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Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance

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Advanced Weight Training Techniques

How to get significantly more strength, power, speed – and the sports success you deserve.

Dear Athlete,

Nowadays, nearly all athletes train with weights: rowers, runners, footballers, rugby players – even crown green bowlers (for the Manchester Commonwealth Games)!

That’s because, all things being equal, the stronger you are the more power and force your muscles can produce, the less likely they are to fatigue, the faster you can accelerate and move – and the greater your resistance to injury.

But it’s essential you do the ‘right’ weight training for your sport. The ‘wrong’ training could actually detract from your performance – or, worse still, end your sports career.

So my latest Peak Performance Special Report focuses on one core issue: how to ensure athletes and coaches get the best results from weight training for their particular sport.

New advances in sports science have ‘lifted the lid’ on what was once a seemingly impenetrable area, leading to some rather startling conclusions.

Let’s take just one common ‘myth’: the idea that you can’t train for both strength and endurance at the same time. Thanks to new sports science research, we now know you can. And my brand new Special Report tells you how.

It’s this kind of cutting-edge sports science research that you’ll find only in Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance

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To guide you through the research findings, I’ve brought together a select group of experts to answer the most critical weight training questions for you – and in plain, jargon-free English. In particular: how to train for maximum strength and power gains, and achieve your goals in the minimum possible time.

And, crucially, how to apply the latest weight training science to the requirements of your specific sport.

As a registered member of our website, you’re invited to reserve your copy of this brand new special report TODAY at an exclusive discount price – but for a LIMITED time only. (More details on how to get your copy below.)

First let me tell you a bit about the three expert sports professionals who wrote the report for us – each of them specially selected for their first-hand experience in this area of sports performance.

Meet Your Expert Team of Weight Training Advisers

  • John Shepherd MA is an ex-international athlete and coach to internationals. He is also the editor of Peak Performance Premium, and has written 10 books and hundreds of articles on sports training.
  • Tommy Matthews is managing director of the Optimal Life Fitness Group, and specialist fitness and sports training instructor.
  • BJ Rule is a sports and fitness trainer and strength and conditioning coach based in London. He holds a BSc in exercise science and owns and co-founded the trainer education company, Optimal Life Fitness, teaching trainers how to train clients in the use of kettlebells, Olympic weightlifting and boxing. He also runs the One Personal Training Studio in London. BJ has played a wide range of sports, including rugby league (semi-professionally), football and triathlon. He now trains using Olympic lifting, kettlebell sport and boxing methods.

The collective wisdom of these three specialist contributors – each of them highly experienced professionals working with elite athletes across a range of different sports – adds up to several hundred dollars worth of advice and input.

And right now you can get it for a tiny fraction of its real value.

You can be sure their advice is informed, up-to-date – and highly pertinent to all athletes seeking to gain strength, convert this to performance-ready power – and beat their personal best.

Whether you’re an athlete or coach, you’ll find that Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance is packed with plenty of useful, actionable information. Answers to such key performance-enhancing questions as:

  • How can you harness the natural effects of your body’s hormones to boost your power? (pp. 12-14)
  • Which types of weight training exercises raises your Growth Hormone levels – so no illegal drugs required? (p. 16)
  • What are the 4 different ‘types’ of strength – and how do you specifically train for each of them? (p. 21)
  • What’s the relationship between percentage of 1RM and the particular exercise being performed? (p. 25)
  • What does the latest sports science research reveal about the effect of exercise intensity on strength gains – and why is more weight not always better?
  • Why does the optimum recovery period between sets depend on your exercise objectives – i.e. strength vs power – and how do you work out the right path for YOU? (pp. 41-42)
  • Why does the order of exercises in a weights workout have such an impact on outcomes – and what can you do to optimise this? (pp. 42-3)
  • Endurance Athletes! How do you train for strength without undermining your endurance objectives? (pp. 49-50)
  • What are the 5 ways in which Olympic Lifts boost sport-specific power in athletes? (pp. 51-53)
  • What can kettlebells add to your weight training that no other piece of gym kit can? (pp. 67-68)
  • Attention Rugby players! What’s the best way to train for explosive power and much greater strength endurance? (p. 69)

Where else can you find 73 pages of concise, easy-to-read, cutting-edge advice in one place – and all of it based on the very latest sports science research?

