Jan 29, 2015
Applying the Performance Theory

For more than 50 years, Dr. Bob Ward has been finding better ways to improve athletic performance. But many of his ideas take time and data to implement properly–time and data that a lot strength and conditioning coaches just don’t have.
While walking the aisles of a trade show in Kansas City last year, Ward, who is Director of the Sport Science Network in Dallas and spent 13 years as Strength and Conditioning Coach and Sport Scientist for the Dallas Cowboys under Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry, saw the HiTrainer PRO being demonstrated. He immediately knew he had found the hardware breakthrough he needed to support the Performance Theory first developed by Dr. George Kondraske, Director of the Human Performance Institute at the University of Texas Arlington.

“As with most trade shows, I saw 90 percent of the space taken up by equipment that works on tissue strength and promises more than it can really contribute,” he says. “Then I saw the HiTrainer and I saw the readouts and the measurements it provides in real time that relate directly to what athletes do in competition. I’m constantly searching for new ways to do things more efficiently, and I knew I found one when I saw the HiTrainer.”

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Ward’s application of Performance Theory is based on two simple questions: How much of any given performance resource is enough? And which performance resources are preventing better performance? Rather than assuming that more speed or more strength or more agility is always better, the focus of Performance Theory is identifying the amount of physical resources needed for specific athletic tasks.

“Using a race car as an example, everyone wants a powerful engine so they can go fast,” he says. “But at some point your car goes so fast that it can’t stay on the track. And after you know what that speed is you wouldn’t spend any time trying to exceed it.

“Once you find out what are the most important factors for any specific athletic performance task, you can train more efficiently and not waste time on work that doesn’t help improve results,” Ward continues. “Time is the most important resource we have and we’re wasting a lot of it in training because we don’t consider how much of a performance resource is enough.”

The HiTrainer is a self-propelled sprinting surface device with supports on the front that allow athletes to maintain their drive phase effort throughout an exercise bout. It’s also equipped with data-gathering equipment that can provide strength coaches with real-time readouts for a wide range of performance indicators, from speed and exertion numbers to peak and average power figures and most everything in between. This can help coaches ensure that athletes are working on the resources that will benefit them in competition.

But beyond simply providing better data, Ward says the HiTrainer also excels as a training tool because it allows athletes to train their energy systems in ways they can’t through practice or typical strength workouts. “The circulatory system is like the engine of a car, and if you have a more powerful engine you can accelerate more effectively,” he says.

“The HiTrainer can train the circulatory system and the enzymatic processes to help athletes get the most out of their energy system more efficiently than ever before. They can work at high intensities for longer periods and then repeat those bouts more often than they can out on a practice field.

“I think we’re at a new age of sport-specific training, where we not only better mimic the demands athletes face in competition, but we also load their energy systems beyond those demands,” Ward continues. “And as long we’re focusing on developing the right amounts of the resources they’ll need on the field, they’ll see the performance gains everyone is looking for.”

The HiTrainer is designed for Energy System training and Performance Analysis. It is currently in use in the NFL, MLS, NHL, CFL and University Athletics Departments across the Canada and the US. For more information go to: www.hitrainer.com.

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