Personal Training for Track and Field | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Personal Training for Track and Field

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • A strength and conditioning coach may be the best personal trainer for track and field athletes.
  • Workouts should be tailored for the specific sport an athlete intends to compete in.
  • Trainers with a sports background could be highly effective.

Track and field ranks as one of the toughest athletic events to compete in. “Running, jumping, and throwing” generally describe track and field. In addition to running a multitude of different sprints, track and field athletes take part in pole vaulting, high jumps, javelin throws, discus throws, and more.

Not every track and field athlete excels at every competition category, but all competitors do need to be in top physical fitness.

Working with an exceptional track and field personal trainer could definitely assist with getting the body into the right condition for competition. With proper conditioning, an athlete may be able to perform at his or her best at a chosen sport.

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Why Work With a Personal Trainer for Track and Field?

Several good reasons exist for working out with a personal trainer. Improving conditioning and strength tops the list. No athlete can succeed in any given sport when he or she lacks the stamina and cardiovascular conditioning to perform. A runner who “gasses out” won’t cross the finish line first, if at all.

Enhancing strength also plays a major part in athletic achievement. Someone with great strength can perform the shot put a lot better than a person with limited muscular development.

There’s another benefit to boosted strength and conditioning: The chance for injuries decreases. Poor cardiovascular conditioning combined with a weak body raises the chances for an injury when athletes perform under the stress of both training and actual competition. Nothing can be done to guarantee that no injuries occur, but steps can be taken to reduce the possibility.

Which Personal Training Certification Fits With Track and Field?

While no such accredited personal training certificate labeling someone a “Track and Field Trainer” exists, other categories of certification reflect a trainer with solid qualifications. Among the very best would be a certified strength and conditioning coach. This coach’s area of expertise focuses on athletic performance.

A strength and conditioning trainer doesn’t stress aesthetics, as would be the case with weight loss or bodybuilding training. Strength and conditioning coaches work on increasing the human potential so that peak performance can be achieved during competition.

Emphasis would likely be on strength-building compound movements, such as the squat, and cardio builders along the lines of wind sprints. In addition to strength and conditioning credentials, track and field athletes may wish to look at a trainer who also holds the following additional certificates:

  • Fitness Nutrition
  • Functional Training
  • Health Coach

A traditional personal training certificate can still help. A general personal trainer can run a track and field athlete through basic fitness workouts for general health. Specialized training, however, will likely only be gained by working with someone who possesses such specialized skills.

What Type of Experience Should a Track and Field Personal Trainer Have?

A trainer who has worked with track and field athletes in the past fits the most appropriately. A former track and field competitor could be an even bigger plus. If you aren’t sure how to find such a trainer, ask for referrals from your track coaches and any track and field organizations you belong to. Doing so may lead you to the right trainer.

A trainer without direct experience with track and field can still be a good choice. Someone with an athletic background as a competitor or an assistant coach could be more than perfect. Again, the goal of the personal trainer is to help your body develop the necessary strength and cardiovascular conditioning to support athletic performance.

Your track and field coach is the one who provides sport-specific performance guidance. So, the personal trainer plays a supporting role to the track and field coach.

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What Types of Workouts Can You Expect?

The number of different workouts a trainer can run you through varies dramatically based on the specific track and field sport. The trainer also looks at areas of weakness and strength. Knowing what requires improvement allows the trainer to put more emphasis on that particular area. In general, there are a few examples of how a trainer may craft certain workouts.

Exercises for sprinting

Interval training on a treadmill supports increasing cardio. Switching from low intensity to high intensity with 30 seconds low, followed by 15 seconds high, allows not only for overall conditioning but also for developing the necessary burst of energy and speed required to come in first during a tight race. Weightlifting exercises could include leg-focused ones such as:

  • Single-leg body squats
  • Reverse leg curls on a machine
  • Barbell lunges

Exercises for shot put

The arms do play a big role in throwing a shot put. Arms alone, however, can only do so much. To effectively throw a shot put, all the muscles in the body must come together in harmony. Shoulder presses and squats definitely help, but explosive exercises such as a medicine ball push throw would definitely support this activity.

Kettlebell training perfectly ties in the core muscles along with the upper and lower body and does so in an explosive manner. For shot putters and discus throwers, kettlebells can do a lot of good. Anything promoting dynamic movement would contribute greatly to performance improvement.

Exercise for high jump

Plyometric training — exercises based on explosive jumping — would play a major role in any type of high jump preparation regimen. Top plyometric exercises include:

  • Box jump
  • Hurdle jump
  • Depth jump

The act of jumping isn’t the only important component of how to perform high jumps or any other track and field jumps. Landing with balance and without undue stress on the body is important. Effective strength and conditioning coaching builds up the necessary physical resilience to handle this type of impact.

When Is It Best to Work With a Personal Trainer for Track and Field?

Pre-competition training is what most people focus on. They enter into heavy training sessions with the intention of doing well when performance time comes. Working with a personal trainer, however, becomes valuable during the offseason and the post-competition phase.

Training during the offseason keeps you from losing too much strength or cardio conditioning. Staying in top shape during the offseason makes things a lot easier when competition time arrives.

Working out with a trainer immediately after the season ends can help you work on flexibility and other light workouts that won’t tax the body too much. The post-season workout session can help with rehabbing the body after experiencing difficult track and field training.

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