Here's what our customers say:

“Peak Performance has meant I can outrun 25 year-olds on the basketball court for over 2 hours (I am 43!) A highly reliable source of information that can explain the science behind improving and sustaining athletic performance without unnecessary technicality.

It certainly makes me sound smarter when I talk about all things related to athletics.”

Sermet Yalcinkaya, Basketball Player, Canada

“Training advice from Peak Performance has helped me to improve by using the correct exercises and strategies. I have also learned to get the maximum training effect with less time spent than in the past.

A must for anyone wanting to keep abreast with the latest knowledge on sports performance.”

Geoff Lienert, Distance Runner, New Zealand

“Academically rigorous, topical, 'elite' standard sports research. Translates research findings into easy to follow, practical, training and racing guidelines and tips.”

Stephen Cardiff, CEO, Masters Swimming Australia

No ‘locker room theories’ here – as you can see! Just practical, proven tips and techniques for peak performance.

So if you’re really serious about achieving your maximum sporting potential, maybe it’s time to take advantage of the latest scientific research into weight training for athletes – and steal a march on your opponents!

Reserve your copy of Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance TODAY, at our special, 42%-discount price.

What’s more, postage & packing is free. And you’ve got 30 days in the convenience of your own home or sports club to decide whether or not you want to keep the book or return it for a full refund.

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Pye
Publisher: Peak Performance

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Maximise your strength gains by harnessing these ‘hidden effects’ of weight training

Weight training has both outward and inward training effects. As coach or athlete you may tend to think only of the former, i.e. the production of greater power producing muscles.

However, a greater understanding of the underlying hormonal responses induced by weight training can be the key to success in the weights room.

Let me explain.

Great care needs to be paid to the design of a weight training programme because the hormonal effects can significantly impact on the amount of lean muscle gains. And this goes a long way to determining your exercise outcomes, affecting your power-to-weight ratio negatively or positively in terms of sport performance, depending on the specifics of the activity.

So the ramifications for athletes and coaches are immense.

That’s why we devote the first section of Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance
to an examination of the interactions between hormones, the endocrine system and weight training.

Our discussion begins with the workings of three key exercise-related hormones:

  • Growth hormone (GH) – GH is released from the anterior pituitary gland in the brain soon after exercise commences; however, the precise effects of this GH release seem to be a function of the age of the exerciser (of which more later). GH is often regarded as the ‘sport hormone’ because it is involved in numerous anabolic functions relating to cell proliferation and division throughout the body. Specifically, GH stimulates bone, cartilage and muscle growth and can play a very significant role in lean muscle mass and fat deterioration/ accumulation. This explains why it has been used as an illegal ergogenic aid. GH release via exercise is also augmented by a further chemical reaction. Basically, hormones that would otherwise act to blunt GH production (eg somatostatin) are suppressed by the production of other chemicals produced during exercise (endogenous opiates).

In short, GH’s ergogenic training-induced effect can contribute toward creating a leaner, stronger, more powerful athlete.

  • Testosterone – Testosterone is produced in men through the testes and in women (though to a much lesser extent) via the ovaries. The primary role of testosterone is to augment the release of GH and to interact with the nervous system. To clarify the latter, hormones can influence mood and behaviour. An increased level of testosterone could, for example, result in greater feelings of aggressiveness/dominance through ‘interpretation’ by the nervous system and brain. The mechanisms behind this process (and other hormonal influences on behaviour) are complex
  • Cortisol – Cortisol is released from the adrenal gland and its levels are also elevated by exercise. Cortisol stimulates protein breakdown, leading to the creation of energy in the form of glucose in the liver. This is not good for those looking to build muscle, as amino acids (released via dietary protein breakdown) become preferentially used for energy production rather than muscle building.

Read Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance and you’ll find out which forms of weight training produces the greatest acute hormonal elevations (notably testosterone and growth hormone). Different programmes encourage a different hormonal response -- with very specific outcomes in terms of both strength and muscle mass. For example, the amount of growth hormone that is produced in an athlete's body can be ‘manipulated’ by performing particular types of weight training workouts.

You'll also learn what Charles Van Commenee (the coach of Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis and now head of UK Athletics’ coaching team) advocates for athletes and coaches targeting peak performance.

