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How to Design a Strength Training Program for Your Sport

Designing a strength training program that meets your specific needs and goals is essential for making progress and achieving success in your sport.
Christ Tshiunza in the gym holding weights and exercising as part of an online pt coaching

Designing the perfect strength training program for your sport. Learn how to tailor your workouts so you can excel in your sport, and discover how important it is to track progress to ensure great results.

Designing a strength training program that meets your specific needs and goals is essential for making progress and achieving success in your sport. But with so many different exercises, training methods, and other variables to consider, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Especially with the fitness industry spouting conflicting opinions on social media! In this post, we'll be discussing how to design a strength training program for your sport, and providing tips and guidelines to help you get the most out of your workouts. Read on to learn more!

Whether you're a rugby player or an athlete in any other sport, it's important to have a clear plan in place to maximise your results. Follow our guidance for designing a strength training program for your sport:

1. Identify your specific goals: The first step in designing a strength training program is to identify your specific goals. Do you want to build your power, speed, strength, or all of the above? Are you looking to increase muscle mass or improve your overall functional movement? Without sitting down and considering these goals you will be training with no real purpose or direction.

2. Consider your training volume across the week: If you’re a rugby player and have training Tuesday and Thursday and have a game on Saturday then you will want to get the training frequency right to avoid overtraining or leaving yourself feeling flat for your game. Typically high level rugby training programmes for in-season will be 2-3 days a week in the gym. 2 days of working on your strength and power outputs and potentially a lighter volume power focused day a day or two before game day!

3. Choose exercises that target multiple muscle groups: Compound exercises, which target multiple muscle groups at once, are always going to be the bulk of a strength programme  as they improve strength and power far more effectively than isolation exercises. For example, squats and deadlifts are compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups in the legs and core and back, while bicep curls are an isolation exercise that targets only the biceps. More bang for your buck with compounds movements. We would typically programme compound movements for the bulk of the session with some isolation work to finish off! We’re not saying you shouldn’t be getting some curls in of course!

4. Training variables: Changing up your training variables, such as the number of sets, reps, and rest periods. In a well structured programme you should be following certain rep schemes throughout the weeks and months to ensure progression from different stimulus/intent. However, it's important to find the right balance and not change things too frequently, as it can be disruptive to your progress. There should be a method to this not just randomly changing reps week after week.

5. Incorporate recovery and active rest: Recovery and active rest are important components of any strength training program. You only grow muscle when resting, focus on good sleep, hydration and good nutrition with adequate protein. Be sure to schedule in rest days and incorporate activities like foam rolling and stretching to help your muscles recover and prevent overtraining. We also programme yoga and mobility sessions for our members to help reduce the risk of injury.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can design a strength training program that meets your specific needs and goals and helps you succeed in your sport. Remember, every athlete is different, so it's important to find what works best for you and adjust your program as needed.

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