Strength Training for Sport
Strength training for athletic performance is a polarising topic. Many sports coaches, parents and athletes believe that if they focus on resistance training, they will be slower on the field or perform at less than their best. This only happens when resistance training has been implemented incorrectly.
Take any given athlete, with their skills and athletic abilities, and put an exact copy of that athlete right next to them. This clone is identical in all ways except one – they are stronger. Which is going to perform better? I would say the stronger athlete.
Now, getting under the hood of strength as it relates to performance is a bit more complex than that. You can’t just take an athlete through a powerlifting training cycle and then expect them to then perform better on the field. You must build the general capacities of the athlete (of which strength is one), from which you can then translate into more ‘sport specific’ training later on (eg building alactic or anaerobic capacity, or focusing on certain positional drills).
I say ‘sport specific’ because in general, you don’t get sport specific in the gym. You get specific by playing your sport, and doing sport practice. The gym is not the place to be attempting to better your free kick, or your tackle – these are skills that are not going to be directly bettered by improving your lifting, but rather through focused practice. However, being a stronger and better conditioned athlete will allow you to apply more force in any given scenario, make an athlete more robust and (ideally) help prevent injuries.
So, if you’re an athlete should you be doing strength training? Yes, absolutely. ‘Strength is never a weakness’ as Mark Bell says. Provided it is implemented correctly as part of the annual training plan (in season, off season, pre season, etc) and, ideally, under the guidance of a competent strength and conditioning coach.
If you’d like to see how strength training can improve your on field performance, send us a message or come in and have a chat. All our coaches have exercise and sport science backgrounds, and we have worked with a range of athletes from Brazilian jiu jitsu, soccer, rugby, baseball, cricket, grid iron, netball, swimming… the list goes on!
See you under the barbell,