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Expert tips on maintaining health and fitness

Improving Sports Performance
o you want to strengthen your skills in golf, tennis, running, cycling or swimming? Your personal trainer can design a sport-specific fitness workout to meet your needs. The following 10 insights from Patty S. Freedson, PhD, exercise physiologist from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, explain why an individualized program is important.

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Why ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) Matters.

Understanding energy systems is crucial to selecting the best sport-specific training activities. Before a muscle can contract, ATP, which is stored or synthesized in muscle cells, must be broken down so that energy can be released. ATP is available from the immediate energy system (also known as the ATP-PC system), the lactic acid system and the aerobic system. Each system’s contribution to ATP synthesis varies depending on the duration and intensity of the sport performed. The immediate energy system is employed during high-intensity, short-duration exercise, such as sprinting or high-intensity muscle contractions. This system is crucial to initiating almost all sports movements. For mid-duration activities, such as running 800 meters (m), the lactic acid energy system is important because it provides a relatively rapid source of ATP. The aerobic energy system provides enough ATP to sustain the muscle contraction required for long-duration, endurance-type exercise, such as swimming 1,500 m. Depending on your sport, you will want to focus on training the corresponding energy system(s).
Different Sports.

Strength training can help you increase club head speed since it enhances aspects of the immediate energy system, which accounts for 95 percent of the energy needed in golf. You can improve the capacity of this system and increase power in your swing by weight training both the lower and upper body, including forearms and wrists. Perform one to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions per exercise, taking 25 seconds or less per exercise set. Better flexibility is also associated with improved golf performance. Flexibility exercises that incorporate all or part of the golf swing may also improve your timing and overall skills.

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Strength Training for Golf.

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Flexibility for Golf.

Endurance Sports. Endurance training for running, cycling and swimming should be sport specific and focus on developing the aerobic energy system. To improve endurance, work out at between 60 and 90 percent of maximal heart rate. Vary the intensity and duration of workouts to improve different energy systems. Training the immediate and lactic acid energy systems may improve your ability to perform at a higher intensity for brief periods within an endurance event.

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Cardiovascular Training for

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Different Energy Systems for

Aerobic conditioning is an important part of your golf training, especially if you walk the course. To improve aerobic capacity, walk briskly for 20 to 30 minutes at least three days per week. Do one of your walks over terrain similar to the golf course where you play most frequently.
Tennis. Because the immediate energy system contributes 70 percent of the energy needed for tennis, exercises should train this system. Ten- to 20-yard shuttle runs and side-stepping drills improve agility; upper- and lower-body training improves power and strength.

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Endurance Training for Golf.

Performing light to moderate resistance exercises (10-15 reps) on alternate training days improves muscular strength and endurance and trains primarily the immediate and lactic acid energy systems. This type of training also improves specific skills, like the kick at the end of a run. Your trainer may include both traditional weight training and sport-specific exercises in your program.
Sports.

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Strength Training for Endurance

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Agility, Power and Strength for

During warm-ups and cool-downs, stretch for five to 10 minutes, emphasizing the legs, arms and back. Again, stretching can help decrease injury risk.
Sports.

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Flexibility Work for Endurance

While tennis uses primarily the immediate energy system, you should also train the aerobic energy system and stretch before and after every workout. Stretching can reduce the risk of muscle pulls and strains.
Training for Tennis.

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Endurance and Flexibility

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This handout is a service of IDEA, the leading international membership association in the health and fitness industry.