What is High-Performance Training and What Are Its Benefits?
If, like many South Africans, you enjoy participating in a sport, it may well be that your reason for doing so is simply that it is a pleasurable means of keeping fit. On the other hand, if it may be your aim to excel at your particular sport, an exceptional level of fitness will be as much a prerequisite for taking part in your chosen activity as a consequence of doing so. Your preparations will need to extend the challenge of a high-performance training regimen in order to promote continuous improvement, rather than simply being designed to get you reasonably fit and then maintain the status quo.
Just how your workout should be composed will, of course, tend to vary considerably according to your choice of sport. For example, the requirements of a golfer will be quite different from those of a tennis player, even though both involve striking a ball. Likewise, those of a sprinter will differ from those of a cyclist or a rower. In each case, different groups of muscles will need to be honed in order to achieve their optimal potential. In practice, this is the continuing goal of a high-performance training programme which, typically, is made up of five main components – each of which has its specific aims.
Of these, the first two consist of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, respectively. The former is directed at maximizing cardiovascular function and exercising the larger muscle groups in the legs for which continuous activities, such as swimming, running, and circuit training, are frequently the preferred choice. By contrast, anaerobic exercises involve high-intensity activities of relatively short duration and are designed to improve the metabolic pathways responsible for the generation and utilisation of energy – an important aim of high-performance training.
To reduce the susceptibility of athletes to various sports injuries, the third component of their workout employs exercises designed to increase flexibility in their joints by strengthening the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Combined with the use of free weights, weight machines, and resistance bands to increase skeletal muscle and strength, this completes the four physical requirements.
The final component, though often overlooked, is equally important and focuses on the nutritional requirements of the athletes that must be satisfied in order to achieve peak activity during high-performance training. This will include a dietary assessment to identify possible deficiencies from which an individualised eating plan is then compiled by an expert nutritionist, including any supplements considered necessary.
While proper nutrition remains essential, the exercise components of this regimen could be replaced with a personalised EMS fitness programme under the supervision of an experienced Body20 trainer.