In this chapter

- A presentation and description of high force training methods

- Pros, cons, and "when-to" for all methods described

- How to plan the use of these methods in the training of an athlete

The importance of force

Force production is the basis for most sport actions. Without force production there is no movement. We must distinguish between force and maximum strength since both concepts are often mistakenly mixed with one another. Strength is the capacity to produce force during a muscular contraction (Bouchard et al. 1975). Force itself is the result of the tension produced by the muscle, which allows one to fight inertia, move a mass, or accelerate it. Without force production one cannot move his body in space, he cannot overcome an adversary, he cannot accelerate, basically he cannot do anything involving movement.

As a result, it is capital to develop the capacity to create muscular tension and to produce force if one is going to be a successful athlete. The capacity to produce force is often associated with big muscles. While it's true that a muscle has a potential for force production proportional to its cross-section (ultimately to it's size), one cannot dismiss the importance of the neuromuscular factors involved in force production.

The F = ma formula is capital to proper planning of training. Here's how you should understand it.

"The total amount offorce produced by a muscle or a group of muscles is equal to the summation of the force required to move the mass and the force required to accelerate it."

In other words, you need to apply a certain level of force to fight the inertia of a resistance (this is generally equal to a bit more than the weight to be lifted). Then, the more you want to impart acceleration to the resistance, the more additional force you'll need to produce. That's why additional loading is not always necessary or adequate to increase force.

Now, the following graphic classifies exercise methods according to their relative dependence on the acceleration and mass factors. The methods farther on the left are acceleration dominant and become more mass dominant as we go to the right of the figure.

Ballistic — Soeed-streneth — Streneth-soeed — Controlled — Maximal — Suora-max

Ballistic — Soeed-streneth — Streneth-soeed — Controlled — Maximal — Suora-max

The accelerative effort is the main source of force production

The effort to fight the resistance is the main source of force production

The following table expands on the many possible training methods presented in the preceding graph.

Understanding the effect of the F = ma equation is very important for several reasons:

1. It allows one to vary the training methods used to maximize the capacity to produce force.

2. It enables the coach to avoid selecting redundant exercises (several exercises developing the same physical capacities).

3. It makes progression safer. You do not need to constantly increase the load to increase your capacity to produce force; you can improve by imparting more acceleration to the load.

4. It gives you a better understanding of what each exercise can contribute to your athlete's preparation.

Each of these 6 methods and their derivatives have their place in sports training. But that doesn't mean that they should all be used at the same time by all athletes. Remember that athletes have a limited capacity to sustain and adapt to training stress, so it is a mistake to try to invent the "world's best program" by adding a bit of everything that works.

Turbo Charged Fitness With The Tabata System

Turbo Charged Fitness With The Tabata System

The Tabata workout system is a version of the High Intensity Interval Training program developed by Professor Izumi Tabata as training for Olympic speed skaters in 1996. The results studies conducted on the training program confirm that even a four minute cardiovascular exercise routine improves a persons level of fitness.

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