Strength Training: Your Secret Weapon for Sport

TAGS: variable recovery, trail run, outside submission, Alwyn Cosgrove, strength and conditioning, intervals, sports, speed, athlete, strength training, training

My thoughts on strength training for sport...

The basic outline is this:

  1. Strength is a cheat code. All things equal the stronger athlete wins. Strength is the reason we don't allow 200-pound adult men to compete on the same playing field as teenage girls. We use strength as our secret weapon.
  2. We express strength in sport in the forms of speed and explosiveness. E.g., in racing, force into the ground leads to a faster performance.
  3. We convert gym strength to sports strength through specific work — for example, in racing, there are high power intervals and hill repeats. This is important. You don't build much strength running hills or intervals. But these sessions allow us to convert the gym strength into applied sports performance.

So my basic outline (for almost all sports) is two strength training sessions per week and two interval training sessions (one speed-based and one hill- or resistance-based).

male athlete runner

 spotpoint74 © 123rf.com

With the intervals, I like to rotate longer and shorter intervals (the different distances and times), but I also rotate fixed work (time) with variable work (distance, however long it takes you, etc.).

Then I rotate between variable recovery (HR) and fixed recovery (time) and a hybrid (e.g., HR plus 90s).

We rotate through those sessions so you only "repeat" a week every third week.

And when you factor in the progressions we have built in, there really aren't any weeks that are the same. The body is continually forced to adapt.

We typically add in an additional adaptation/recovery session that is sports-specific in nature (i.e., a trail run) each week so we can train harder the next week.

And then we tie it all up in a pretty four-week block, after which, we take a deload week.


Alwyn Cosgrove is an international Tae kwon-do champion who has utilized his personal experiences as an athlete and combined them with advanced theories of European Sports Science and the principles of modern strength and conditioning systems. He has worked with a wide variety of clients, including several Olympic- and national-level athletes, five World Champions, and professionals in a multitude of sports, including boxing, martial arts, soccer, ice skating, football, fencing, triathlon, rugby, bodybuilding, and dance and fitness competitions. Follow him on Instagram @alwyncosgrove.

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