Coaching Resource for Developing Athletes

Core Stability and Conditioning for Track & Field

Steve Bennett

To reach their potential an athlete may need to develop:
1. A better postural position. This may involve improving flexibility dramatically and then setting out very seriously to change body position.

2. Higher levels of balance, which is provided by both the nervous system and many fine muscles, positioned near the spine. This system of body position control must be challenged in a variety of ways to develop this area to high levels e.g. Swiss ball, wobble board, Med Ball catching & throwing, foam rollers etc. This is also the way to further re-enforce a better postural position.

3. The qualities of Endurance, Strength & Power in the trunk. There should be much more variety in trunk conditioning than simply sit-ups, crunches and back extensions.

Athletes need to be able to hold their bodies in the ideal postural position for the complete duration of their event. To achieve this goal will require the strength in the right muscles to hold body position as well as the endurance to maintain the position. Athletes like Wilson Kipketer, Hicham El Guerrouge , Marion Jones, Frank Fredericks, Michael Johnson etc. have their trunks conditioned well enough to achieve the goal of maintaining ideal body position for the entire race almost every time they compete.

Paul Check's Swiss Ball Exercises for Athletes Vol 1 - VHS
  Excellent Training Video Series that shows how to train using a Swiss Ball for best effects.

Paul Check's Swiss Ball Exercises for Athletes Vol 2 - VHS
  Excellent Training Video Series that shows a full Swiss Ball workout that is performed using the right methods.

Paul Chek's Scientific Abdominal Training
  The complete abdominal workout that explains the "why," "how" and "what for" of abdominal strengthening.

Awesome Abs : The Gut Busting Selection for Men & Women by Paul Chek
 Awesome Abs is an easy-to-follow guide for all those who yearn to own a full set of healthy, ripped 'n' sexy abs, plus total midsection conditioning. Awesome Abs spells out simply and clearly all the necessary training and dietary secrets to firm and flatten anyone's abdominals no matter how out of shape they may be.

Denise Austin - Mat Workout Based on J.H. Pilates (2000)
  This video contains 2 x 20 minute workouts - They are great to incorporate with other workouts or use alone when time is limited. Workout 1 is all pilates and your abs will feel strong and flat after about 3 sessions. Workout 2 combines yoga and pilates and it is tough!
Stronger Abs & Back by Brittenham & Brittenham.

Has a good variety of exercises and is accompanied by great explanations.

This season, many of the athletes that train here in Sydney with me have followed a comprehensive Core stability & conditioning program. Mostly it has been based on Paul Chek principles allied with some Pilates exercises. To gain the best effects athletes need to think about how they do the exercises and have it impact directly on how they do running drills and also how they run.

Weekly many of the athletes that train with me have done:

- 3 x 20min Swiss Ball conditioning sessions (following Paul Cheks Swiss Ball Video 'Better abs,buns,backs')

- 3 x 20min Pilates (following Denise Austin Pilates floor exercises Video)

- 1-2 x functional Gym Training eg Single leg lifts - all free weights - posture enhancing exercises

Some have also done extra exercises on different days for:

-lower abs eg straight leg lowering - maintaining a neutral posture - 3 x 10 maximal load contractions. The goal is to eventually be able to lower straight legs to floor while maintaining a neutral spinal curve.

-upper abs eg swiss ball crunches with a heavy weight - easy up to 100lb 3 x 8

- external oblique's - across body cable pulls in a standing position eg 3 x 10 both down and across each way then 3 x 10 up and across each way

-back extensors.- hyperextensions on a back extension machine. and also reverse hypers. 3 x 10

For Drills at the Track athletes have simply concentrated on two:

1. Ankling - circular movements of lower leg maintaining dorsiflexion. Do 6-8 of these over 6-8s.

2. Quick Recovery High Knee Running - they catch their leg early bring it rapidly up underneath and keeping their pelvis stable lift their knees as high as they can without 'sitting'. They do these at varying speeds maintaining good form which means no extra bum out or sitting as well as keeping their feet dorsiflexed. They do about 6-8 of these over 6-8s at varying speeds.


The effect, I have noticed usually within a few months is that athletes are moving differently and with improvement of their ability to maintain good pelvic position under conditions of high fatigue. Athletes have had good gains on maximum speed.

Some athletes that had poor speed now have developed much higher maximum speeds. Mostly gained from increases in stride length.

Athlete contact times have noticeably decreased.

All athletes should invest the time to perform a great variety of exercises to improve core stability and posture. My experiences have shown me that it is a very worthwhile exercise. Following video sessions of these types of training is very popular and effective. It is also not that time consuming.

This type of training will well prepare athletes to make extra gains through being able to do more fast speedwork safely with less risk of hamstring injury particularly and will also be a great thing to add plyometric work to.

Body Control: Using Techniques Developed by Joseph H. Pilates
by Lynne Robinson, Joseph Pilates, Gordon Thomson

If you've ever wondered how ballet dancers get that graceful, calm-looking, perfectly postured stance, one of the reasons is a series of exercises named for the late trainer Joseph H. Pilates. Long a staple of dance studios, his techniques are becoming a staple in gyms as well. Body Control provides an excellent introduction to the Pilates method and easy-to-follow instructions for doing them at home, without the need for special machinery that instructors often use. The book describes 40 different exercises and explains how to relax and breathe correctly while doing them. Even more important, it explains what you may be doing wrong (since some of the exercises could worsen a painful condition if done incorrectly). The very clear illustrations, which mix photographs with line drawings, will allow most people to get the hang of it right away. Because it works muscles you may not ordinarily use that much, these exercises take more effort than you might think. And while they don't promise huge muscles, adherents say the method helps them stand up straighter and move more easily, without pain. Nothing can turn an ordinary person into a ballet star, but these exercises could make you almost as graceful as one.




Oztrack E-books

Training Kids for Speed
Contains the very latest Sprint Training Ideas

Modern methods have been adapted into a comprehensive program that is suitable for use with developing athletes of any age.

Learn to run the modern way displayed by Marion Jones , Maurice Greene and other star sprinters.

More information is HERE

Modern Speed Training.

A comprehensive guide to Advanced Speed Training using the latest methods.

This book is by Adrian Faccioni , a highly regarded speed coach and consultant in Australia.

It contains over 135 A4 pages of text plus images. Available only in E-book format.

I believe this is the best book on Speed Training that is currently available. Steve Bennett

More information is HERE

Maintaining Running Form During Middle Distance Racing

Presents a large range of Modern Training techniques that will improve athletes Running Form and help any athlete maintain more speed in the closing stages of races.

Training to improve "ease of speed" is the missing factor in many training programs.

This e-book will help develop the ability to finish races in the way displayed by the likes of Haile Gebreselassie , Wilson Kipketer,Hicham El Guerrouge and Michael Johnson.

The information applies to all athletes that have to run fast while fatigued ie. 200m to Marathon.

More information is HERE



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