The general characteristics of the effort in sports

Effort in sports
Effort in sports

The amount of effort – can be programmed and evaluated from two perspectives:

  • by programming and evaluation by coaches and athletes (designed and found);
  • by assessing reactions produced in the body of athletes.

Between the two perspectives is an indestructible relationship. Viewed from the first perspective, it is characterized by indicators such as: specificity, volume, duration, amplitude, density, intensity and complexity, which condition the functional and morphological changes necessary to increase the performance capacity.

To develop it, it is necessary to use stimuli, the characteristics of which are determined on the basis of methodologies that implicitly organize and guide their management.

The specificity of the stimuli is determined by their characteristics and responses to the body systems involved, the psychological qualities of the athlete, age, level of training, their position in the training substructure, ambient conditions, etc..

Volume – represents the total amount of repetition estimated by:

  • distance covered in running, swimming, canoeing, skating, etc.;
  • partial or full execution;
  • executions of the tchnico-tactical structures;
  • complex actions;
  • high weights;
  • working time (actual and breaks);
  • number of training and restoration lessons;
  • number of innings, starts, contests, etc..

The coach and the athlete, however, generate the most important characteristic of the effort, namely the difficulty of training, given by the ratio of work quantity to effort. Complete information is obtained by specifying which of the volume components are required: duration, amplitude or breaks.

The duration of stimulus – is the time that it is acting alone or in series in the training structures. Several researches refer to the duration of “excitation” in resistance training, which must record at least 30 minutes.

For the development of resistance force, it is not advisable to interrupt the effort before the fatigue arises, but it must be continued on the basis of the will, which at the same time realizes the development of this psychic process.

Amplitude or variability of stimuli – is the set of programmed and performed numerical values representing the duration and number of stimuli during a training structure. For example: 2 x 6 x 50 (two halves, six series, 50 repetitions).

Density of stimuli – expresses the ratio of the application time of the stimulus to the resting time on the training structure, being an indicator that complements the image of the volume.

Small densities ensure complete restoration of the body so that the characteristics of the effort and its functional capacity remain unchanged at each repetition.

Large densities do not allow complete restoration, and therefore some discrepancy is created between the characteristics of the effort, which remain unchanged and the continuously decreasing possibilities of the body for the same effort, thus higher functional demands are required.

Frequency of application of the stimulus and frequency of lessons – is given by the number of training units per day, microcycles and midcycles. Thus, an intense and short workout (performed once or twice a day) is more effective than one, placed at longer intervals, totalizing the same task, but with greater amplitude.

Intensity of effort – it is often defined as the amount of mechanical work performed per unit of time.

I emphasize that a clear distinction must be made between the intensity of the effort (which is the characteristic of the labor provided by the subjects, independent of their possibilities) and the intensity of the request (given the functional price paid by the body to make the effort).

– In cyclic sports, the intensity is given by speed.

– In combat sports, the intensity is given by the rhythm and the execution tempo of the lehnico tactical actions (number of actions / minute).

– In team sports, when working for the technique, the intensity is given by the number of technical executions / minute, as in gymnastics.

Effort complexity – is given by the number of driving actions performed simultaneously during an activity and by the “originality of the topological configuration of the elements”.

This dimension increases with the number of elements it constitutes, but also with the unpredictability of the occurrence of another element. Complexity is primarily due to the diversity of simple motor movements that make up a movement, the energy substrate necessary for their deployment, and the number of devices and systems that are contained in the activity.

Effort can be designed as a dynamic and complex system due to the many components that are involved in its deployment. We can thus speak of simple, medium, complex and hypercomplex efforts.

The amount of effort is also appreciated by the dynamics of overcompensation, which is different from one type of effort to another. Some functions have rather short overcompensation periods, others, on the contrary, are significant after 25-40 days.

This dynamic is important to be known because it is the basis for programming sports training sessions.

For example: phosphocreatine recovers in about 30 minutes after an intense effort; glycogen after 2-3 hours, and protein metabolism after 36-38 hours – that is why within a week, in most sporting disciplines, 3-4 strength training sessions are scheduled, but not all at full capacity.

Heart rate values are important, directly give us particularly useful data on cardio-circulatory functions, but also indirectly reflecting the level of functionality of other devices and systems.

The “external” and “internal” indicators are closely related to each other and must therefore be interpolated in correlation. The ratio between internal and external parameters is different for athletes with different classification classes, which vary according to individual peculiarities .

Performing the same effort, in terms of volume and intensity, causes various reactions in different moments of training, under stress or rest, as well as changing exercise conditions, such as training at altitude, the use of technical means or procedures with different restrictions .

Effort orientation – In sports training it is very important to know the sources of energy, respectively the percentage of aerobic-anaerobic processes, in order to conceive training programs that will lead to their growth.

The planning of intensive, dynamic and short-term stimuli (maximal tasks) develops the intra- and intermuscular coordination capacity, the muscles being adapted by increasing the cross-section of its fibers and implicitly the contraction force.

Parallel increases the metabolic capacity of the anaerobic alactacid, by increasing the ATP and creatine phosphate muscular deposits, but also by enhancing enzyme activity called creatine kinase.

Extensive efforts increase the number and size of mitochondria in muscle fibers, increase the maximum oxygen consumption, and intensify the oxidation of fats, which serve as a major source of muscle nutrition during long-lasting effort.

After the complexity of coordination, involved in performing the technical procedures, efforts can be made under stereotyped or highly coordinated conditions, by applying the procedures under various conditions.

The effort orientation is also determined by the particularities of the application and the order of combining the characteristics of duration, intensity, character of exercises, pauses, the number of repetitions in various moments of lessons, days, microcycles, etc.

Efforts or complex selected orientation is performed differently, depending on the structure of planning.

Type of effort – Efforts used to prepare athletes may be specific and unspecific.

There are specific considerations that are appropriate to the basic indicators of the technique and the competitive functional particularities imposed by the sporting branch.

The specificity is given both by the external characteristics of the movement (amplitude, trajectory, etc.), but also by its coordinating structure, the functional particularities of the muscle and the vegetative reactions.

The type of effort is also given by the organizational form in which it is realized, knowing in this respect: competitive efforts and training efforts.

Competitive efforts are made in lessons only after examining the contests, types and numbers of the competitions that the athlete will partake in during an annual cycle.

We are also talking about training exercises as a complex training method, with which we connect the training components and accelerate the athlete’s attitude (from a multifactorial point of view) to the conditions of the competition.

These types of efforts are of greater importance at the end of preparatory and competitive periods, largely influencing the pace of performance growth.

At the end of the article I will present the effort classification from 3 perspectives: size, orientation, type of effort.

Classification of effort in terms of size:


– small: (heart rate – less than 100 beats / minute);

– moderate: (heart rate – less than 120 beats / minute);



– optimal: (heart rate – less than 140 beats / minute);

– intense: (heart rate – less than 160 beats / minute);

Severe: – maximum: (heart rate – below 180 beats / minute);

– exhaustive: (heart rate – over 180 beats / minute);

Classification of effort from the orientation point of view:
Option 1:


– aerobic;

– anaerob;

– mixed;

Option 2:


– selective;

– complex;

Option 3:


– lesson;

– microcycle;

– of the mesocycle;

Classification of effort in terms of the type of effort:
Option 1:


– training;

– competition;

Option 2:


– specific;

– non-specific.

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