We even share the training secrets of triple jumper Jonathan Edwards’ weight training workouts – the ones that helped him to Olympic success and to successive world records in his event.

Our analysis includes such crucial issues as the impact of age and sex on hormonal release – two crucial variables to take into consideration when putting together a weight training programme for athletes.

Not least because older athletes can boost their athletic performance by adjusting their weight training activities along lines that encourage the right kind of hormonal response.

This vitally important chapter ends with a description of individual weight training workouts designed to get the best results for a variety of selected sports, age groups, and across both genders by targeting the elevation of growth hormone in athletes.

It's essential information for any athlete and coach wanting to target peak performance.

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Training for Maximum Strength: do you really need to lift the biggest weight possible?

It’s often thought that to develop maximum strength you need bigger muscles. Of course, this is true to a certain extent, in that bigger muscles can exert more force than smaller ones. However, athletes with the biggest muscles are not necessarily the strongest in terms of maximum lift ability. For example, a body builder may not be as strong as an Olympic or power lifter.

However, body weight is also a crucial determining factor as the lightest athlete may actually be the most powerful/strongest in terms of their power-to-weight ratio. A 70kg athlete who can squat 190kg has a higher power-to-weight and strength ratio than a 90kg athlete whose best squat is 200kg.

To gain strength (and/or size) the weight training system employed must have a significant anabolic effect – stimulating increased muscle growth through the release of growth hormone and testosterone. These workouts also need to target fast-twitch muscle fibre.

So in the next section of Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance we look at the latest research, training theory and methods from a number of sports to determine the best ways to achieve maximum strength.

Our discussion outlines the various different ‘types’ of strength – there are four in all, by the way – and summarises the best way of training for each of them. We also match the different strength types to various sports – so you can check that the kind of weight training objectives you have in mind for yourself, or the athletes you coach, is appropriate to your sport.

Then we delve into the myth and reality of intensity training – workouts that are based on very high numbers of sets and reps. And those that go to the opposite extreme, concentrating all one’s effort in a minimal number of exercise, sets and reps.

We include details of an incredibly tough programme -- currently in vogue in certain bodybuilding circles -- that produces both strength and bulk. Most programs, as you probably know, target one objective or the other. We explain how, and why, this programme managed to achieve both.

We also share with you findings of new research on the impact of rest between sets on the power vs maximum strength issue.

NB: the latest sports science research suggests that many athletes training for power – and their coaches – may be taking the wrong approach to this one...

We also divulge the key to determining how many reps are appropriate for different exercises – the essential point being that some exercises, by their very nature, require more repetitions than others. The underlying principle is a simple one -- yet it is not known by the majority of athletes and their coaches.

You'll find all the answers here in Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance – on page 25.

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Boosting Power: combining weight training with plyometrics for super-charged performance

Weight training on its own will not maximise sports performance – various other training methods need to be coupled with it in a training programme to achieve this.

It is even possible to combine these other training methods in the same workout, in order to create specific training outcomes that can enhance performance to a greater extent than weight training alone. It’s what’s called ‘power combination training -- power-developing workouts that combine weights and plyometric exercises in various ways.

Power combination workouts were greeted with great acclaim when research indicated that they could significantly enhance fast twitch muscle fibre power and therefore dynamic sports performance. However, other recent research has highlighted a number of complications, considerations and new potentialities for this type of workout.

The key physiological vindication of these workouts centres on ‘potentiation’. This references the influence that one training mode can have on another in terms of enhancing fast twitch muscle fibres’ ability to generate greater force more quickly. Initially research focused on the potentiation of the plyometric (jumping) exercise by the weight exercise.

Note: the exercises involved are ‘paired’ and work the same muscle groups, ie the squat and the squat jump, which target similar leg musculature.

Other research has looked in the other direction to see whether weightlifting power could be enhanced by the prior performance of a plyometric exercise – of which more later.

Fast twitch muscle fibre holds the key to increased dynamic sports performance. These fibres can contract two to three times faster than their slow twitch type I fibre counterparts. Type IIb fast twitch fibres, as opposed to type IIa ‘transitional’ fast twitch fibres, are the turbocharger in the power athlete’s engine (note: type IIa fibres can be trained for greater endurance or out-and-out power expression subject to the ‘right’ training).

