Save Your….Energy!

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You thought it was going to say “save your breath,” right? Well, that’s kind of what I meant, but your breath is just one part of it. Read on as I go over the importance of movement efficiency and how improving this leads to better energy utilization and improved performance.

Movement Efficiency

There is not enough words to describe how important it is to be efficient in movement when it comes to athletes. As coaches, we should be striving to improve movement efficiency every day. The reason this is so important is because the body will utilize less energy resources to perform the same competitive movements. This will ultimately lead to improved performance by way of “lasting” longer.

Most people will think of this as increased endurance; however, this concept differs when we are working with different sports. For example, in throwing the hammer, we would not think of it as endurance, per se. We would think of it as being able to perform repeated, high-level, throws in a competition. So, don’t worry so much about the specific name; just know that we are working towards more efficiency (i.e., better technique) with each movement.

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi

Energy Utilization

As our athletes become better at moving, whether it is basic movements or competitive movements, they utilize their energy better. This simply means that they will have more energy stores (whichever system they are using more) left to perform at a higher level for a longer period of time. As mentioned, this could be repeatable, high-intensity efforts (i.e., hammer throw), or one longer-duration, lower-intensity effort (i.e., marathon).

Whichever sport/athlete you are training, you want to ensure proper mechanics with every attempt. Each repetition should be performed with the intent of using maximum effort (as determined by the sport) with the minimum amount of energy needed for that effort.

Anthropometrics

It should be noted that each individual will have movements that they were essentially “made for,” where they will perform better based on the fact that their leverages are better than most. These are the movements that are their strong points and they rarely put time into training. An example would be a Powerlifter with long arms, a normal-length torso, and normal-to-shorter legs, whose deadlift is superb. They are “built to deadlift.”

Conclusion

Work every day at improving your athletes’ movements, whether introductory or complex. If they do not have the proper technique, and there is a weak link along the kinetic chain, their movement will be sub par (lower performance level). You can use basic movement training in warm-ups or on active recovery days for more practice.

Also, be aware of the build of each athlete. They may be better at some movements simply because of their anthropometrics. Those are the movements that need less work, so you can focus on the movements that are not conducive to their build.

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The ideas, comments and materials presented herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion or otherwise.

 

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