Frequently Asked Questions

What is conditioning?

Conditioning is a process that prevents injury and improves performance by going from general to sports-specific exercises based on research based conditioning principles, the time year and the training level of the athlete. A good conditioning program is designed to improve an athlete’s skills, prevent injury and allow the athlete to peak at the most important time of year.


What are the components of the conditioning process know as the conditioning mix?

The conditioning process or mix is the sports-specific combination of the physical components of speed, agility, quickness, strength, power, mobility/flexibility and endurance specific to the sport. Added to the mix are factors such as recovery, injury prevention, nutrition, psychological consideration, vision, reaction all dedicated to improving performance.


What is meant by sports-specific conditioning?

Every sport is unique. It has its specific rules, seasons, modalities such as shape and size of the ball and physical demands. Because football is different than baseball the conditioning process needs to be designed specific to the rules and demands of the game or event. An exercise such as a bench press would help strengthen the chest area of an offensive linemen improving performance and preventing injury but if a baseball pitcher did the same exercise it might create shoulder problems leading to potential injury. The bench press is specific to football.


Do I need to do different things at different times of the year?

Conditioning is broken down into three seasons, an off, a pre and in season. Think of it as building a house. In the off-season you lay the foundation. You want a strong foundation to build on. In the pre-season you build on that foundation based on the foundation you’ve laid but only it’s specific to your individual plans and the sport you play. The in-season happens after the house has been build. You need to maintain what you have built to protect your investment.


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I’m an athlete who wants to start conditioning. Where do I start — and at what age?

This is really two questions. The first is where do I start? At the beginning. Keep things simple and don’t worry about buying a bunch of equipment. Start with exercises using your own body weight. Our quick start beginner program instant kit will tell you all you need to know and do to start out right and do it safely. Remember conditioning is a process that evolves as the athlete matures and gets stronger. It isn’t a sprint but a stage race that builds to championships over years not weeks or even months. You can start at any age as long as you can take responsibility and do the program right. It’s called coachability. Having someone supervise you who is qualified to make sure you follow the program correctly is important.


Where can I get qualified help?

Ask a profession what are their conditioning principle based on the sport you play. If they start talking about making you stronger, faster, jump better and have better agility and mobility that’s fine but how does it relate to your sport? Have they had experience in coaching your sport? Knowledge of sports-specific skills is critical in designing a sports-specific conditioning program. If they have a nationally recognized conditioning certification, coached your sport and know how to teach conditioning techniques you’ve got the right person. A good place to start is by asking your sport coach.


I hear a lot about plyometrics, yoga, pilates, core training how does this all fit in?

These are method of conditioning that have their place based on your sport, at what level you are at, time of year and your individual needs and goals. Conditioning is a process and these are tools you can use as part of the process.


What is meant by individualized program and how is it done?

An individualized program is one that is designed specifically to the needs of the athlete. The process of individualization is done by assessing the athlete’s strengths and weakness based in the context of the sport the play, position or event and their level of maturity and development. The assessing process is done by doing a series of simple field test that evaluation the athletic components of the specific sport. For example the vertical jump is important in accessing the volleyball player. In soccer quick acceleration from a stand or jog is important. The tests results are recorded and based on these results the program is designed to improve on the physical weaknesses of the athlete. After the program is implemented the same test are done again to evaluate the progress of the athlete. From here the program is changed or maintained based on the results. We have a vast amount of sports-specific testing information in our achieves.


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What is meant by periodization and what are the basics of designing a good conditioning program?

A good conditioning program has six training variables. These variables when combined will give an exercise and a program in total, its specific training effect or outcome. By changes any or all of these variables the training effect will be changed based on the individual needs of the athlete, and the time of year. This is the process of periodization. Here are the six variables:

  1. choice of exercise: The exercise to be performed. This will determine which muscles will be involved and from what specific biomechical positions. All exercises should be done using correct and perfect technique to prevent injury.
  2. order of exercise: The sequence in which a series of exercises is to be performed. The combinations of sequencing is almost limitless. Sequencing is sometime done in priority, what is most important to do based on the needs of the athlete.
  3. recovery: The amount of rest between repetitions, sets of the same exercise, different exercises and training sessions. Rest can have many different qualities from a passive rest where no activity is done to active rest where an activity of low intensity and general in nature is performed.
  4. volume: the amount of total worked performed for a specific unit of training. The total number of sets and repetitions performed for an exercise is an example of volume.
  5. load: the amount of resistance provided during the exercise. Load can be body weight, environmental (hills) or external (barbell).
  6. intensity: the amount of effort necessary to perform an exercise in a given unit of time. Intensity can be increase by increasing the load factor or by reducing the time factor.


What is the difference between weight training, resistance training, strength training and overload?

overload: The creation of a training situation where addition stress is placed on the body beyond what it is ordinary accustomed to doing. This is the basic principle behind strength training.


weight training: The use of specific tools such as barbells, dumbbells, and weight machines to provide external resistance as overload.


resistance training: The use of any tool including the athletes own body weight, to provide overload.