Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Conditioning

When it comes to competing at your physical best, maintaining a high level of fitness is crucial. Being in shape and practicing proper nutrition are fundamental skills that can greatly enhance your performance in sports. Engaging in good, intense volleyball from start to finish requires energy, so it is important to eat well, stay fit, and avoid smoking for the sake of your health, fitness, and energy levels.

Understanding the Energy Systems

The human body uses two systems to generate energy during exercise. For exercises that last over 20 seconds, the body relies on oxygen to sustain aerobic (with oxygen) exercise. Examples of aerobic exercises include long-distance running, swimming, dancing, jumping rope, biking, and cross-country skiing. On the other hand, explosive exercises like jumping and sprinting utilize energy sources that do not immediately require oxygen, known as anaerobic (without oxygen) exercise.

Volleyball, being a sport that requires short bursts of energy over a prolonged period of time, necessitates a conditioning program that combines specific anaerobic movements with an aerobic endurance base. By simulating the movements required in a game situation, you can effectively train both energy systems. It’s worth noting that smoking should always be avoided, as it can undermine your conditioning efforts.

Guidelines for an Effective Conditioning Program

When designing your conditioning program, it’s essential to start easy and gradually increase the level of effort over time. Before embarking on any new program, it is advisable to consult with your doctor or performance coach. Building progressively allows your body to adapt and ensures safe and sustainable progress.

From a daily workout perspective, warming up is crucial before engaging in harder exercises. Begin with a short, easy jog and perform adequate stretches for the main muscles involved in the workout. This warm-up routine relaxes your body and prepares it for the exertion ahead.

Creating a conditioning program that fits into your schedule is also crucial. Consider the time you can allocate for volleyball, taking into account other commitments such as work and studies. If you must choose between volleyball practice and conditioning time, prioritize “playing into shape” by focusing on skill learning workouts. Achieving constant full effort shape takes time, requiring an average of at least 45 minutes of conditioning per day. Ideally, start your conditioning program a couple of months before the first team skill workout.

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It’s important to remember that rest is also an integral part of training. Avoid scheduling conditioning workouts on match days and aim to allow your body to recover fully before engaging in practice. Having a training partner can be beneficial, as you can motivate each other and support one another throughout the process.

To build an endurance base, engage in rhythmic, steady exercises that last for over 20 minutes. This exercise should be performed a minimum of three times a week. Running and aerobic dancing are excellent choices for developing this base. If you choose to dance, try incorporating volleyball-like motions and moves, including jumps, into your routine. For running, focus more on maintaining the exercise for at least 20 minutes rather than the distance covered.

During aerobic training, it is important to maintain your heart rate at 70-83 percent of its maximum rate. Going over this rate is more detrimental than training below it, so maintain a moderate pace, even if it feels slow. The goal is to keep moving at a pace where you could still hold a conversation, regardless of whether you actually do.

Aerobic training yields numerous benefits for your body. It increases muscular strength, endurance, and the strength of tendons and ligaments, thereby reducing the risk of injuries during more rigorous anaerobic and skill training. It also improves cardiovascular and respiratory systems, making your heart stronger and enhancing your body’s ability to supply oxygen, nutrients, and remove waste during muscle activity. Additionally, it helps increase your body’s capacity to burn fat as a fuel source. While athletes with less than 10 percent body fat may not find it as crucial, it remains essential for others who need to reduce body fat for optimal performance. Aerobic conditioning should be maintained throughout the year, as it takes around six months for the enzymes that metabolize fats to reach their peak level.

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Research has shown that after 20 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise, the utilization of fat as an energy source significantly increases. This means that for every minute beyond the initial 20 minutes, more fat is being burned. It is better to have fewer, longer sessions (e.g., three 40-minute sessions) than multiple shorter sessions (e.g., six 20-minute sessions) to maximize fat-burning potential.

As the volleyball season approaches, it’s time to incorporate anaerobic training specific to volleyball into your program. Focus on imitating the explosive movements required in the game, such as attacking and blocking jumps, as well as short dashes to the ball or to your position while covering, playing defense, or saving a teammate’s errant contact. Pay attention to the duration of each exercise, keeping it within 20 seconds of continuous effort at full or nearly full capacity. After each repetition, ensure you have a rest period that is two to three times the duration of the exercise.

It’s recommended to have a rest action during the recovery period that mimics what you would typically do between points in a game, such as walking around. You should aim to perform each rep with good form and, if desired, add weight to your body for added resistance (excluding defensive moves). A homemade weight belt made from a bicycle inner tube filled with sand is an affordable and effective option.

Altogether, a typical preseason training program should include a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises on different days, while allowing for adequate rest and hydration. It’s crucial to modify the program to align with your season practices, ensuring that skill training is never neglected. If you have access to a weight room, consider incorporating strength training exercises for both your upper and lower body. Consult with your coach, fitness trainer, or weight room instructor for a program that suits the available equipment. Specific exercises like spiking arm motion soccer ball throws or using tin cans to simulate the spiking action can further strengthen your skills. Setters can enhance their strength by practicing setting soccer balls without using their legs.

Remember, being fit is an essential aspect of being an athlete, and a well-designed conditioning program will contribute to your overall performance on the volleyball court.

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FAQs

1. Can I start a conditioning program without consulting a doctor or performance coach?

While it is generally recommended to consult with a medical professional or performance coach before starting a new program, it is especially crucial if you have any pre-existing health conditions or injuries. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs and ensure your safety throughout the process.

2. How many times a week should I engage in aerobic conditioning?

A minimum of three times per week is recommended for aerobic conditioning. This frequency allows your body to adapt and reap the benefits of improved cardiovascular health and endurance.

3. Can I combine weight training with my conditioning program?

Weight training can be a valuable addition to your conditioning program, especially if you have access to a weight room. Consult with your coach, fitness trainer, or weight room instructor to develop a program that meets your specific goals and needs.

4. How long should I warm up before attempting the harder parts of my workout?

Aim for a warm-up period of 5-10 minutes before engaging in more challenging exercises. This warm-up should include light jogging and stretching to prepare your muscles for the upcoming exertion.

5. Is it better to have longer aerobic sessions or shorter, more frequent sessions?

Research suggests that longer aerobic sessions, beyond the initial 20 minutes, are more effective for fat burning. It is recommended to aim for fewer, longer sessions rather than multiple shorter sessions to maximize the benefits. However, the total time spent in aerobic training should still be taken into account.

Conclusion

A well-structured conditioning program is essential for athletes looking to excel in their sport. By combining both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, you can develop the necessary endurance and explosive power required for volleyball. Remember to start easy, progressively increase the effort, and consult with professionals when needed. Stay committed and consistent, and you’ll see the positive impact of conditioning on your performance. To learn more about Alpinetgheep and their offerings, visit Alpinetgheep.