Be Faster, Stronger, Better: Keys for Strength Training

33639_101506969917098_100001733855785_8927_1667499_n Strength training won last Wednesday’s vote for what you wanted to read and here it is. Champion’s Quest trainer and CSCS Certified Sports Performance Coach Meggan Brunette weighs on the benefits of strength training and what is most important to consider when beginning to lift!

Participation in strength and conditioning programs during adolescence, improves athleticism, aids in injury prevention and weight maintenance, while increasing self-esteem and confidence. Sports performance programs incorporate a variety of speed, acceleration, and strength exercises to make young athletes faster and stronger. By improving the total body strength and stamina levels of young athletes, many common overuse injuries can be prevented. To achieve optimal results, frequency and duration of workouts should be programmed according to the age, ability, and goals of the individual athlete. The National Academy of Pediatrics states that the minimum duration should be twice per week.

An elite athlete is a combination of athleticism (including strength and speed) and sport specific skill. Sport specific skills for lacrosse include hitting, catching and throwing, shooting, and cradling. To assist athletes in enhancing their natural athleticism while improving these skills, athlete performance coaches are specialists in developing the specific skill sets needed for the sport.
In addition, performance coaches teach athletes more than just technique to aid their sport. It has been shown that athletes who compete on a healthy, balanced diet are better able to maintain the energy they need during competition and exercise. By creating a healthy lifestyle image that athletes will carry into their adult years, strength and conditioning programs can teach life long habits of good health and proper nutrition.

Along with the benefits of competing with good nutrition and a healthy weight, the most important type of strength training for young athletes is to strengthen their core. Core training exercises, which strengthen your back, obliques and abdominals, will improve posture, balance, and stability. There are three types of core training: stability (holding a specific position), strength (moving slowly) and power (fast muscle contractions). The core is where all movements come together, improving sport specific skills such as running and throwing. The stronger the core is, the more stability is provided throughout these movements. Better balance for the athlete will result in fewer injuries such as lower back injuries and ankle sprains. Better alignment of the body will result in improved ability to maintain proper running technique, helping to prevent knee and hip injuries. Better stability will result in less “wear and tear” on the muscles and joints, which is vital to injury prevention.

Frequency, intensity, and duration of strength exercises are important according to the age of the athlete. All youth programs should begin strength training with light loads and always focus on the correct exercise technique. A variety of upper and lower body power exercises should progress gradually depending on needs, goals, and abilities of the athlete. For any youth strength and conditioning program, the ultimate goal is long-term athletic development and a healthy active lifestyle. Through functional strength training, youth athletes will experience an increase in muscle strength and endurance, protection of muscles and joints from injury, improved performance in nearly any sport, stronger bones, a boost in metabolism, healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight, and improved confidence and self- esteem.

For age and gender specific strength exercises and complete workouts contact a Champions Quest performance trainer at !

Here is an example of a short upper body, core, and lower body set as part of Champions Quest’s weekly challenge series