What is Sports Performance Training And Why is It Important?

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Last Updated on November 2, 2022 by admin

Sports performance training is a combination of physical and mental exercises to train an athlete for the vigor of their specialty. 

This is a broad definition that takes into account all aspects of performance training, which include:

  • Strength training
  • Restorative and rehabilitative exercises
  • Conditioning
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Techniques and drills specific to the sport
  • Periodization, or scheduling exercises according to their intensities based on whether it is on-season or off-season
  • Nutritional education
  • Psychological training

Performance training utilizes the combined physical data of an athlete to create highly personalized and scientifically approved training methods. The parameters incorporated in designing a training plan include the age, sex, and fitness level.

Sports performance training utilizes the latest techniques developed from the field of sports science and kinesiology. 

In the end, the athlete can use sports performance training to improve in their flexibility, agility, speed, strength, injury prevention practices, and explosive force.

How Sports Performance Training Differs from Personal Training

Sports training and personal training should not be confused with each other. Personal trainers prepare an exercise routine for their client’s general fitness.

With sports performance, the training is engineered for the specific sport a trainee takes part in.

Take a rugby player, for example. In sports performance training, his exercise regime will mirror the movements required in the field.

The trainer will concentrate on the athlete’s reaction time, maneuvering dexterity, core resistance, composure, and intense interval training.

Based on these definitions, personal training has a very limited scope compared to sports training.

Sports Performance Training Techniques

These are general methods of sports training. The training professional customize this workout according to the individual attributes, sport played, and fitness.

Continuous training

This is an exercise regimen designed to develop cardiovascular strength

  • The trainee performs at least 20 minutes of submaximal exercise to determine their maximum oxygen intake. This test also evaluates an athlete’s ability to perform standard tasks.
  • The aim is to achieve a pulse rate ranging between 60-80% of their max heart rate.
  • A combination of running, walking, swimming, and cycling. Alternatively, these drills can be performed as individual tasks.

Fartlek Run

Fartlek is the Swedish word for speed play, and yes, it is as fun as it sounds. It is a type of speed training that features bursts of speed at random intervals.

Fartlek improves speed and endurance.

This exercise is awesome when carried out in a group setting. The runners alternate from easy, to moderate, to difficult, and back to easy.

  • The sudden bursts of speed elevate the intensity levels of this exercise. Running on uneven terrain provides the same effect.
  • You are free to adjust the aerobic and anaerobic exercises according to your capacity.
  • Fartlek runs are excellent for examining your stamina, mood improvement, and to test your mental resolve.

If you exercise this drill in an urban setting, you may be disadvantaged by the absence of uneven terrains.

Interval Training

As the name suggests, interval training exercises feature high-intensity drills alternating with recovery intervals of low activity, such as running up a hill and walking back down.

  • Interval training increases acceleration.
  • High-intensity interval training is one of the best for building perseverance.
  • Interval training builds strength, especially on the legs. 

Weight Training

Weight training is perhaps the most popular workout for strengthening muscle and conserving bone mass.

Lifting weights also helps athletes control their own weight and even regenerate new bone. In addition to this, it will raise your energy levels and improve balance. Weight training is a preventive exercise that will significantly lower the risks of limb fractures due to osteoporosis.

The amount of weight you should carry is not set in stone. However, a good strategy is to save the heaviest weights for last.

Plyometric Training

Plyometric training strains the muscle fibers to their limit. It involves a series of jumping exercises that utilize explosions of energy and exaggerated arm movements.

The muscles extend during a jump then quickly relax when you land on your feet. Muscles and tendons that are not well-developed may snap during this workout. This is why only experts should engage in plyometric training.

Examples include hurdles, standing jumps, broad jumps, and box jumps.

Plyometric exercises are highly effective for storing explosive power in muscle memory.

Flexibility Training

All athletes in any sport must undertake flexibility training, since it is highly effective for injury prevention.

  • Flexibility plays a big role in goal-scoring moments for sports, such as the drop kick in rugby or field goal in football.
  • When you take part in flexibility training, the range of motion in your joints increases. This has the effect of making you a better player.
  • A higher range of motion also means that the limbs can stretch for wider angles without injury.

Flexibility training is grossly underutilized by many athletes, yet the benefits are immense. If you are an athlete, you’ll get a big advantage over others when you safely incorporate stretches into your regimen.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is a high-intensity workout in which an athlete will cycle through as many as 10 exercises, each focusing on a different muscle. There is a narrow recovery window between each cycle.

  • Circuits heavily task your cardiorespiratory system, achieving fitness faster. 
  • It is an efficient way to build muscle strength and test your endurance.
  • In gym settings, there are usually stations for different exercises. The athlete moves from one station to the next. 
  • Circuit workout can be modified to reflect different sports.
  • It is hard to lapse into a monotonous routine with circuit training, so you will never be bored in circuit training sessions.

Yoga, Body Pumps, Pilates, and Spinning Classes

These exercise formats are already popular in their own rights. 

Yoga for athletes builds flexibility, core resistance, endurance, cardio fitness, and body molding. The same can be said of Pilates and body pump.

Spin classes are wildly popular even among regular folks. It is efficient for developing muscle endurance and cardiovascular robustness. All of these workout routines are carried out as group sessions for motivation.


Sports performance training is the quiet worker who lets the results of their work speak for them. All the exercises detailed in this guide are effective for training to improve your fitness and health.