The Athletic Benefits To Strength Training
By: Jimmy Dabney
There is a significant amount of research surrounding sport specialization and how it can either be beneficial or detrimental. I see both perspectives. As a young athlete, I made the decision early on that I was going to focus on one sport; swimming. This helped with dedication, resilience and work ethic. However, I now see that there were key components missing that were required to reach my full athletic potential. As a result of this, I wish I had more guidance. Now, as a strength and fitness professional, I am passionate about helping other young athletes fill in these gaps in their development.
Younger athletes can benefit from a multi-sport approach when they are first starting. Having a single-minded focus in a sport that they love every day can make them feel athletically fit and skilled. They can also feel a sense of pride in their devotion to the sport. However, reliance on one activity can produce a gap in fitness benefits and the risk of overtraining. Some of these risks involve poor posture, joint discomfort, ligament tears and serious injuries requiring potential surgeries.
The same repetitive motion can negatively impact the body and the health of any athlete. There is no sport or activity that is perfect in isolation. Swimmers move in a buoyant environment while manipulating their body position at different speeds. This can impact shoulders, hips and cause them to become quad dominant. Cyclists are prone to a hunched position for long extended periods of time while focusing mostly on their lower body. Runners have constant joint impact from the concrete negatively impacting their knees and hips. Golfers can get back problems from the explosive twisting motion required during a swing. Yoga enthusiasts have great flexibility and body control but often lack aerobic capacity. All of these athletes may be great at what they do, but could also benefit from a proper program specific to their needs.
A great way to improve these potential problems is to expand athletic maturity by incorporating strength training. Strength training can build bone strength and improve body posture. This can help an athlete of any age to improve stabilization, balance, and coordination allowing them to become fitter and perform better. This has the added benefit of helping them become well rounded when it comes to not only sports and physical fitness, but also life in general.
A healthy lifestyle comes from a hybrid of different activities. Intertwining a sport with complimentary strength workouts can help to prevent injuries by strengthening weaker areas of the body. Weight training and proper mobility work can improve athletic performance as well as expand the longevity needed to keep someone involved with the sport longer. The hardest part about strengthening a weakness is SHOWING UP consistently. Once this becomes a steady routine the rest of life tends to fall into balance allowing us to live longer, feel healthier and become happier during our journey.