As most good coaches know Strengh & Conditioning (S&C) for the Taekwondo athlete is an absolute must in any training programme. Some of the greatest Taekwondo athletes in the world are massive advocates of this discipline including Steven Lopez the 2 x Olympic – 5 x World champion. Every top Taekwondo national team in the world has an S&C coach employing this training methodology… it is just a greatly under used resource at the club and national levels.
Strengh & Conditioning is a very broad term which covers a multitude of different disciplines within sport. S&C within Taekwondo covers and includes some of the following key areas:
- Resistance training – training power, strength, balance, flexibility through a variety of resisted means and ranges of motion.
- Core training – training the “centre” of the body so it works as one and in an efficient manner.
- Cardiovascular conditioning – training the cardiovascular system specifically for the required energy demands.
- Speed, Agility and Quickness training (SAQ) – training to be faster and more explosive through a variety of ranges of motion.
- Periodisation – planning your training effectively through prehabilitation.
- Injury management – through rehabilitation.
A good Strengh & Conditioning training programme will be specifically tailored to the needs of the athlete. There are certain basics though that you will find yourself doing pretty much most of the time. Core lifting exercises such as back squats, dead lifts and bench presses are a must. Theses exercises benefit large areas of the body, one of the goals of any Taekwondo S&C programme.
The other kind of exercises you may do – known as assistance exercises – might depend on your event. For example, for a Taekwondo athlete working the calf muscles is key to get the power you need to kick as effectively as possible. Lighter weighted athletes may focus on certain areas heavier athletes may not and vice versa due to the nature of the game. Any Strengh & Conditioning work has to be targeted like this.
Another area which is underestimated is variety – keeping the mind fresh and being open to new ideas. For example, have you ever considered incorporating working out at the swimming pool into your exercise regime? I am not talking about doing lengths and lengths of breaststroke but actual kicking in the pool. Swimming has the benefit of easing that grind on the joints from weight lifting or running, the traditional cores of most S&C regimens.
On top of all of this an Strengh & Conditioning programme will definitely aid your nutritional weigh loss/gain goals and your flexibility. For example the range of motion and strength gains from the back squat will greatly increase flexibility in your hips and the lean muscle gains from resistance training will fire your body’s metabolic pathway into burning fat found in the adipose tissue and calories from food using the ATP energy systems.
Please let me know what you thought of the article in the comments box and if there’s anything in particular you want to know, feel free to include that too.