3 Reasons Why EVERY Athlete Should be Lifting This Summer
March 24, 2017
Summer can sometimes be a very busy time for athletes, with this camp and that summer league. Oftentimes athletes feel busier over the summer than they did when they were in school and had their school sport(s).
But as sport-specific training seems to becoming more and more prominent, where does/should a summertime strength program fit into a busy athlete’s schedule?
I would argue right alongside any sport-specific training, and here’s why:
1. Strength is a universal tool in every athlete’s toolbox.
It’s easy to see why an athlete in a contact sport can benefit from strength. An athlete that holds his/her ground or takes over ground from another athlete will generally do better in their given sport.
Strength obviously plays a pivotal role in that. But even an athlete that isn’t involved in a contact sport displays strength in whatever he or she is doing. A stronger athlete is able to produce more force.
This allows the athlete to push off the floor harder, move a ball or implement faster, or cut through the water more easily.
While I’m absolutely not advocating it, there is reason why in professional sports steroid use is as prevalent as it is. Steroids make an athlete stronger. However, they do not make an athlete more talented at performing a crossover or throwing a change-up.
Strength makes any athlete universally better.
2. Strength training not only allows an athlete to produce more force, but also absorb more force.
A stronger athlete (through strength training) can produce more force, we know this. But what is often overlooked is the fact that a stronger athlete (again through strength training) is better able to handle and absorb forces that are placed upon their bodies from the environment.
This stronger athlete will be able to absorb the forces of landing from a jump better than a weaker athlete. It will also allow the stronger athlete to stop faster and with better control from a full sprint.
Strength training almost always requires an athlete to lower the weight under control. It is this controlled lowering that helps an athlete to better absorb landings and quick stops.
3. Strength training and sport-specific training: one cannot replace the other.
Strength training cannot replace sport-specific training, that is pretty obvious. The mental aspect and detailed movements of individual sports require practice, and cannot be fulfilled by strength training alone.
However, the inverse of this is also true: sport-specific training cannot replace strength training. There is no way to provide an external weight on the body that can be progressively increased as the body gets stronger.
The body needs to move more weight in order to keep getting stronger. That doesn’t happen in sport alone.
Summer is a great time to devote to a strength training program. Typically, during the school year, between school itself and participating in a sport, there isn’t as much time to strength train.
Summer gives the athlete some more flexibility (if a conscious effort is made), if even for 3 hours every week.
So go ahead and do your camps and leagues over the summer, but make sure and take the time to get stronger!!