However, type IIb fibres are notoriously difficult to fully activate. Physiologically there can be a large number of them to only one motorneuron (1:1,000) in their muscle motor unit. A motorneuron functions as a kind of ignition key to its bundle of power-producing fibres. Under normal training and competition situations, ‘turning the key’ requires a highly focused and/or ‘psyched’ mental state. Going through the motions will not excite type IIb fibres sufficiently to achieve a PB weightlift or series of hops. In fact, it’s argued that weight training on its own may only recruit relatively low amounts of type IIb fibre, primarily targets type IIa fibres and actually converts type IIbs to IIas.

This means that a weight training programme for a sprinter, for example, could actually slow them down (type IIa fibres will not produce as quick and powerful contractions as type IIb fibres).

Plyometric training, however, because of its ability to generate huge amounts of force in a split second, is much better at hitting type IIb fibres and therefore increasing speed and force production.

In Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance we explain why the way in which plyometric and weights exercises are ordered in a power combination workouts can have such a significant effect on training adaptation – and how you can make sure you avoid this problem.

In the discussion that follows we identify the key factors that both athletes and their coaches should consider when designing a power combination workout -- it's essential to take these factors into consideration in order to get the best outcome for the athletes concerned.

The analysis also looks at the question of how to use power combination workouts to benefit athletes, not just in the training environment, but in the competitive one as well. We look at some recent research into the effect of pre-squatting on 20 m sprint performance, and on the effect squats head on a very intense 10 second bout of sprint cycling. Both pieces of research concluded that one form of dynamic exercise can be used to prep another.

With that conclusion in mind Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance includes four different practical pre-competition workout suggestions for athletes in a variety of sports.

It’s truly cutting edge stuff for athletes and coaches!

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Weight Training and Recovery: Are you resting too much between sets… or too little?

How long you rest between reps and sets can have more of an effect on maximising your strength and power returns and building lean muscle than you might realise.

That’s because maximum strength is achieved by lifting as heavy weights as possible – 80 to 100% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM) over low (1-4) rep ranges. In contrast, power is generally developed by using medium to heavy weights (60-80% of 1 RM) over medium rep ranges (6-12).

Most coaches will probably argue that both strength and power require relatively long recoveries between sets if the athlete is to achieve ‘maximum strength and power, as well as promoting quality lifting’ with little fade.

However, when pressed as to exactly how long an athlete should recover between sets and reps, coaches are often less sure.

Whereas ‘a couple of minutes’ might be enough for a maximum strength developing session comprising 3 x 3 reps at 90%1RM, will it be enough for a 4 x 10 reps at 75% of 1RM power sessions, where the weights are moved as fast as possible? Some coaches may also argue that a shorter recovery is better, due to a greater hormonal and muscle building response.

Fortunately, for coaches and athletes alike, help is at hand.

Because in Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance we reveal the latest research findings on this core question: Just what is the optimum rest period between sets to derive maximum explosive power and strength from your weight training workouts?

For example, we discuss the findings of some Australian research into the effects that breaking down a 6-rep maximum session (this requires the athlete to lift a load that would induce failure on the 7th rep if performed) into single, double and triple rep sets had on strength gains in 26 elite junior male basketball and soccer players.

To test this, three ‘inter-repetition’ groups were established:

  • Singles group; performed 6 x 1 repetition with 20-seconds’ rest periods between each repetition;
  • Doubles group; performed 3 x 2 repetitions with 50 seconds between each pair of repetitions;
  • Triples group; performed 2 x 3 repetitions with 100 seconds’ rest between each 3 repetitions.

The subjects performed bench presses using their 6RM load and the power output for each repetition was recorded.

You’ll find full details of the research findings on page 41 of Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance

This section of the report also tackles the question of how to determine the right order of exercises in any given workout to achieve maximum benefit from the training. We share with you the findings of recent Dutch research that concluded that both the length of rest periods between sets and programme design can have a highly positive impact on workout gains – or have the reverse effect, if done wrongly….

It’s valuable food for thought for athletes and coaches alike.

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Building Strength versus Building Endurance: can you really achieve BOTH objectives?

While more endurance athletes and their coaches than ever advocate weight training as part of their conditioning programmes, considerable scepticism remains about the direct benefits that the former can have on the latter.

