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

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sion exercises (squats, lunges, step ups, etc.) with little attention to transverse plane, eccentric
function, or the stabilization function of the gluteus maximus. Remember that while muscles can
have some anatomical individuality, they lack functional individuality. 
An integrated sports performance training program will focus on multiplanar training (sagit-
tal, frontal, and transverse) while activating the entire spectrum of muscle contraction (eccentric,
isometric, and concentric) using multiple modalities (free weights, dumbbells, cables, machines,
tubing, medicine balls, etc.) incorporating flexibility, core, balance, plyometrics, speed, agility,
quickness, integrated resistance training, and sports specific conditioning to efficiently and effec-
tively prepare athletes for optimal performance and injury prevention.
Altered Reciprocal
When a tight muscle, for exam-
ple, the psoas, causes decreased
neural drive to its functional
antagonist (gluteus maximus).
When synergists compensate
for a weak or inhibited prime
mover in an attempt to main-
tain force production and func-
tional movement patterns.
Components of an Integrated Sports
Performance Program 
Muscle imbalances and poor flexibility may decrease performance and increase the risk of injury
(33,46,52,61,66). Because static, active, and dynamic stretching all can be effective for improving
range of motion (ROM) (39,67\u201370,77,78), this complete continuum of flexibility training
should be incorporated into a comprehensive training program in order to develop optimum
functional range of motion and neuromuscular efficiency. 
Of the various components that comprise the total physical fitness program of an athlete, car-
diorespiratory endurance, while being probably the most studied, is probably the most misun-
derstood and underrated. Athletes often fail to understand why building a base is so important
to their total training program. Without a proper aerobic base, fatigue leads to a reduction in an
The ability of the
human movement system to
have optimum range of motion
(ROM) as well as neuromuscu-
lar control throughout that
ROM in order to prevent injury
and enhance functional
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Components of an Integrated Sports Performance Program
\u2022 Flexibility Training \u2022 Plyometrics Training
\u2022 Cardiorespiratory Training \u2022 Speed, Agility, and Quickness Training
\u2022 Core Training \u2022 Integrated, Multiplanar Resistance Training
\u2022 Balance Training \u2022 Sports Specific Conditioning
athlete\u2019s performance, increasing the risk of injury. Although Sports Performance Professionals
must be creative in designing cardiorespiratory training experiences for current programs, ath-
letes need to know how to start a safe program that will improve endurance, avoid overtraining,
and minimize the risk for injury.
Core training is the foundation from which a progressive sports performance program is built.
Many athletes have developed the strength, power, and endurance in their prime movers, but
many neglect to develop adequate neuromuscular control, strength, power, and endurance in
their core (43,54,55,59,62\u201364,71\u201376). Core training is a systematic and progressive approach to
develop muscle balance, neuromuscular efficiency, strength, power, and endurance in the core
musculature (1,50,73\u201376). The core has to function optimally to fully harness the strength and
power of the prime movers. A stable, strong, and reactively efficient core should be a cornerstone
in all integrated sports performance and injury prevention programs (73,74,76). 
Balance training is the systematic and progressive training process designed to develop neuro-
muscular efficiency. Balance training, in a proprioceptively enriched environment (e.g., 1\u20442-foam
roll, Airex pad, BOSU ball, etc.), stimulates neuromuscular adaptations (recruiting the right mus-
cles to work at the right time with the right amount of force for the desired outcome), leading to
improved intramuscular and intermuscular coordination. Intramuscular coordination is the abil-
ity of the CNS to improve motor unit recruitment, rate coding, and synchronization within an in-
dividual muscle. Intermuscular coordination is the ability of the entire human movement system
and each muscular subsystem to work interdependently to improve movement efficiency\u2014
another CNS function. Improved intra- and intermuscular efficiency will yield greater recruit-
ment of the agonist musculature and less inhibition (interference) from the antagonist mus-
culature. This will result in greater force production (19,38,45,80\u201382) and injury prevention
Enhanced athletic performance is related to the rate of force production (17) that is regulated
by the CNS. The demands of training should occur at speeds that will be encountered during
functional activities (25) so that the system learns just how rapidly force production will be
required. This means that the human movement system will only move within a defined
range of speeds set by the CNS (25). Most human movement involves the stretch-shortening
cycle where deceleration (stretch) transitions to acceleration (shortening). The human move-
ment system must react quickly following an eccentric contraction to produce a concentric
contraction and impart the necessary force and acceleration in the proper direction (32). Ply-
ometric training overloads the stretch-shortening cycle (e.g., box jumps, squat jumps, hops, etc.)
The Core 
The core is considered as the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex that operates as an integrated functional
unit providing intersegmental stability, deceleration, and force production during athletic activities.
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to enhance neuromuscular efficiency, rate of force production, and reduce neuromuscular in-
hibition by stimulating the proprioceptive mechanisms and elastic properties of the human
movement system (32).
As mentioned earlier, human movement occurs in all planes of motion at varying speeds in re-
sponse to multiple stimuli. The ability to change speed and direction of movement, and appro-
priately react to all given stimuli is often the difference between injury and safety, success or fail-
ure (42,61,84). Improving speed, change of direction, and reaction time is possible through
proper training strategies (41). These strategies have come to be known as speed, agility, and
quickness, or SAQ, training. Each of these abilities is an independent quality, yet is related and
dependent on the other to optimize human function. 
The ability of the neuro-
muscular system to exert force
against resistance.
Integrated, Multiplanar Resistance Training
The world of sports performance and injury prevention is changing drastically. Athletes are big-
ger, faster, stronger, and leaner than ever before. Strength is one of the most important training
components for athletic performance. There are many types of strength, including maximal
strength, relative strength, strength endurance, speed strength, stabilization strength, and func-
tional strength (1,86,87).
An integrated resistance training program makes use of the principles of integrated training
(discussed previously in this chapter) to develop a comprehensive sports performance program
that will ensure each individual athlete will achieve their optimum performance and reduce the
risk of injury. The scientific rationale for integrated resistance training and the NASM evidence-
based application guidelines will be discussed