Strength training and sports performance training have become more popular as an extra way for athletes to improve their skills and performance outcomes. Whether basketball players, golfers, or triathletes, the modern sports science community unanimously agrees that athletes can benefit greatly from strength and performance training.
A few years ago, the common wisdom was that all athletes had to do was to focus on practising their sports to improve their skills. Strength training was regarded as a hindrance, as lifting weights caused muscle soreness and tightness, which can impair performance in sports.
However, due to the high competition in sports, athletes and coaches have looked for new ways to give them an edge over their competitors. Strength training has been proven to be effective in improving performance in sports. Here are some documented benefits of strength training.
Reduces risk of injury
Strength training, also known as resistance training, creates physiological changes in bones, muscles, and connective tissues. The bones increase in mineral density and become stronger over time. This is significant as, in most sports, there is a degree of shear force that acts on the bones when doing certain movements such as changes of direction, jumping, or in physical contact.
During strength training, strength increases in ligaments, tendons and muscles. All of these are the support systems of a joint and they are the first to take the toll from the impact caused by falls, blows, or awkward movements. The more strength you gain, the more improved resistance and resilience to impact you will have. So, if you are an athlete, you should join a sports training institute near you for strength training.
When you undertake a focused strength training program along with specific drills, you increase your power. This is the ability to exert more force in the shortest amount of time. It is commonly known as explosive strength. More power generated in less time leads to more ‘explosivity’, efficiency, and quicker movements. The muscles also learn to synchronize, hence utilizing the energy more efficiently. This reduces energy wastage.
Different types of sports need to prioritize different types of strength. Sprinters will focus on explosive training; cyclists concentrate on endurance; while wrestlers train for maximum strength.
Improved body composition
Most athletes should have healthy levels of body fat and maintain lean muscle mass at the same time. Specific ratio and percentage requirements are depending on the nature of the sport. The right amount of lean body mass contributes to increased speed, agility, and power and reduced nonessential body fat lead to improved muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance. When you implement strength training, it is possible to attain an efficient balance of fat-to-lean-muscle mass and your overall body composition.
Increased neuro-muscular activation
Neuromuscular activation is one of the most overlooked benefits of sports performance training and resistance training. It is the process by which your brain signals the muscles to activate your muscle fibres with the relevant activation patterns to make a certain movement. Strength training improves the speed and quality of these signals.
To improve your performance and enjoyment of your chosen sport, work with the right sports training institute near you for better results.
Written by Health Guest Contributor Sunny Gupta