Transfer of Training in Sports

Exercise Transfer in Sports

How movements transfer to athletic performance is part of the evaluation process in exercise selection. The goal of any program is to use exercises with a positive transfer of training. Exercises that relate to the athletic qualities needed for an event will have the highest transfer rate. Modern training programs emphasize the importance of specificity in all phases of development.

According to the text, Super Training, for proper transfer of training, external loads in sport-specific movements need to be carefully monitored for “changes in the center of gravity, moments of inertia, center of rotation, center of percussion and mechanical stiffness of the system which alter the neuromuscular skills required in the sports” (Verkhoshansky & Siff, 2009, p. 27).

Exercise Selection and Exercises Purpose

Every exercise in a training program should have a specific purpose. All exercises that are selected in a training program need to have a positive impact on performance. Choosing the proper training modalities that transfer to the sports movement will improve performance and should be the focus of the program.

Training specificity results in the maximum transfer of gains for improved sports performance.

Training that translates to better performance is more important than improving endurance or getting stronger. Training movements to improve athletic performance require intermuscular coordination between muscle groups and body parts that will transfer to the sport. 

How movements transfer to athletic performance is part of the evaluation process in exercise selection. There are three types of transfer:

Positive Transfer

Increase in one exercise directly leads to improve to another exercise

Neutral Transfer

            Increase in one exercise has no measurable impact on another exercise

Negative Transfer

            Increase in one exercise directly leads to a decrease in another exercise

The goal of any program is to use exercises with positive transfer of training effects to maximize performance.

Exercises that relate to the athletic qualities needed for an event will have the highest transfer rate. 

Transfer and Competition Events

Velocity and Transfer

The specificity of movement and specificity of velocity have the highest transfer of training effect. Because training specificity is critical to performance, the most specific exercises involving the largest muscle groups should be performed at the start of the session.

Muscle Isolation and Negative Transfer

Training isolated muscles contribute little to nothing to success in athletics. In fact, some exercises that isolate muscles can interfere with the coordination of muscle groups resulting in a negative transfer of training. Training isolated muscles or smaller groups of muscles should only be used for injury prevention and management.

It is important to ask questions about what training will work best.

If it doesn’t help you improve performance, why do it?

Shot Put and Transfer of Training

Dr. Bondarchuk developed a correlation system between a competition event and training exercises based on his research. For an exercise to have a positive correlation to the competition event, the exercise must have a correlation coefficient of .375 or higher according to Derek Evely’s training course on the Bondarchuk system. The correlation of different exercises to the competition event will change based on the performance level of the athlete.

According to Dr. Bondarchuk (2007), strength exercises such as the squat and bench correlate higher in the shot put with less skilled women throwers. The correlation between powerlifting movements and throwing drops as the thrower improves performance. The correlation between the 4-kilo shot put and the 5-kilo shot put for women increases with better throwing performance; however, the correlation with the lighter shot put decreases as performance improves (Bondarchuk, 2007).

The conclusion can be made that less experienced throwers need to develop muscular strength and event-specific speed, whereas, elite level throwers need more event-specific strength training. With this type of information, the coach can apply the proper training exercises based on the level of the thrower.

Specific Exercises and Throwing

In the throwing events, throwing heavy medicine ball that is more than the competition weight for stand throws for distance is considered an event-specific strength exercise with a high transfer of training correlation, especially for more skilled throwers. A lighter implement can be used for partial specific movements to increase speed that will transfer better for less skilled throwers based on the research of Dr. Bondarchuk.

Specific Strength and Transfer

Bosch refers to sport-specific strength training as contextual strength training, using movements with the highest rate of transfer to the competition event will minimize interference in motor programming (Bosch, 2015). 

Isolating movements in strength training can improve position specific strength, but it is important to make the connections between the different technical segments and the overall event technique.  

View Digital Track and Field’s Coaching Options