A biomechanical framework of the training principles to inform exercise selection within strength and conditioning for sprinting
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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An essential component of physical preparation for sprinting is the selection of effective training exercises, with practitioners balancing the key training principles of overload and specificity to inform their decisions. However, exercise selection is often undertaken with little biomechanical underpinning. The aim of this research was therefore to apply biomechanical analyses and dynamical systems theory to advance understanding of the training principles of overload and specificity within exercise selection. To achieve the overall research aim, the biomechanics of a competitive motor task (the block start in athletic sprinting) were investigated in detail (Phase 1. Technique Analysis: Biomechanics) and evaluated against a range of training exercises (Phase 2. Training Principles: Biomechanics Interface) within a sample of national and international male sprinters. A holistic account of the block start revealed novel insight to the key joint kinetic determinants of block start performance, and the emergence of proximal and in-phase extension joint coordination patterns that were linked to task execution. When evaluating training exercises, specificity in joint coordination was demonstrated across both traditionally viewed ‘general’ and ‘specific’ exercises. In addition, all exercises were shown to elicit musculoskeletal overload, although this was shown to be dependent on the biomechanical determinant of performance and individual athlete. The current research encouraged a reconceptualisation of the principle of specificity within exercise selection, by demonstrating that exercise selection should not solely be based on the replication of a competitive motor task. Instead, exercise selection must consider how the musculoskeletal determinants of performance are overloaded, in addition to the replication of task specific coordination patterns. The work of this thesis successfully developed a framework to facilitate evidence-based decisions within exercise selection, by embedding biomechanical analyses and the model of constraints (Newell, 1986), within the principles of training.
PhD Thesis - School of Sport and Health Science
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