Strength & Conditioning Workouts

Weights
Dumbbells are a common piece of equipment for strength and conditioning workouts. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Strength and conditioning workout programs play a vital role in the development of athletes in various sports. A structured strength and conditioning workout is designed to develop muscular endurance, strength, power, speed and aerobic and anaerobic conditioning for the specific demands of the sport. By improving these physical skills through a sport-specific workout program, the athlete increases sports performance while reducing the potential for injuries.

Periodization

Periodized workouts are designed to improve overall strength and conditioning throughout the year for athletes playing one or two sports, such as football or basketball. Each phase of the periodized workouts -- lasting two weeks to three months -- focuses on a specific set of physical skills, with a variation of training volume, intensity, exercise type and the overall speed of the workouts.

For example, a football strength and conditioning workout will consist of a preparation phase from January to June focusing on the fundamental physical skills of increasing maximal strength. The second phase takes place from June to August and builds maximal force and velocity of contraction through a high-volume, low-intensity workout schedule. During the season, a competition phase is used to maintain strength and conditioning.

Off-Season Workouts

Off-season strength and conditioning workouts are some of the most important workouts for athletes because they prepare the athlete for the upcoming season. Football off-season strength and conditioning workouts, for example, take place during the summer and typically rotate through a series of four workouts per week for a total of six weeks. Workouts on Day 1 and Day 3 focus on lower body strength and power, with a series of squats including bodyweight squats, front squats, leg curls and calf raises, along with functional upper-body exercises such as pushups and an incline bench press. The second and fourth workouts of the week focuses on upper-body strength with pullups, barbell curls and cleans and pulls.

CrossFit

CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning workout that incorporates weightlifting, bodyweight exercises and running for a total-body workout. Weightlifting exercises focus on multijoint movements such as the deadlift, squat and lunge, with common bodyweight exercises consisting of pushups, pullups, sit-ups and bodyweight squats. Running exercises are commonly performed through intervals -- alternating between work and rest cycles. The combination of these exercises is designed to improve endurance, strength and conditioning while improving overall athleticism by improving balance, coordination and agility.

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