How to Start Your Winter Training

Beginning your winter program.

 There is no time like the present for setting out ones stall for the 2017 competitive season whether you’re a cyclist, swimmer, runner or triathlete. It’s vitally important each and every year to rest the base for which you intend to perform on. What base is that you ask? Well it’s the base that you will aim to achieve your goals for 2017 on and beyond. Lets take a look at a few things you might need to do in order to have this base in perfect shape.

 Balance Work & Coordination

How many of you have ever completed a balance & coordination session, I bet there are so many of you out there that can’t even skip. Riding a bike and running require various coordination skills. If these skills are poor then you can be guaranteed that your efficiency as an athlete will be reduced. This can be measured by your input to output ratios. If your putting in a immense amount of effort and not going very fast you can be sure that this area of your ability is where some of you problems lie. Balance & coordination exercises can be classified with drills like “one legged balancing & skipping”.

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Proprioceptive Sessions

Proprioception means “sense of self”. In the limbs, the proprioceptors are sensors that provide information about joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension, which is integrated to give information about the position of the limb in space. One particular issue I see with cyclists is there leg extension control in isolation without support. With lack of control at the top and bottom of the pedal stroke indicating a poor muscle firing pattern and reduction of power/force through the leg into the pedal. With correct exercises the proprioceptors can be trained and this will provide fare superior control to the athlete during functional movement while training and competing. Again as in the balance & coordination this will improve the athletes input to output ratios. Exercises typical to proprioceptive improvements include the use of wobble boards and Swiss/exercise balls. A number of balance & coordination exercises will also double as proprioceptor workouts.


Plyometric Workout’s.

These workouts are great for building strength and explosiveness in an athlete. They are generally completed using one’s self-weight. Although I have seen some elite athletes holding medicine balls when they have become exceptionally advanced in their sessions. Simple exercises include jumping from the floor with both legs onto a box approx. 18 inches high. The box height will vary depending on athlete. Forward one-legged hops, lateral one-legged hops are also classed as plyometric. It should be noted that these exercises can be quite demanding and should be started at the low intensity level with care taken on the knees and ankles. As the athlete improves the workouts can progress to moderate and then more advanced.


Putting it all together

Circuit training is a mix of the above and also a few other types of exercising. For a circuit training session to be beneficial to the athlete it needs to be specific to the athlete’s needs and applicable to his/her sport. No point in doing a rugby designed circuit training program if you’re a swimmer. Circuit training routines allow the athlete or coach to create an endless number of workouts and add variety to routine. A good routine will alternate from lower to upper body from plyometric, to isometrics exercises and from balance, coordination to proprioceptive specific tasks. This allows for the intensity to be maintained while providing recovery and maximizing training intensity. Specific routines can also be developed to correct the muscle imbalances that often occur in one-sport athletes who specialize in one type of exercise day after day. Circuit training is ideal for both advanced athletes and beginners because it can be scaled to the ability of the athlete. But again these routines need to be designed correctly or little benefit or even imbalances and injury will occur.

Designing your own Routine

Typically a routine will have 10 to 12 exercises or stations as they are called. Each station will be specific and will have a duration of typically 60 seconds. Rest periods between stations will depend on athlete fitness and competence, ranging from 15 to 30 seconds. The circuit of stations will be completed 3 to 5 times again this number is dependent on ability.


  • Include 10-12 exercise for your sport or requirements
  • Exercise for 60 sec
  • Complete 3 – 5 circuits
  • Do routine 2 – 4 times per week
  • Make sure bands, medicine balls etc. are correct resistance and weight for you
  • As you become more efficient increase resistance or level or exercise.
  • Have a stopwatch


Our advice is to have an appropriate and personal circuit training routine developed for you or your group that targets the sport you compete in. This will develop a strong and powerful base for setting your training on for the 2017 season. It will also correct imbalances and improve weaknesses that can lead to injury during your competitive phase. For more information you can contact us at

About The Athlete Clinic

Coaching & Athlete Services including, Coaching, Fitness & Physiological Testing, Physical Therapy, Orthopaedic Sports Massage & Injury Management, Strength & Conditioning, Athlete & Group Development Programs, Research & Development Programs
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