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Strength & Conditioning at UWE

Over the year I’ll be regularly updating my blog with information of what I’ve been doing in my role in the Strength & Conditioning team at UWE (University of the West of England Bristol).

Since the students arrived back at UWE in mid September the gym has got progressively busier and busier. At this point we have 10 of the universities sports teams in training with each team having 1, 2 or 3 booked sessions per week. 2-3 other sports clubs will potentially be booking sessions and a number of the elite athletes existing from last year have started as well. As you can imagine the diary is becoming pretty busy and we still have a number of new athletes to the elite athlete group EliteUWE to book in who have only just been accepted onto the program.

Unfortunately the vast majority of the athletes return to the university in a deconditioned state so following a movement screening assessment and performance testing session/s they will all begin general strength gym programs aimed at developing their mobility, flexibility, dynamic stability and technical competancy in the basic compound exercises. For me this is the most important phase of the year as it coincides with a drastic increase in their training volume and intensity meaning their risk of injury goes through the roof!! Of course certain coaches still want me to ‘run them until they are sick’ but my priority is managing to get as many through the first month or so uninjured as possible.

The movement screen assessment will involve a number of if not all of the following exercises with the majority of them taken from Gray Cook’s Functional Movement Screen guidelines.

– Overhead squat

– Single leg squat

– Hurdle step test

– Hop and hold

– Rotary stability

– Trunk stability

– Prone hold

Body composition is also an important variable that we will assess and monitor to see changes in bodyweight, body fat and lean mass during the year. This is particularly crucial in the lightweight rowers who have to make weight at certain stages of the year and in specific positions in rugby and amercian football where size and weight can make a huge difference. I also like to assess the athletes strength & power to weight ratios to get a real idea of how their strength and power transfers to their sports.

After the screening and body composition info is recorded performance data is collated with the help of the performance staff. Athletes will be assessed to determine their strength, power, speed, aerobic/anaerobic capacity and agility using a number of the following tests.

– 1 or 3 repetition maximum tests in compound movements. Squats, Deadlift and Bench Press. Only the athletes with the required stability, mobility, strength and technical competance will perform these at this stage.

– Countermovement jump and squat jump with an eccentric utilization ratio score recorded from the 2 results.

– Reactive strength index

– 5m, 10m 20m & 40m sprints

– 505 agility test

– Yoyo intermittent recovery test level 1 or 2

With all this data collected we are then able to get a full picture of where each team is and what they require in their program for the rest of the year. Reassessments of each test will be taken regularly throughout they year to assess the athletes progress and effectiveness of the programs in place. Hopefully throughout the year I’ll be able to continually update you on how things have progressed and what has worked and what hasn’t.

You can find more info about Strength & Conditioning at UWE at the Facebook page…..

UWE Strength & Conditioning (Performance Gym)

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