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Develop your own effective training programs

An effective training program maximises your results in the minimum amount of time and with the minimum amount of effort. An effective training program can make the difference between a good athlete and a great athlete. At some stage in your training you will need to start to design your own training programs. You will also need to review and add to or change your program every month or two.

How To Start: Firstly, you need to decide exactly what it is that you wish to achieve. Strength? Fitness? Flexibility? A new move ? Or are you training up for a specific competition or event? Write out a few goals.

Create A Balanced Program: The most effective programs are well balanced and contain all the important elements. Strength training. Fitness training. Flexibility training. Decide How You Wish To Train: For strength training you can use resistance training (lifting weights). You can simply use strength exercises such as press-ups, chin ups, tricep dips, handstands etc. You can also use both in your routine. There are many ways to develop fitness. You can run, cycle, swim, use cardio vascular machines (at the gym) etc. It is best to use several different methods because each one uses different muscles and develops your fitness in a different way. It can also prevent boredom. The best way to train for fitness is to perform movements that are directly applicable to your sport. For example, if you are interested in competition fighting, you must fight! Spar, pad work, bag work or shadow boxing. A lot of fighters make the mistake of spending more time running then anything else. This is great if you are a runner but you need to be more sport specific if you are not. Flexibility training should incorporate stretching your entire body. However, you should mainly focus on your back and legs because more often then not these are the most restricted. Start off with simple stretches and progress to the harder ones. Some days you may be stiff so you should use the stretching to help relax your muscles. Other days you will be flexible so you should increase your stretch as much as possible without injuring yourself.

Putting It All Together: Set out your week Monday to Sunday on paper or computer. Decide when you have time to train and how many days per week you are going to train. Most programs are based on 3 days or 5 days training per week. Fitness, Flexibility and strength training need to be performed at least 3 days per week in order to be of benefit to you. E.g. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The next thing you need to add to your program are practise sessions where you specifically work on your weaknesses and improve your skills. These should not be as physical - Quality not Quantity. These could be performed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This would also provide time for your body to rest and recuperate between the heavier days. Lastly, your body needs rest days so that you gain maximum results from training and you don't burn out. In this example Saturdays and Sundays are the rest days.

The Final Elements: The only other things that you need to worry about while you are on your training program are: adequate sleep and proper nutrition. You may notice that you require more sleep then normal. You should try to get 8 or 9 hours sleep per night. You should also have a set bedtime and a set time for getting up. This trains your body to get used to a healthy sleeping routine. Food intake is the last element. You need proper nutrition in order to gain maximum results from your training program. Stay away from junk food, sugar, salt, alcohol, fatty foods etc. Eat plenty of vegetables & fruit, cereals, brown bread, pasta, rice, chicken, fish and lean meat etc. Grill instead of fry and drink plenty of water.

Finally, you will need to review your training program regularly. As you advance, you will need to add to it or to change it. Show it to qualified professionals and get their opinions. Keep your goals close to your program to remind yourself why you must stick to it. By designing your own training programs, you have full control over your own training. After all, nobody knows better then you exactly what you want to achieve! Good Luck with it.



By Robert Devane