Question: what is the best exercise to do for sports

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  1. What training you should undertake depends on the sport. For example if you are competing in rugby you would need to do a mix of training sessions to increase your fitness and strength, plus also develop specific rugby skills. Whilst if you are training for an endurance running event, training sessions would involve a mix of long runs to increase stamina and shorter runs at a higher intensity to develop speed. Weight sessions are also good for most athletes, but again what these sessions consist of depends on the sport you are training for. For example, a heavy load and low repetitions or lighter load with more repetitions depending on whether you would to develop muscular strength or strength endurance.

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  2. This is very much dependent upon the sport, however al sports from the 100m through to the marathon and even soccer require what we term and aerobic base. So this is endurance. So the best way to achieve this is undertaking exercise which uses the same muscle groups as though used in the sport, so you would doing swimming for swimming etc. So the key is prolonged exercise of around 45mins. Intervals will start once this aerobic base has been established.

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  3. It depends on the sport really, and what the requirements of the sport are. The aerobic base (having strong heart and lungs) is important for almost all sports, it is a basic level of fitness. In hockey, even though you never run for 20-30 minutes at the same pace all the time, we did a lot of running training to make people’s hearts and lungs stronger and fitter. To prevent running injuries, it’s important to vary sessions so you don’t end up using the same muscles the same way all the time, so players did 2-3 different sessions in a week and the speed and intensity (how difficult they found it) varied in each session. Being aerobically fit is also very important to be able to cope with being in a hot climate, so this training was very important before we sent teams to Spain or Singapore for competition.

    Most sports will also include lifting weights to make your muscles stronger and bigger (how you set up the session depends on whether you want to make them bigger, more powerful or to be able to keep working for longer-endurance). Lots of athletes now also include things like yoga or Pilates in their training, to stay flexible and to help them relax.

    The important thing to remember when doing a training programme is that you need to give your muscles a rest too to let them recover and get bigger and stronger. Doing different types of training each day is good so you don’t always train the same muscles and overtire them, and our hockey programmes were designed to make sure players always included a day off in their training. We ended up with very fit players with no injuries so it was a system that worked!

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