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©William E. Prentice


When you finish this chapter you will be able to:

  • Identify the concept of periodization and the types of exercise that are performed in each phase.

  • Identify the principles of conditioning.

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

  • Describe the importance of flexibility, strength, and cardiorespiratory endurance in injury prevention.

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

It is obvious that for an athlete to compete successfully at a high level, the athlete must be fit. But it is also true that an athlete who is not fit and fatigues quickly is more likely to sustain an injury.11 Inadequate conditioning is one of the major causes of sports injuries. Improving flexibility, muscular strength, endurance, power, and cardiorespiratory endurance through a well-designed conditioning program can help to reduce the likelihood of injury in the competitive athlete. It is true that when an individual increases the length and intensity of his or her training program, the risk of injury is increased simply because of a longer exposure. However, exercise-related injuries can be reduced by moderating those parameters. When the athlete is fit, he or she becomes more resistant to fatigue and stress. Fitness does not develop overnight. It takes time and careful preparation to bring an athlete into competition at a level of fitness that will preclude early-season injury. Training and conditioning programs should minimize the possibility of injury and maximize performance.


No longer do serious athletes engage only in preseason conditioning and in-season competition. Sports conditioning is a year-round endeavor. The concept of periodization is an approach to conditioning that attempts to bring about peak performance while reducing injuries and overtraining in the athlete by developing a training and conditioning program to be followed throughout the various seasons.28 Periodization takes into account athletes' different training and conditioning needs during different seasons and modifies the program according to individual needs (Table 4–1).

periodization Allows athletes to train year-round with less risk of injury and staleness.

TABLE 4–1Periodization Training

Periodization organizes a training and conditioning program into cycles. The complete training period, which could be a year in the case of seasonal sports or perhaps 4 years for an Olympic athlete, can be divided into a preseason, an in-season, and ...

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