Fast Training Tip: XI

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Summer football workouts are no picnic. In order to get the most out of your summer training you have to be smart and well disciplined. You have to be smart enough to know what and how to train. You have to put your needs in order of priority. If you are a smaller athlete who needs to gain some size you will need to stay in your hypertrophy phase of training longer. If you already have size but need to focus on strength, then you will want to stay in your strength phase longer. This is easier said than done. Training for size is the biggest misunderstood type of training around. Following resistance training, the body adapts by increasing muscle cross sectional area through an increase in the SIZE of actin and myosin filaments. This results in the addition of sarcomeres (the basic contractile package) to existing muscle tissue. It should be noted that there is probably no increase in the actual number of muscle fibers, but rather only an increase in their size. Furthermore, these increases occur in a selective manner primarily to fast twitch muscle fibers and may take as long as eight weeks to become evident.

If you are training for size you will need to do a couple of things: First you have to put your running on hold or at least scale it back. You cannot try to put on size and then go run it off. This does not mean you get lazy; just watch how much running you're doing. Second, you have to train to failure. This is a very difficult thing to do when your rep range is between 8-12 reps per set of a given exercise. This means you have to be precise on the weight that is given. If your set calls for 10 reps, you will need to find a weight that you can lift 8 times with great form and you should have to force out the last 2 reps. So a basic rule of thumb to follow for hypertrophy training is 3-5 sets, 8-12 reps with a 70%-80% load of your 1RM(Rep Max).

One of the biggest mistakes done with training for sizes is exercise selection. When selecting exercises for hypertrophy you have to keep in mind what the goal is, "Training for SIZE!" These will not be the same exercises used to train for performance. This will involve a lot of bigger muscle pushes and pulls (mostly pulls). This will also involve a lot of your basic lifts, nothing to fancy. Squats, pulls and presses. If you have any imbalance's from your right side to left side over a half of an inch, you will want to do some single leg or arm exercises to help even out any of those imbalance's. These imbalances should have been caught in your spring training testing. At FAST we measure our athletes from neck to ankle checking for those imbalances.

The last component to training for size is what you are feeding your muscles. Since protein is required for anabolism, it's crucial that your protein intake be adequate. The general rule of thumb for protein requirements is 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. This means that a 200lb athlete should be consuming 200-300 grams of protein per day spread across 5-6 meals each day (33 to 50 grams per meal). You should consume protein from a variety of sources, including red meat, chicken, eggs, milk, fish, cheese and whey to name a few (the less legs the better source of protein). Many times people will say they just cannot gain weight; well the answer is simple "eat more calories". In order to gain weight, including muscle mass, you must be consuming more calories than you're burning, period. So, if you feel that you're doing everything correctly in regards to training, and you're not gaining weight, try increasing your calories by 200-300 per day.

By following these guidelines you should be well on your way to gaining size for your upcoming season.

One last thing that should you should keep in mind is not to sacrifice weight for performance. A bigger and stronger athlete is better but you still need to be athletic and be able to move. In short don't gain 10 pounds of muscle and run slower.

For future questions or comments please seek out the guidance of a qualified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, NSCA CSCS.


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