Strength Periodization

Strength Periodization

Understanding Strength Transfer

To address the topic of strength transfer clearly, it’s essential to detach ourselves somewhat from what we’ve already learned and ingrained within training methods. This is crucial to grasp the idea of training based on specific movements. Here, the coach’s role is fundamental in determining how far to progress in the cognitive complexity of the exercise, not only in terms of weight, repetitions, and volume, although these factors are important.

Concepts of Specificity and Transfer

Specifically, we must understand the concepts of specificity and transfer, which are the starting point for standing on strength training theories based on motor learning. The concept of specificity and transfer allows us to design exercises that have a direct impact on improving athletic performance. Transfer, in this context, means that every strength exercise we perform should have a practical application in athletic performance, enhancing the athlete’s neuromuscular performance.

Key Components of Specificity

To understand specificity, we must consider several parameters or guidelines. First, we need to be clear about the sport we are focused on, as the degree of specificity will depend on this. There are several key components to defining specificity:

  • Biomechanical Specificity: The exercise must have some degree of similarity to the movement we want to improve. For example, if we want to improve linear running, the selected exercise should resemble the mechanics of linear sprinting.

  • Intermuscular Coordination: It’s essential to understand how muscle groups interact during a specific motor gesture. For example, in a directional change brake, we need to analyze what each leg, arm, and head does, and how the whole body coordinates in that movement.

Designing Specific Exercises

For coaches, it’s vital to design exercises that focus not only on weight and repetitions but also on improving these specific aspects. Even without access to advanced technologies, such as force plates, isokinetic cones, or inertial devices, it’s possible to use more accessible tools like resistance bands or perform exercises that fit the specific angles and ranges of motion of the sport in question. For example, a unipodal squat can be a good alternative to work on specificity at certain angles.

Enhancing Intermuscular Coordination

Furthermore, it’s important to consider intermuscular coordination. This involves evaluating how muscles coordinate during a movement and adjusting exercises to improve this coordination. This can be done by analyzing the specific movements that need improvement and designing exercises that replicate those actions as faithfully as possible.

Application in Training

Understanding these concepts and applying them correctly in daily training allows strength exercises to not only improve the athlete’s general physical capacity but also have a direct and effective application in performance in their specific sport. This transfer ensures that the time and effort invested in strength training translate into tangible improvements in athletic performance.

Further Learning

If you’re interested in learning more about these concepts and how to apply them in your training, you can subscribe to our membership here.


Carlos Wheeler

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