Developing power and monitoring fatigue

Here’s a question I answered from an interview earlier this year on developing power and monitoring fatigue.

Power is vital to keeping athlete healthy and fast, how do you develop lower body power and how do you monitor fatigue? The fine line of being weak or tired from too little or too much is difficult. What are you doing to help manage a nearly overwhelming challenge in soccer.

Mike Young:??Power is definitely one of the more important things I try to maintain throughout the season. Even when opportunities to train are limited (like this month when we have seven games?five of which are on the road), I let our strength values take a hit and place a greater emphasis on power. Research indicates that power indices tend to match up better with performance on the pitch. I really try to keep things pretty simple and limit the amount of variation when in-season to limit soreness and fatigue from novel activities. In addition to sprinting, we?ll also incorporate plyometric activities with complete recovery and some team-friendly explosive movements in the gym [kettlebell swings, medicine ball (multi) throws, jump?squats?with light weight, explosive step ups, etc].

As for monitoring fatigue, this is something that I?ve been able to take to another level now that I?m working with a single team of guys rather than 100+ athletes in different sports. Thankfully, I?ve mentored under some great coaches and I?ve worked with enough elite athletes to have a good feel for the non-training related markers of fatigue. Watching for things like changes in mood, motivation, body language, movement patterns and balance are all no-tech, old-school and pragmatic means of monitoring fatigue. I ?verify? these subjective findings by using a self-made quantitative system that takes the following into account: biomechanical (sprint and plyo volumes, gym intensities) and physiological (Polar T2 heart rate monitoring) training stress, game stress (minutes played and Prozone statistics when available), travel stress, injury profile and player survey data. It?s an imperfect system, but it is evolving rapidly and producing solid indications for when to increase or decrease a player?s training stress and when to incorporate restoration interventions.

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Mike Young

Director of Performance at Athletic Lab
Mike is the Head Fitness Coach for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC. He is also the owner and Director of Performance at Athletic Lab sports performance training center. He previously served as the fitness coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Carolina Railhawks. He has a PhD in Biomechanics, an MS in Coaching Science, and a BSS in Exercise Physiology and has coached Olympic and professional athletes in Skeleton, Track & Field, MLS and NASL Soccer, PGA Golf, NFL Football, MLB Baseball and Olympic Weightlifting. He has lectured around the world and authored 2 books and dozens of research and coaching articles.