When it comes to improving performance in any sport, strength training is well-known to be a key ingredient. And for good reason.
Strength training can help athletes build power, increase muscle mass, and improve agility and coordination. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how strength training can benefit you—no matter what your sport is.
First, Resolving Antiquated Beliefs
The belief that strength training somehow hampers an athlete’s performance is a holdover from the old days when it was thought that lifting weights made you muscle-bound and slow. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In actuality, strength training can help to improve an athlete’s coordination and agility by providing a better foundation of support for targetted muscles. When muscles are stronger, they can better handle the demands placed on them during physical activity.
As a result, the athlete is also less likely to suffer from cramps, strains, and other injuries that can occur when the muscles are not properly supported.
Remember that when you train for strength, you aren’t just working on bulking up your muscles—with that muscle growth comes bone, ligament, and tendon growth.
Strength Training Benefits
As you can see, there are actually many more perks to strength training than most people think. And several of them can be beneficial even for those who play a sport that isn’t generally associated with muscle strength.
Some of the benefits of strength training for sports performance include:
- Increased muscle mass
- Increased metabolic rate
- Enhanced coordination
- Increased bone density
- Improved body composition
- Enhanced joint function
- Decreased risk of injuries
In addition, strength training can help to improve an athlete’s power and speed by increasing the muscle’s ability to generate force. Improving your “explosive force” through strength training essentially means that the more weight you can lift, the faster you can move.
Benefits for Younger Athletes
As any young athlete knows, navigating through pain is a part of sports. Strength training can help young athletes learn how to gauge pain and learn their own pain threshold.
Strength training can also help young athletes become more aware of their body and how it moves. As they get stronger, they will be able to better control their movements, which can lead to improved performance in any sport they participate in.
However, while strength training is beneficial for young people who play sports, it’s especially important to ensure that they do not overtrain – as they generally have less experience training and awareness of their body’s limits.
Strength training injuries are no joke, so it’s important to work with a qualified coach who can tailor a program specifically for a young athlete.
Learning to sacrifice just the right amount of physical pain for results helps shape the athlete’s mind to be stronger and more resilient. You won’t always have a coach at your side, so improving your mindset can help you push through on the days you don’t feel like pushing.
Strength training provides a multitude of benefits for athletes of all levels. It can help to improve coordination and support the muscles, resulting in fewer injuries.
So, for everyone still clinging to the antiquated belief that strength training makes you less agile, it’s time to let go of this outdated thinking.
Just make sure you’re training correctly—for example, knowing how to use equipment and execute strength exercise motions properly to avoid injuries. Warm-up sufficiently before every strength training session, and know your body’s limits; don’t overtrain, or you can end up with serious injuries. Most importantly, work with a qualified coach to create a safe and effective strength training program, and you’ll see your performance improve.
There is no reason to avoid strength training if you’re an athlete. In fact, it may be just what you need to take your game to the next level.