Strength and conditioning encompasses a myriad of different disciplines that span across all areas of sports science and sports medicine. 'Comprehensive Strength and Conditioning' provides the reader with a detailed insight into the theory and practice for each respective element of athletic performance and all components of physical preparation for competition. Each chapter begins with a list of learning outcomes relating to the topics covered and all relevant training modes, and concludes with a knowledge review that allows the reader to test their learning. Reflective activities appear throughout the text that help the reader to relate the information presented to their chosen sport. Each section provides a synthesis of the evidence available on the topic and all related training modes, citing the most up to date research literature from all areas of sports science and sports medicine.
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Paul Gamble has worked in elite and professional sport over a period spanning two decades. Paul completed his PhD in exercise physiology in 2005 during which time he worked in professional rugby union with English Premiership side London Irish. Paul has since applied his skills in a broad variety of sports and with athletes of all ages and stages of development, notably serving as National Strength and Conditioning Lead for Scottish Squash. Paul published his first textbook entitled "Strength and Conditioning for Team Sports" in 2009, and “Comprehensive Strength and Conditioning” is the fourth textbook he has written as sole author. Paul has also written chapters in edited textbooks and continues to regularly contribute articles to peer-reviewed publications on an array of topics. Alongside his ongoing work with elite athletes, Paul has retained an involvement in academia and research. In addition to his work in the field of physical preparation Paul is also a track and field coach, holding the highest athletics coaching credential available in New Zealand where he currently resides with his wife Sian.Review:
New Zealand Journal of Sports Medicine Book Review: "Comprehensive Strength and Conditioning provides a superb up-to-date summary of contemporary literature filtered through the lens of a practitioner working in high performance sport.The title is an apt description with most areas of priority for the strength and conditioning coach covered. The introductory chapter effectively sets the tone with a discussion around the science and art of preparing athletes followed by a general overview of key concepts and principles within physical preparation. The subsequent chapters cover: Assessment, Screening and Monitoring; Metabolic Conditioning Physiology and Practice; Strength Training Theory and Practice; Power Development for Sport; Developing Acceleration and Speed; Change of Direction Speed and Agility; Training the 'Core'; Preparing to Train and Compete; Physical Preparation for Young Athletes; Training for Injury Prevention, Management and Rehabilitation; Running Injuries - Mechanisms, Management and Prevention.There are no apparent weaknesses in the content, although the chapters on power development, acceleration and speed are strengths of the book and the author demonstrates extensive knowledge within these areas. It is clear that Gamble has worked to a high level within track and field, and the corresponding chapters skilfully combine traditional training theory with contemporary knowledge. A concept which is examined early on within the piece is the paradox of training specificity and the transfer of training effects. The premise being the apparent antinomy between developing general physical capacities versus developing specific sporting form or skill. This has been an area of recent conjecture within speed development. Some have advocated traditional strength training as being sufficient while others have suggested the sole use of specific 'co-ordination training' in developing the requisite muscle mechanical properties. As is often the case, neither faction is willing to concede much of their position to the other. I believe the author presents a balanced and logical viewpoint informed by an array of evidence and intuition. This is but one example of an important topical issue within the field being examined, the reader will be effectively up to date with contemporary strength and conditioning issues by the conclusion of the book.There is a genuine intent to educate the reader by incorporating learning objectives, reflective activities and knowledge review quizzes. The reflective activities in particular are a novel and effective tool placed strategically following important sections. Rather than seeking arbitrarily selected rote answers they instigate higher order thinking and critical reflection. Accordingly, there are no copy-and-paste answers or training programs throughout the book; the reader is engaged and educated throughout and asked to formulate their own solutions based upon the evidence presented. In this manner, the book demonstrates its superiority as a stand-alone educational resource in contrast to the typical textbook developed to be used alongside an academic curriculum. This is a book with which the reader will most likely want to highlight sections, make notes and refer back to. The Kindle edition is limited in this respect and is challenging to navigate, with the paperback probably a superior, albeit more expensive option. A few figures are placed throughout the book, although many of the key theoretical concepts and exercises would be aided by additional figures or images.In summary, Comprehensive Strength and Conditioning is an excellent resource from a practicing strength and conditioning coach with a rigorous academic background. I'd highly recommend it to anybody involved in the physical preparation of the high performance athlete."
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