Exercsie and Physiology Information

Athletic Conditioning
Justin Opal



Coaches used to focus strictly on the fundamental components of fitness including muscular endurance, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Today more and more fitness professionals are applying functional training methods to enhance their sport conditioning programs. Shifting the emphasis from training muscles in isolation to muscles in movement patterns and taking into consideration energy systems stressed and the psychological aspects of athletics. As I like to say everything helps everything, but the closer the training program is to the demands of an athletes sport the great their improvements in fitness will translate to that athlete’s performance in their sport. This is the essence of sport specific training. When it comes to athletic conditioning three aspects of training that should be emphasized above general health and fitness programs are: Bioenergetics of Athletics, Psychology of Athletic Performance, and Appropriate Testing.

Bioenergetics of Athletics
-Bioenergetics is the flow of energy in a biological system
i.e.: macronutrients to biologically useable forms of energy

-Energy stored in the chemical bonds of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is used to power human movement. The replenishment of ATP in human skeletal muscle is accomplished by three basic energy systems.
1. Phosphagen
2. Glycolysis (fast and slow)
3. Oxidative

-All three energy systems are active at any given time. The extent to which each contributes to supply energy depends on intensity and duration.

Duration Intensity Primary Energy System Example Exercise
0-6 sec Very Intense Phosphagen Shot Put
6-30 sec Intense Phosphagen / Fast Glycolysis Repeated Power Lift
30 sec - 2 min Heavy Fasr Glycolysis Mogul Run
2 - 3      

0-6sec Very intense Phosphagen Shot Put
6-30sec Intense Phosphagen/Fast Glycolysis Repeated power lift
30-2min Heavy Fast Glycolysis Mogul Run
2-3min Moderate F+S Glycolysis/Oxidative Downhill Mountain Biking
>3min Low Oxidative 10km Run to Iron Man

Energy System Training Using Intervals
Using intervals as a training method allows appropriate metabolic systems to be stressed. This method is based on the concept that more work can be done at higher exercise intensities with the same or less fatigue than continuous training. One effective way to train aerobic fitness is at high intensities to elevate Lactate Threshold (LT) and the Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation (OBLA). LT is the intensity at which blood lactate begins an abrupt increase above the baseline concentration.
- LT for untrained people = 50 to 60% of max O2
- LT for trained people = 70 to 80% of max O2
OBLA is the second increase in the rate of lactate accumulation at higher intensities than LT.

% of Max Power Primary Energy System Exercise Time Exercise:Rest Ratio
90-100 Phosphagen 5-10sec 1:12 to 1:20
75-90 Fast Glycolysis 15-30sec 1:3 to 1:5
30-75 F/S Glycolysis/Oxidative1-3min 1:3 to 1:4
20-35 Oxidative >3min 1:1 to 1:3

Psychology of Athletic Performance
For any athlete to excel many factors have to be in place such as: technical skills, physical fitness, appropriate rest and recovery, and optimal nutrition. With all of these factors as constants an athlete’s performance can still vary from competition to competition. This is where sport psychology comes into play to help athletes attain more consistent results near their peak performance by managing both their physical and psychological resources to achieve the ideal performance state.

The Ideal Performance State
- absence of fear
- no thinking or analyzing performance
- narrow focus of attention concentrated on the activity itself
- sense of effortlessness or involuntary experience
- sense of personal control
- distortion of time and space, where time seems to slow down

Influence of Arousal on Performance
The inverted U-Theory states that arousal (the intensity of behavior and physiology) improves performance up to an optimal level, above which further increases in arousal are associated with a reduced performance. Some of the factors that influence the optimal level of arousal include:
Skill Level – the more skill an athlete has developed the better he/she can perform during states of less or greater than optimal arousal

Task Complexity – simple skills can tolerate a higher degree of arousal and attention narrowing because they have fewer task-relevant cues to monitor. The more complex the skill is the lower the level of arousal is required to attain the optimal level of performance.

Personality – extroverts are sensory reducers so they need more arousal; introverts are sensory augmenters so they need less arousal.Trait Anxiety – is a personality characteristic, which represents a latent disposition to perceive situations as threatening. The athlete with low trait anxiety can handle higher levels of pressure because of the decreased probability of engaging in task-irrelevant thoughts.

Athletes should use arousal reduction techniques when performing a new skill or one that is complex in nature, and use arousal enhancement techniques when executing simple skills or ones that are well learned. The purpose of using such techniques is to allow the athlete to perform with an unburdened mind while matching his/her mental and physical intensities to the demands of the task.

Appropriate Testing
Testing can help fitness professionals make important decisions when it comes to an athletes program to help them progress at optimal levels. These decisions go hand in hand with the concept of a chain being as strong as its weakest link. Appropriate testing should high light areas that an athlete needs to spend extra attention developing. Testing is also useful in goal setting and tracking progress. When selecting appropriate tests many factors must be considered, such as:

Energy Systems – a valid test must emulate the energy requirements of the sport for which ability is being assessed.

Sport Specific – the more similar the test is to an important movement in the sport the better.

Experience and Training Status – for a well trained, experienced athlete a technique intensive test may be appropriate, but poor technique will impair a less trained athlete’s performance of that test.
Age and Sex – tests must be comparable to an athlete’s physical and mental maturity and abilities.

Environmental Factors – environment must be considered when selecting and administering tests. Aerobic endurance test scores will be lower in a hot, humid climate compared to the same test at a comfortable temp.

Sequence of Tests
Knowledge of exercise science can help determine the proper order of tests and the duration of rest periods between tests to ensure reliability. Here’s an example of an appropriate test battery:
- non-fatiguing tests (stretch, skin fold)
- agility tests (T-test)
- max power and strength tests (1RM)
- sprint tests (50m)
- local endurance tests (1min push up)
- fatiguing anaerobic capacity tests (400m)
- aerobic capacity tests (12min run)

Reference: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 2d ed., by National Strength and Conditioning Association, T.R. Baechle and R.W. Earle (eds.), 2000, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Applied Knowledge
Put together a test battery for a sport of your interest; include the rest periods between each test: