08 July, 2011
Needs Analysis for Strength Training
Prior to beginning any type of strength--training program, it is essential that you undergo a needs analysis. This analysis will help you determine your current physical condition and help you decide what exercises will best help you achieve your goals. Additionally, a needs analysis aids you in creating clearly defined goals that will help you make the most progress from your training.
The first step in a needs analysis for a strength-training program is to ensure that you are healthy enough for exercise. Have a trained medical doctor evaluate your current physical state, including your blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index and medical history for any potential problems. In the book “Designing Resistance Training Programs,” authors Steven Fleck and William Kraemer also advise that you analyze your injury risk. For example, women have a higher incidence of knee injuries that must be considered.
Whether you are training for a sport or to better perform daily tasks, the exercises in your strength-training program need to simulate the motions you are training for. On his website Sport-Fitness-Advisor.com, certified sports trainer Phil Davies states that a strength-training program may begin with general conditioning exercises, but should eventually transition into exercises tailored to your specific needs. If you need to develop explosive strength, load your exercises with heavy weights and perform short sets, for example.
Because it is easy to injure your body when strength training, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your exercising form before you begin is important. Have a trainer watch your form while exercising to point out any techniques that you may need to improve. If you do not have access to a trainer, use a mirror or visual recording device so you can make the analysis yourself. According to the National Council on Strength and Fitness, carrying out an effective biomechanical analysis will improve the efficiency of your training and reduce your chances for injury.
Choosing the exercises you need to meet your goals is one of the most complex steps of a needs analysis. The American Sports Medicine Institute says to consider a great number of factors, including developing muscles in a balanced way, motion and power specificity and your individual body type. Davies adds that even though you may be training for a specific need, your program should still encompass a full-body training regimen for balance.
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