Training is the process of acquiring or adapting / improving / developing a skill or behaviour.  It encompasses organised activity aimed at imparting information or instructions in order to;

1. improve a person’s performance or

2. achieve a greater level of skill or knowledge

In relation to physiotherapy, exercise or sports medicine, training means stimulating structural and functional adaptations to improve performance in specific physical tasks. Training programmes use a blend of the following elements to achieve focused results

  1. Type of training
  2. Frequency and length of workouts
  3. Intensity, speed and duration of exercise
  4. Repetition
  5. Rest / recovery
  6. Appropriate levels of competition  - graded return to sport

A New Years’ Resolutions may be the first introduction to ‘training’ a person gets

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Principles of Training

The most successful training programmes are carefully planned out and executed.  They are

Training Goals can be adapted and changed as necessary as circumstances, or needs, demand.  

Training usually will begin with general training and move increasingly toward more and more task specific training i.e. in sport / work specific skills.    

Typically training programmes are planned in blocks of time - periodisation -  taking account of what the goals are for that period.   

By benchmarking progress against set goals one can gauge progress and adjust training accordingly.  One can also make informed decisions on return to play / work etc.  

Certain elements of training maybe prioritised over others

Achieving the goals of the training programme helps boost confidence + self belief and improves the likelihood of achieving the ultimate goals of the programme.  Having goals allows an objective review of progress to to be made.             Back to Top

Training Programme

Balance Work

Rehabilitation  (Rehab) is the process of training for recovery following an injury, in order to restore someone to their former functional capacity, or even better.  

The ultimate goal is to return to play, or function, in the shortest possible time or to achieve a standard of performance that is either equal to, or greater, than that which existed pre-injury.    

The ‘art’ of rehabilitation is in using knowledge of tissue healing + recovery to create a programme that takes account of the needs + goals of the injured person, the type + severity of the injury, the social, psychological, physical and environmental resources available to the person.  It is successfully managing these that will provide the best possible outcome.  

The lifestyle factors / demands on an individuals, their self confidence, motivation + fears must be considered when creating a personalised programme for them.  

Each programme should be explained, what is required of the injured person and an estimated timescale set out.  

Precise, clear  guidance must be provided with appropriate monitoring and correction as necessary.  

Rehab can start immediately an injury occurs and may continue long after the person has returned to sport / normal daily life – with maintenance exercises!  

Components of a Rehabilitation Programme may include;


Using the overload principle to increase tissue strength, and stimulating healing in tissues by increasing activity, helps exercised tissues to withstand more stress during activity. Therefore it is important to manage any pain rather than avoiding it in a rehab programme.  

In rehab we try to keep pain symptoms bearable – too much pain + you reduce the exercise load.  If little is felt during or after a session then it is safe to progress the intensity / duration / resistance at the next training session.  

In general it is best to increase only one aspect of the exercise at a time (weight, reps, duration etc) and review the effects during the following hours after the session                        Back to Top

Gym Rehab


running pain

Pain should not be ignored but equally should not deter someone from completing their rehab programme.  

While severe pain can negatively affect muscles some pain may be considered a normal consequence of doing a rehab programme.   


Endurance Training, also known as Aerobic Training,  aims to increase the body’s the ability to use O2 to release energy from glycogen. It has the muscles doing repeated contractions over prolonged periods.  Endurance training should be done alongside strength training.  

Aerobic Training effects are achieved with sub maximal training at an intensity of 70-85% of maximal HR (220 - Age).  

This is achieved with high repetition muscle contraction under low loading i.e. by slow steady running or cycling, swimming, circuit training.  The changes that occur include:

  1. Lower Heart rate
  2. Lower blood pressure
  3. Increased stroke rate and volume

Increased endurance occurs only in the muscles used in the exercise so is specific to the activity and the muscles used and there is no cross benefit to other muscle groups.    Back to Top

Muscle Endurance Training


To improve endurance it is necessary to improve the efficiency of the aerobic energy pathways for fuelling the muscle.  This is measured by VO2max - the maximal rate at which O2 can be consumed which will increase with training.  It can be measured by using Heart Rate (HR) at given exercise intensities.  

