The principles of training can be put into the acronym S.P.O.R.T. This stands for specificity, progression, overload, reversibility and tedium. Specificity means that your training has to be specific to the sport or activity you are training for, the type of fitness needed and the muscle groups required. My circuit training will be specific to football, which requires both anaerobic and aerobic fitness. I will exercise my quadriceps, gastrocnemius, and hamstrings.
As the body adapts to training it progresses to a higher levels of fitness, this is called progression. Progression is achieved by gradual increase in intensity. If you build up the stress to quickly, you risk injury or could find the challenge to hard and give up. Most progress is made in the early stages of your training. As you get fitter, it becomes harder to continue at the same rate of progress. When this happens, you reach a plateau. To continue to improve your fitness you have to overload your circuit. When I’m doing my training I will remember that I will progress less after a few weeks of the circuit, this will help me not to lose my motivation as improving fitness becomes more challenging. Once I reach a plateau I will create an overload.
To overload you have to raise your training to a higher level than normal to create the extra demands to which your body will adapt. You can overload your circuit in three ways, using the acronym F.I.T., frequency, intensity and time. You increase the frequency by training more often a week or doing more repetitions of each exercise. To increase the intensity, for example, you can run faster or lift heavier weights. To create extra demands you can also increase the duration of your training. I will overload my circuit using these three ways. For my muscular strength exercises, I will increase the repetitions and lift heavier weights. For my stamina drills I will increase the duration and for speed and agility stations on my circuit I will increase the reps.
All improvements in fitness through exercise are reversible. The effects of your training can deteriorate after a week. This deterioration happens if exercise is reduced in intensity or completely stopped. Strength and speed is gradually lost with muscles losing their tone and size. In many cases when reversibility happens, muscle can turn into fat. Your training must be interesting to avoid tedium. Interest must be kept up to avoid losing motivation and becoming bored. I am going to do this by working opposing muscle groups at each station and having interesting skills exercises in my circuit.
My Circuit This diagram shows each station and the order which I will do them in. I have put my stations in this order so that high intesity exercises (strength, stamina, speed) are broken up by low intesity exercises (agility and skills). This should allow my body to recover from the high intesity exercises, so I can avoid tiredness. I have also designed my circuit so that I don’t work the same fitness factors twice in a row.
My exercises were designed to work on one of these 4 fitness factors: explosive muscular strength, agility, speed and stamina. Some exercises worked on two of these fitness factors. All the exercises, except one, worked on these 3 muscles: gastrocnemius, hamstrings and quadraceptiles. I could tell that these muscles were being worked on because they were more tired than any other muscles in my body. My explosive muscular strength exercises were squat thrusts and step-ups. They worked on strength because I had to lift more than my body weight, as I used weights during these exercises. They worked on explosive muscular strength because the exercises required short, sharp repetitions of movement.
My stamina exercises were skipping and shuttle runs. They involved working at maximum effort for a certain period of time. This helped my stamina by preparing the body for long periods of exercise. My agility exercises were the compass run and dribbling skills exercise. For these exercises I had to be fast and on my toes. My agility improved because I had to continually make short, sharp turns. My speed exercises were the sprints and the shooting skill exercise. These exercises needed short, sharp bursts of speed. This improved my speed because my sprinting technique improved and due to the fact that my body adapted to the demands of sprinting by strengthening muscles.
These fitness tests show that I have improved in all the fitness factors that I set out to progress in. My test results in stamina, explosive muscular strength, agility, speed and co-ordination have all improved. My Bleep Test score has improve by half a level and in the explosive muscular strength test I jumped 10cm further than the pre-circuit test. I knocked a third of a second off my time in both the speed and agility test, after completing the circuit training. I caught a tennis ball 5 times more in my post-circuit tests than in my pre-circuit tests, this shows that I have achieved my goal of improving co-ordination.
My body fat percentage and flexibility stayed the same. I think this happened because none of my training was specific to those fitness factors. In the dynamic muscular strength and balance tests I got lower scores, however, they were only lower by negligible amounts, therefore I don’t believe that my circuit dramatically affected these skills. I made slight improvements in static strength, this perhaps could have been as a result of strengthening my muscles in my explosive strength skills, although the improvement is very small. Overall I feel that I have achieved my goal of improving the fitness factors relevant to football, without affecting other fitness factor.
All the exercises in my circuit, I was capable of doing. However, I did occasionally set targets that were too high or too low for my ability. In the first week, I set targets that were too high, in the compass run and shuttle runs. Although I did achieve these targets I was extremely tired after completing them and this affected other results in my circuit. Week two was successful and all my exercises were at about the right level apart from the skipping, which was too easy target, as I didn’t feel tired after completing it.
For week 3 I had an ankle injury, which hindered me in achieving the targets, I had set the week before in the sprints, shuttle runs, compass run and shooting skills. I don’t think the targets would have been too hard, had I been fully fit, unfortunately the injury I was carrying made it difficult to reach my target. In week 4 my targets were too tough in skipping a, shooting and the compass run. In week 5 I did not find any of the targets too tough but some were not challenging enough. These were the compass run and sprints. In all the instances in which the exercises did not suit my ability, I altered them successfully the next week. Apart from the instances listed above, the exercises matched my ability and this meant that I could make significant improvements in the relative fitness factors.