|Wallace Spearman, US Olympic Track & Field Athlete, a sure candidate to benefit from 12-wks of resistance training in the off-season... and I bet that's what he's doing, anyways.|
Ok, I am both digressing as well as exaggerating here, but I believe you got the notion. The thing people still seem to be questioning is:
"Can I runner really benefit from doing something else than running"?
If you asked a coach, the answer will be yes (unless he is an idiot), but even for trainers the question still remains: "How much non-sports-specific training is beneficial, how much is too much?" And I bet you that the number of NCAA Division I coaches who would subscribe to the statement that the best way to advance your trainees athletic abilities would be to prioritize classic progressive strength training during their whole 12 week off-saison training program.
|Figure 1: Summary of the study outcomes and overview of the training goals and goal frequency within the training programs of groups 1-3 (Dombrowsky. 2013)|
- power workouts - ballistic exercises such as bench throws, jump squats, cleans, and variations of the Olympic lifts
- strength workouts - multiple (4+) sets with fewer reps must be performed using more force
- hypertrophy workouts - anaerobic strength training. short duration, high intensity anaerobic exercises
|Table 1-3: Workout templates for group 1-3 (from top to bottom; Dombrowsky. 2013)|
- Group 1 - power focus: athletes lifted four times each week, and
focused most on strength and power (throwers, jumpers, short sprinters)
"Group 1’s RT program consisted of at least one power exercise daily, three strength exercises and a few local muscular endurance exercises last." (Dombrowsky. 2013)
- Group 2 - endurance focus: athletes lifted three times a week, and had the most strenuous out of the weight room fall conditioning (pole vaulters, multi’s, long sprinters)
"Group 2 also used a planned non-linear periodization program. RT program consisted of at least one power exercise daily, three strength exercises and a few local muscular endurance exercises last." (Dombrowsky. 2013)
- Group 3 - general strength training: athletes lifted three times a week and were all anaerobically trained
individuals who also participated in an interval training program, demanding two running workouts per week (all first-year athletes were placed in group 3, as well)
Group 3 also used a planned non-linear periodization program. RT program consisted of at least one power exercise daily, three strength exercises and a few localmuscular endurance exercises last. [...] The first two power workouts (one for upper and one for lower) were done as general strength." (Dombrowsky. 2013)
Training different in the off-season is one thing, but what about combining training style? Is "Cardio in-between weights" a novel solution to the never-ending "before or after"-debate? A study from August 2012 would suggest just that - includes concrete workout suggestions to experiment with (learn more)
- Group one were athletes who’s events were ATP based and had the highest need for quick, powerful movements (5.8% increases between pre and post testing).
- Group two was more anaerobic based and therefore saw a slightly lower increase (2.9% increase between pre and post testing).
- Athletes with a low training age are about to make high performance increases during early development (6.3% increase between pre and post testing)."
Nutritional and other confounding factors
All training sessions were performed under the eyes of the performance coaching staff and accompanied by general conditioning work in the form of linear speed, general conditioning, and sport-specific training during the week.
Moreover, at the end of each strength and conditioning workout a Muscle Milk Collegiate shake was given to each athlete (250 kcal, 7g fat, 28g carbohydrate, 18g protein). Otherwise, subjects followed the individual nutrition plans, which happened to include a "holiday binge" (I assume) on Thanksgiving in week 10 ;-)
|Suggested read: "You Want Maximal Performance & Size Gains + Complete Thigh Development? Then Full Squats are For You!" Learn why trying to impress the bros or girls at the gym by racking and reracking the largest weights is not going to cut it (read more)|
"No matter what the specifics of your athletic goals may be, there is a resistance training regimen out there you can and should utilize at least during the off-season to build the muscular foundation that's necessary to excel in any sports!"
This primer on the inclusion of goal-specific strength training into otherwise sports-specific workout routines is yet obviously valid for everyone from the (semi-)professional athlete and gymrat over the people who "just wanna look good naked" to the baby boomer who realizes that it's about time to make sure he or she won't be sitting in a wheelchair or be sarcopenic and bed-ridden in couple of years: Hit the weights, folks! Now!
- Dombrowsky, D. The Effects of Resistance T raining Prioritization In NCAA Division I T rack and Field Athletes. Master' s Theses. 2013; paper 399.