So in the next section of Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance we look specifically at whether weight training has a role to play in the training of an endurance athlete.

Our analysis takes into account recent sports science findings across a number of different sports: university rowers, distance swimmers -- even cross-country skiers, long considered the ultimate aerobic athletes.

The conclusions merit careful and considered reading. Yes, endurance athletes can certainly benefit from weight training -- but only under very specific conditions, and at specific times in the training year.

For example, we present the findings of Canadian research into a group of rowers who underwent five weeks of strength training followed by five weeks of endurance training -- and were rewarded with a 16% increase in VO2 Max and a 27% improvement in lactate tolerance. By contrast, rowers who trained in the reverse order boosted VO2 Max by only 7% and showed no improvement in lactate tolerance.

The explanation? The strength before endurance group gained quality rowing muscle without compromise and were able to use it to run harder and faster, with greater fatigue resistance, during endurance training.

Finally, if you are an endurance athlete you should use weight training to avoid injury, since it is almost beyond dispute that weights and resistance training exercise can protect against injury by strengthening soft tissue.

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The kettlebell: could this ancient, yet often overlooked, piece of gym kit be the key to your weight training success?

The kettlebell has been around for hundreds of years, possibly even thousands – some enthusiasts claim that kettlebells date as far back as ancient Greek times, and were used in the early Olympic Games.

Yet so many weight training programmes nowadays overlook kettlebells, instead favouring exercises that make use of dumb bells and barbells.

But, as the next section of Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance points out, owing to their unusual design kettlebells could be the key to sports-specific power gains for many athletes.

What makes the kettlebell such a great training tool? It’s all to do with the mass of the bell. The external position of the handle creates a longer lever, which is in turn further away from the user’s centre of gravity. This ensures exercises become very dynamic and challenging, recruiting more muscles and importantly the ‘right’ muscles.

When you perform a kettlebell exercise, you experience the bell (the cannonball part) moving around your hand. This creates a very different training effect from that of a dumbbell, for example – one that is not only natural, but also immensely beneficial because there’s sports performance and movement. An athlete (in the widest sense) needs to have many physical qualities and the kettlebell works strength, power, speed, muscular endurance, range of movement and coordination.

Sport is obviously dynamic; we don’t tackle an opponent on a rugby field or throw a punch in the ring slowly. Kettlebell swings, snatches and cleans are all performed dynamically, working at speeds that correspond perfectly to athletic pursuits.

As athletes we are subject to huge forces across our body and often end up in extreme positions that require strength over a huge range of movement. All kettlebell exercises are designed to focus on training the body over this full range of movement. This achieves optimal alignment and maintains balance across the body in all of our kinetic (moving) systems.

In Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance we identify the five key kettlebell exercises, and how they are performed. We also explain the key to choosing the right kettlebell for you. This is essential as a poorly designed one can cause injury and pain. You need, above all, to make sure that the ‘fit’ is right for you. We tell you what to look for.

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Weight Training for Rugby Players: How to become the most powerful player on the field

Rugby is an incredibly tough game and players are becoming increasingly powerful – which makes for some shuddering collisions. Players in all positions are getting bigger, with backs averaging 14-15 stone and forwards 16 stone-plus.

Weight training is therefore a crucial weapon in the player’s training armoury.

So in the final section of Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance we provide a practical example of how to adapt all the weight training information provided in previous chapters to the specific needs of rugby players.

The chapter sets out a detailed programme for increasing bulk and power, using training schedules designed to meet and develop the combative needs of the contemporary rugby player. They detail the strength training workouts that a rugby player could use to increase their power over a 6-week period pre-season and in early season. The workouts involve Olympic lifts, kettlebells and other weights exercises.

The programme is described in considerable detail: which exercises to perform and when; how many sets and reps to perform for each exercise; what percentage of 1RM each exercise should be targeted at; and last, but not least, the specific benefits of each exercise performed.

In short, all the information you need to put a rugby player through a six week weight training programme designed to massively increase his power on the sports field – both in terms of his strength, and his muscular endurance.

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Weight Training Techniques to Maximise Your Sports Performance is one of a series of special reports from Peak Performance, the sports science newsletter. This practical work book is not available elsewhere.

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