Sports training is a broad term that describes any set of workouts, preparations, or lifestyle changes aimed at improving an athlete's performance in a particular sport. Every sport has its own set of criteria for effective sports training, as each sport works different muscle sets, requires different levels of performance from the body, and requires different levels and different types of preparations. most sports training involves improving cardiovascular performance as well as muscle development, and improving an athlete's diet is also almost always included in sports training. Depending on the sport, mental preparation can be just as important as physical preparation.
Bodybuilders and other athletes who rely on rapid muscle growth will participate in sports training that involves a significant amount of weightlifting. Free weights are almost always a part of such a workout, as is a diet rich in protein. Some athletes looking to build muscle will do what's known as training to failure, which is essentially working a muscle group until that muscle group can no longer bear more weight or resistance. Other athletes in this category may spend a significant amount of time within one weight range to get the muscles used to that level of strain and resistance.
Other athletes are more interested in sports training that will increase aerobic and cardiovascular performance. Runners, cyclists, and team sports participants such as soccer players or basketball players will work toward increasing speed, agility, and VO2 max, which is essentially the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during intense physical activity. The goal for these athletes is to train the body to withstand physical activity for long periods of time without becoming overtired. Runners and cyclists in particular must train the body to endure strain for long periods of time, and both activities require the body to utilize available oxygen as efficiently as possible.
Athletes interested in agility and speed may also participate in plyometric exercises, which help build "explosiveness," or a muscle's ability to react and move quickly. Hockey players, basketball players, and participants in racket sports such as tennis will benefit from such sports training. A plyometric workout may include using a medicine ball for a variety of exercises, as well as lunges and a series of jumping exercises. The key to plyometric exercises is quick muscle movement, so proper preparation must be done before executing these exercises; otherwise, the athlete may be at risk of injury.