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Question
Posted by: Kul | 2006/11/02

Weight Training

Hi,
I've read that if you train more than one "energy system" at a time, your body can get "neuromuscular confused".
If so, if I want to get fit for soccer in 5 months time then I usually start now with aerobic training i.e. fartlek, continous training etc. However, in the off season it is always recommended to train with heavy weights to build gebneral strength.
If this "body confusion" is true, then should I not train with light weights to activate slow twitch fibres which will compliment my aerobic cardio training rather than fast twitch fibres through heavy weight training?

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Our expert says:
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Hi there

I'm not sure about the 'neuromuscular confused' part, but yes, training more than one system at a time does affect the result, mostly because it compromises the effectiveness of the training. I'm a big believer in putting all the eggs into one basket, so that if you are training for speed, then you get it right. If you are training for power, make sure your weights allow it. and if you are training for strength, then you have to ensure that you get the balance right. Any mistake, such as trying to do lift super heavy weights, shifts the focus of the training session away from stamina, towards absolute strength, for example and that means overtraining, risk of injury and poor performance are a step away.

So to answer your specific question,if your focus for the off-season, which is 5 months away (very long, by the way) is to build strength, then your weight training should make use of RELATIVELY light weights. Don't go and use basically no weight at all, because that's not going to deliver any benefit, but don't stack the weights on there to the point that you can do about 3 reps to exhaustion. That comes later! But for now, use weights that you can lift between 12 and 15 times, before you start feeling that you are about to fail. That's about right for strength. If you want to make a mistake, rather be cautious and go even lighter. In a couple of months time, the gains you make in strength will allow you to increase this to a weight that you can lift maybe 8 times, that's a really good strength set, and then very close to the season, you go for the power, which can be any number of things, depending on the specific session. But for now, just stick to a moderate weight, focus on technique and let the weight training complement the aerobic. That means no huge strength gains, but just gradually get stronger.

Good luck

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