by Thomas Kurz
The time to experiment with new techniques, tactics, exercises, and training methods is long before any upcoming competitions. The appropriate time for experimentation is in the transition period, which follows a competition period, and in the period of general preparation–way before the intensification of training in the sport-specific preparation leading up to competition. In the transition period, a coach analyzes the recent performance to see what changes to make in training for the next competition period. In both the transition period and the general preparation period, the coach has time to try those changes, observe their effects, and make adjustments. During those two periods, athletes get used to new exercises, and the coach learns how these exercises affect the athletes so as to avoid ugly surprises near competitions–such as making athletes sore and slow at the time they should be pain free and fast.
With all that in mind, read a question from a wrestling coach and my answer:
“I posted some questions in regard to squats and time at the [Stadion’s] training forum. Any help you could give me in programming this in would be most helpful. I have Explosive Power and Jumping Ability for All Sports and have read the pages on the squats. Right now for instance the wrestlers are 27 days out from their state competition. Should they be training in the fast zone at this point?”
Do you make your athletes do exercises because you see that they need them or because the exercises are in fashion? In other words, are you sure your wrestlers need the fast squats at all, and in the fast zone too? If yes, do they need them at this time, less than a month before the competition? If yes, can they do these squats without screwing up their wrestling form and condition? If “yes” is the answer to those three preceding questions, then have your wrestlers do those squats.
So much for the large picture and general principles. Now, particulars of fast squats:
If your wrestlers benefited from doing fast squats in the medium speed zone during the general preparation period, then trying the fast zone should not pose a serious risk to their form. After all, those two zones are not far from each other: the shortest duration of the medium zone is more than 8.5 seconds for six reps of squats, and the longest duration of the fast zone is up to 8.5 seconds for six reps. Even the shortest realistic duration of a set in the fast zone is only about 3 seconds shorter than the shortest duration in the medium zone. Further, there is no need to abruptly move from one zone to the top of the next one.
This article is based on Stadion books Science of Sports Training and Explosive Power and Jumping Ability for All Sports. Get them now and have all of the info—not just the crumbs!
If you have any questions on training you can post them at Stadion’s Sports and Martial Arts Training Discussion Forum