Due to the broad spectrum of physical characteristics necessary for success in field sports, numerous training modalities have been used develop physical preparedness. Sports like rugby, basketball, lacrosse, and others require athletes to be not only strong and powerful but also aerobically fit and able to recover from high-intensity intermittent exercise. This provides coaches and sport scientists with a complex range of variables to consider when developing training programs. This can often lead to confusion and the misuse of training modalities, particularly in the development of aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. This review outlines the benefits and general adaptations to 3 commonly used and effective conditioning methods: high-intensity interval training, repeated-sprint training, and small-sided games. The goals and outcomes of these training methods are discussed, and practical implementations strategies for coaches and sport scientists are provided.
The authors are with Dept of Exercise & Sport Science, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.