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William E. Prentice


When you finish this chapter you should be able to

  • Examine the roles of the athletic trainer and the strength and conditioning coach in getting an athlete fit.

  • Identify the principles of conditioning.

  • Defend the importance of the warm-up and cool-down periods.

  • Evaluate the importance of strength and flexibility and cardiorespiratory endurance for both athletic performance and injury prevention.

  • Analyze specific techniques and principles for improving cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility.

  • Discuss fitness testing and identify specific tests to assess various fitness parameters.

  • Apply the concept of periodization and identify the various training periods in each phase.


  • SAID principle

  • cardiorespiratory endurance

  • training effect

  • target heart rate

  • maximum heart rate

  • Heart rate reserve (HRR)

  • Karvonen equation

  • high-intensity interval training

  • muscular strength

  • power

  • muscular endurance

  • hypertrophy

  • atrophy

  • core

  • isometric exercise

  • concentric (positive) contraction

  • eccentric (negative) contraction

  • isotonic exercise

  • accommodating resistance

  • circuit training

  • isokinetic exercise

  • plyometric exercise

  • blood flow restriction

  • agonist

  • antagonist

  • autogenic inhibition

  • reciprocal inhibition

  • ballistic stretching

  • dynamic stretching

  • static stretching

  • proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF)

Exercise is an essential factor in fitness conditioning, injury prevention, and injury rehabilitation. An athletic trainer working with an athletic population in secondary schools, in colleges and universities, or at the professional level is well aware that to compete successfully at an optimal level, the athlete must be fit. An athlete who is not fit is more likely to sustain an injury. The athletic trainer should recognize that improper conditioning is one of the primary contributing factors to sports injuries. It is essential that the athlete engage in conditioning exercises that can minimize the possibility of injury while maximizing performance.

Lack of physical fitness is one of the primary causes of sports injury.

The basic principles of conditioning exercises also apply to techniques of therapeutic, rehabilitative, or reconditioning exercises that are specifically concerned with restoring normal body function following injury. Athletic trainers providing patient care in a clinic or hospital are more likely to apply these principles to reconditioning or rehabilitation of an injured patient. The term therapeutic exercise is perhaps most widely used to indicate exercises that are used in a rehabilitation program.

Regardless of whether the primary focus is making certain an athlete is fit or reconditioning an injured patient, the athletic trainer must understand the basic principles for improving cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength and endurance, and flexibility.


The responsibility for making certain that an athlete is fit for competition depends on the personnel who are available to oversee this aspect of the athletic program. At the professional level and at most colleges and universities, a full-time strength and conditioning coach is employed to conduct both team and individual training sessions. Many, ...

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