Doing something efficiently. What does that mean? It means you produce work with the least amount of energy expended. When you look at a company’s ability to efficiently produce a product, it means that the investment of capital, both human and dollars is lower. Henry Ford developed the concept of the assembly line to mass produce cars efficiently.
How does this concept apply to program design and training for sport? You see the result of needs for efficiency in the bodies of world class athletes in different sports. Take a marathoner vs a sprinter. The marathon runner has to produce an average power over 26 miles that is greater than his competitors. The runner must be able to hit the gas and surge at different points in the race and still be able to recover and maintain a pace faster than the other runners. This means that the energy output of the surges and the pacing in between must be produced with the lowest amount of energy expenditure. If the runner is inefficient in producing a surge the subsequent pace would diminish greatly and the race would be lost. In other words, it is not the fastest sprinter that wins a marathon. It is the runner that can maintain the highest percentage of their sprint output throughout the race. This is an example of the efficient production of power in the body.
Marathoner: The body of the marathoner reflects the need for long durations of power produced with the lowest amount of energy expended so that the pace can be maintained over the entire race. That is why the body of a marathoner carries much less muscle mass than a sprinter. The need for efficiency will result in a body that is more efficient.
The Sprinter: Sprinting is an absolute power sport. In other words the need for efficiency is much less. The sport is considered an anaerobic effort. It other words the need to efficiently utilize oxygen is not needed. It is one big burst of power and then it is over.
Now if you start stretching the duration of time past the 10-15 second mark the need for efficiency of power production becomes more important. The 200 meter winner is not always the fastest 100 meter runner. It is the runner that can more efficiently produce the highest percentage of their 100 meter speed.
The body of the sprinter reflects the needs of the sport. Much more muscle. The body of the sprinter reflects the need for short needs of maximum power.
The program design for different sports should reflect this need for efficiency. This applies to all sports. The training needs to be designed accordingly. The differences would be in the movement patterns. Soccer would look different than tennis even though there are some areas of crossover.
So when designing programs look at both the absolute need for power in a movement and the efficiency needed to win. Then look at the athlete and identify the gaps. If your athlete already has incredible absolute power then design should focus on how to improve the efficiency of the power output. This is often overlooked and a lot of time is wasted in the training. Typically the winner of a match is the athlete that can most efficiently produce power for longer periods of time.
Truth in Fitness