Sports Physiology

Effects of Training on Athletes

Sports physiology is the study of the long-and short-term effects of training and conditions on athletes. This specialized field of study goes hand in hand with human anatomy. Anatomy is about structure, where physiology is about function.

Sports Training Principles are heavily rooted in this field. Effects of body composition, flexibility training, hydration, environmental conditions, and carbohydrate loading on athletic performance are only a few of the topics explored in this field.

Exercise physiologists, physicians, and athletic trainers can apply research findings from studies to advise athletes on topics concerning nutrition, sport-related injuries, and other issues related to sports medicine.


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Understanding the internal effects of exercise on athletes sets the stage for designing fitness training programs that prepare them for the physical demands of specific sports. Don't forget, though, that internal changes in athletes' bodies are one piece of the training puzzle.

It is important to know that in order to understand the effects of training, scientists must "zoom in" under lab conditions. Athletes and coaches must consider how well artificial conditions apply to training athletes in the real world. Be careful not to take theories (possible explanations) as the "gospel" when training athletes--always "zoom out" into the real world of competition.

The best coaches read a variety of professional and scholarly resources in the field from publications such as the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, and the Journal of Sport Sciences. After reading the research, practitioners then consider how applications from each study fit with those from other sport sciences, and temper research findings with personal experience and good judgment. (See Research Basics)

Sports Physiology Professional and Scholarly Resources

Professional organizations, such as the American College of Sports Medicine, make "position stands" or "consensus statements" that coaches and athletes can use as guidelines. In this way, facts are summarized and integrated into agreed upon training methods.

If you are interested in learning the facts behind helping athletes reach their highest potential, I highly recommend Dr. Christine Brooks' online course

Training High Performance Athletes

Her interactive, cutting edge delivery format is unparalleled. At $45 for an entire year of access, it is an incredible bargain.

Related Topics:

Aerobic Training

Anaerobic Training

Anatomical Terms of Motion

The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS): Applications for Sports Training

How Muscles Work

Human Muscular System

Types of Muscle Contractions

What is ATP?

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