This refers to explosive type strengthening exercises.  It is most suitable to those who compete in sport where an explosive movement is an inherent component in the sport activity.  This may take the form of fast speed exercises, fast functional exercises or plyometrics.

Muscle Power Training

Box Jumps

Most people have sufficient strength for every day life without doing specific strength training.  

Initial strength gains from strength training are due to increased activation of the neuromuscular system within the muscles and ‘tone’ them up.  It involves overloading the muscles.

This may be associated with improved body definition and shape. Continued resistance training will eventually lead to hypertrophy  - or an increase in the size of the trained muscles.  It is specific to the trained muscle only.  

The following changes occur with Strength Training

  1. Increased glycogen and protein storage within the muscles
  2. Increased blood flow in the muscle
  3. Increased biochemical activity among the enzymes that release the energy from the fuel stores in the muscle
  4. Increased myofibrils / muscle fibres in action
  5. Recruitment of neighbouring motor units.

There are three types of strength training

Strength Resistance Training

Resistance Training

This training is for the whole neurological control mechanisms of movement.  It can include what is called functional training

It is important in the development of basic motor skills such as learning basic work / sporting skills.  Once acquired a group of skills can then be put together to develop the correct ‘pattern’ of movement.  

Speed and power can be added later as required.

Maintaining control of posture, stability and balance during the execution of the required movement is paramount.  

Normal ‘control’ depends on intact sensory (incoming) signals to the brain from the peripheral joints and muscles, which it then processes before producing the required motor (outgoing) signals to the muscles to produce the movement.  

A problem in either pathway may produce a less than optimal movements.  For example after spraining an ankle, which injures the sensory nerves, the athlete may be unaware their ankle is turning over again and so cannot react in time to prevent it doing so.  With appropriate retraining the motor response could be improved and future injury minimised.  

Progression of this training includes increasing the complexity if the activity i.e. from walking to jogging, to running, to running with a ball, to running in and out of cones with ball, to running and kicking ball at a target, to tackling against an opponent with ball.                                              Back to Top

Neuromuscular Control Training

Balance / Proprioceptive Training


Flexibility training is more than simple stretching which has been controversial for some time.  

Stretching will affect both the muscles and the ligaments.  

Excessive flexibility can be problematic.  Joints that are too flexible (hypermobility) are at higher risk of injury.  Over stretched muscle may become weaker and less effective in producing, or controlling, movements.

Potential benefits include

Flexibility Training should take account of  the following:

Flexibility should be enough to permit normal, safe movements needed for an activity.  Excessive flexibility beyond this would lead to instability around the joints and reduces dramatically the amount of force that an over stretched muscle can exert.

Dynamic stretching is preferred over static stretching prior to training or competing as the latter causes short term weakness in muscles.

Ballistic / bouncing stretching movements in a stretch is normally not recommended unless it is a movements appropriate + specific to that sporting activity. It should always be performed with care.

Flexibility Training

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Speed is largely an inherited ability but it can be improved by training.  Strength and power are key requirements and so speed training will include resistance and power training.  

Increasing stride length & cadence helps increase ground coverage.

Running and technique drills will also help to develop speed.

Agility and reflexive responses are also largely inherited characteristics.  However they do improve with training.  The exercises should be sport/activity specific if possible and reflect the movement patterns used within a sport/activity.         Back to Top

Speed & Agility Training

This refers to training the cardiovascular system, and to get the oxygen to the muscles efficiently and also the transport of the by products of metabolism (CO2, lactate + water) away from the muscles.  

Training can cause adaptation so that more O2 is taken into the bloodstream (deeper and more rapid breaths), so that more oxygenated blood is transported from the lungs to the muscles (deeper and more rapid beating of the heart, opening up of more blood vessels).  The reverse systems will remove the by products of muscle work (water and lactate) as quickly as possible.

Heart Rate (HR) is often used as an indicator of fitness.  

Training can use HR as a measure to of intensity of training. HR based training begins with low intensity / load training but can include other types of training such as anaerobic and aerobic interval training.                                   Back to Top

Cross training in different sports is often used for this type of training to maintain interest and variety in training.

Cardiovascular Training

Steady Running Stability Training Agility drills


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