. stair run

DOMS - what is it?

DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is something that everyone has experienced regardless of training history. You don't even have to have trained to experience it. You have just decorated the bedroom and you have sore shoulders, that soreness is DOMS. Often thought of as a sign of a good training session, nothing could be further from the truth. In tech speak the pain is caused by an increase in the acute loading that is sufficiently above your chronic loading level that you aren't ready for. You react to this in an adverse manner that is painful.  The unwanted pain of DOMS is a secondary reason why you should build up the volume and intensity over a period of weeks. The primary reason for the gradual build-up is to reduce the risk of injury. DOMS is painful but it isn't an injury. A good rule of thumb is to use increases of no greater than 10% per week.    

Talk of hill sprints can bring a bring a wave of nausea over even experienced runners.  This is even worse for the novice runner but used appropriately they are a fantastic tool. Hill sprints can help develop your running technique as well as the obvious conditioning benefits. So how do you add them to your repertoire to get the most out of them? Hill sprints

Last week I had a quick look at the benefits to runners of including strength training in their program. This week we'll look at when to schedule strength training in a running program. Where should you fit it in so that you get the benefit of having it in there but not have an adverse effect on your main activity, that is to say running?  

Strength and conditioning in sport are more common place over time. The role of the strength and conditioning specialist becoming more important as athletes look to maximise their potential. This makes a lot of sense from when we considier the benefits of being a stronger athlete. A stronger athlete will, in most cases, never be anywhere tapping out their strength in a game situation.  The conditioning side is about what is the appropriate type of work to be done. There is a lot to be gained from training the different energy systems but what ones are important.  Knowing what aspects to train and where to place them are very important. There is no point  in a marathon runner doing a Tabata session or a sprinter running for an hour.  Plyometric drills that can of great benefit when used correctly for runners of all distances.  

Knowing what you can and cannot do is the crux of any rehab program and pushing the envelop of this is where changes occur and, ultimately, you get back to doing the things you enjoy. We can run tests until the cows come home but the bottom line is what can you actually do before things begin to hurt. We may be test you in a number of different exercises for our subjective and objective tests in the clinic but these really only give us a guide as to what you are capable of.

Squatting is about as natural a movement as you can get but it is a skill that we in Western Europe and the US/Canada rarely practise. As such, as with any skill, not practising it means we lose it. Our lifestyles mean we do not need to squat in order to do anything then combined with a sedentary lifestyle has resulted in many of us losing the ability to do it well. As young children we have the ability to do it but often find that by the time we are adults, at least in the Europe/America, that we have lost the ability simply, I suspect, because we do not make use of it on a daily basis.   Fit young man doing squats on track

Strength training is integral to any well thought out program for an athlete be they a runner, cyclist, footballer or rugby player. The reason for it's inclusion is usually performance related, as in looking for it to aid improved performance through the ability to generate more force etc. There are other benefits to getting stronger and in this paper from the BJSM website it's role as an intervention in sports injuries was examined.