NASM essentials of sports performance training
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NASM essentials of sports performance training


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that can alter neural control to the af-
fected muscles and joints if not rehabilitated properly. 
CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Numerous governmental, health-care organizations, professional medical societies, social organ-
izations, and even special interest groups point out that chronic medical conditions will cost ever
increasing amounts of public and private money for ongoing, and sometimes lifetime, treatment.
Routine care and care of complications from chronic conditions, such as hypertension, hyperlipi-
demia, obesity, osteoarthritis, cardiopulmonary diseases, and diabetes, may well become the
greatest expense a nation can endure. It should not be surprising that many of these conditions
have a lifestyle component that has some influence on the development of the disease and in
many cases the condition begins with the sedentary child, meaning the focus on prevention of
chronic diseases needs to start maybe even as early as elementary school. It is estimated that more
than 75% of the American adult population does not engage, on a daily basis, in 30 minutes of
low-to-moderate physical activity. The risk of chronic disease goes up significantly in individuals
who are not as physically active as this minimal standard (27,28).
MEDICATIONS
Some athletes may be under the care of a medical professional and may be required to use any
one of a variety of medications. It is not the role of a Sports Performance Professional to admin-
ister, prescribe, or educate on the usage and effects of any of these medications. 
The purpose of this section is to briefly outline some of the primary classes of drugs and their
proposed physiological effects (Tables 3.1 and 3.2). The tables are merely intended to present a
simplistic overview of common medications. It is not intended to serve as conclusive evidence re-
garding the medications and/or their effects. For more complete information regarding medica-
tions, contact a health-care provider or refer to the Physician\u2019s Desk Reference.
70 CHAPTER 3
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SPORTS PERFORMANCE TESTING 71
TABLE 3.1
Common Medications By Classification
Medication Basic Function
Beta-Blockers Generally used as antihypertensive (high blood pressure); may also 
(\ufffd-Blockers) be prescribed for arrhythmias (irregular heart rate)
Calcium Channel Generally prescribed for hypertension and angina (chest pain)
Blockers
Nitrates Generally prescribed for hypertension, congestive heart failure
Diuretics Generally prescribed for hypertension, congestive heart failure, and 
peripheral edema
Bronchodilators Generally prescribed to correct or prevent bronchial smooth muscle 
constrictor in individuals with asthma and other pulmonary diseases
Vasodilators Used in the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure
Antidepressants Used in the treatment of various psychiatric and emotional disorders
TABLE 3.2
Effects of Medication on Heart Rate and
Blood Pressure
Medication Heart Rate Blood Pressure
Beta-Blockers T T
(\ufffd-Blockers)
Calcium Channel c T
Blockers 4 or T
Nitrates c 4
4 T
Diuretics 4 4
T
Bronchodilators 4 4
Vasodilators c T
4 or T
Antidepressants c or 4 4 or T
Key: c \ufffd Increase 4 \ufffd No Effect T \ufffd Decrease
Types of Objective Information Provided in the
Sports Performance Assessment
Objective information provides objective, quantifiable data for the Sports Performance Pro-
fessional. This information can be used to compare where an athlete begins with data meas-
ured weeks, months, or years later to look for improvement or deterioration in performance
and to assess the effectiveness of the training program. Basic categories of objective informa-
tion include: 
\u2022 Physiological assessments
\u2022 Postural assessments
\u2022 Performance assessments
Objective
Information
Measurable data about an ath-
lete\u2019s physical state such as
body composition, movement,
and cardiovascular ability.
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PHYSIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS
Physiological assessments provide valuable information regarding the status of the athlete\u2019s over-
all health. Regular assessment of an athlete\u2019s resting heart rate, blood pressure, body fat, circum-
ferences, and body mass index provide constructive information in designing an athlete\u2019s condi-
tioning program. 
HEART RATE
The resting heart rate can be taken at the base of the thumb (radial pulse; the preferred location)
or on the neck to the side of the windpipe (carotid pulse; use with caution). It is best to teach ath-
letes how to measure their resting heart rate upon rising in the morning. Instruct them to test
their RHR three mornings in a row and average the three readings.
RADIAL PULSE
To find the radial pulse, lightly place two fingers along the arm in line and just above (proximal
to) the thumb (Fig. 3.4). After the pulse is felt, count the pulses for 30 seconds and multiply by
two (the first beat counted is zero). Record the 60-second pulse rate and average over 3 days.
Points to consider:
\u2022 The touch should be gentle.
\u2022 The test must be taken when the athlete is calm.
\u2022 All three tests must be taken the same time and surrounding conditions to ensure ac-
curacy.
CAROTID PULSE
To find the carotid pulse, lightly place two fingers diagonally on the neck, just to the side of the
larynx (Fig. 3.5). After the pulse is felt, count the pulses for 30 seconds and multiply by two.
Record the 60-second pulse rate and average over 3 days. Points to consider:
\u2022 The touch should be gentle.
\u2022 Excessive pressure can decrease heart rate and blood pressure leading to an inaccurate
reading, possible dizziness, and fainting.
\u2022 The test must be taken when the athlete is calm.
\u2022 All three tests should be taken the same time and surrounding conditions to ensure accuracy.
RESTING HEART RATE
Resting heart rates can vary between and within individuals. However, on average, the resting
heart rate is 70 beats per minute for a man and 75 beats per minute for a woman. Resting heart
72 CHAPTER 3
FIGURE 3.4 Radial pulse.
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rates become lower as fitness improves and impressively low pulse rates can be seen in en-
durance athletes. Having a stable assessment of resting heart rate may be helpful in monitoring
training status. If the resting pulse rate continues to decline, it might be safe to assume that fit-
ness is improving. A steady climb in pulse rate may be indicative of the overtraining syndrome
(29,30).
TRAINING HEART RATE ZONES
The Sports Performance Professional can also calculate the training heart rate zone in which an
athlete should perform cardiorespiratory exercise. There are many ways to determine heart rate
zones. Create heart rate zones by first estimating the athlete\u2019s maximum heart rate by subtracting
the athlete\u2019s age from the number 220 (220 \u2013 age). Second, multiply the estimated maximum
heart rate by the appropriate intensity (65\u201390%) in which the athlete should work while per-
forming cardiorespiratory exercise. 
Zone One Maximum Heart Rate \ufffd 0.65
Maximum Heart Rate \ufffd 0.75
Zone Two Maximum Heart Rate \ufffd 0.80
Maximum Heart Rate \ufffd 0.85
Zone Three Maximum Heart Rate \ufffd 0.86
Maximum Heart Rate \ufffd 0.90
The heart rate zone numbers should be combined with the various cardiorespiratory assessments
(discussed later in this chapter) in order to establish the appropriate heart rate zone the athlete
will start in. This calculation is a crude average that will most likely have to be modified. Inten-
sity levels may need to be lowered (to 40\u201355% of maximum), depending on the age and physical
condition of the athlete.
BLOOD PRESSURE
Blood pressure measurements consist of systolic and diastolic readings. The systolic reading (top
number) reflects the pressure produced by the heart as