A close friend of mine is to participate in the Around the World yacht race. Could you advise if he should be training in any particular way or can you suggest a training program he could use over the next eight months? I feel there are specific areas he should be working on (i.e., core stability, strength endurance). I have not been approached before to prescribe a program for such a specific and demanding challenge, so I feel the training needs to be right and he needs to be training constructively now.
My friend/client is currently training juniors and seniors as a Dan grade Judo coach. He also regularly races a two man sailing boat with his brother on weekends to practice on the water. He is 35 years old, weighs about 80kg and stands at 1.86m. He has no current injuries or medical problems and is not on medication.
As with any fitness/performance program, one must begin with the Kinetic Chain Assessment (KCA). The assessment should be three fold at MINIMUM:
- Standing postural assessment (see Postural Profile by Lenny Parracino)
- Active ROM assessment (see Muscular Balance or Flexibility Profile by Lenny Parracino)
- Transitional flexibility assessment (see Overhead Squat: Total Body Profile by Lenny Parracino)
The integrated flexibility protocol (derived from the assessment) should be the cornerstone of any program, especially with your client's martial arts background. Many forms of the martial arts encourage extreme ROMs that can cause various degrees of musculoskeletal imbalances. Please read A Simple Guide to Stretching by Lenny Parracino.
In order to get "specific" with your programming, there are several pieces of information you will need to know first. You'll need to determine what is/are your client's main task(s) on the boat. Identify what are the primary:
- types of muscle contractions
- speed/power/endurance needs
Once you have this information and you've completed the basic KCA, I would suggest training him based PRIMARILY on the needs discovered in the assessment (i.e., flexibility, balance, etc.), and SECONDARY on his specific goals (esthetics, endurance, etc.). For a detailed approach on how to begin, please read the article series Essentials of Integrated Training by Mike Clark and Alan Russell, as well as the series on Scientific Balance Training by Paul Chek. These articles will help immensely with your program design and will help greatly in learning how/why to develop balance/REFLEX progressions as your client will have a heavy demand placed on his tilting reflexes while on the water.