What is Sports Strength?
Strength training has become increasingly more important for athletes to help them prepare and compete at optimal level. Participating in sport at any level can strengthen muscles and bones, improve cardiovascular health, boost stamina and prevent injury.
A balanced exercise program would normally include aerobic activity together with strength training with weights. Aerobic activity strengthens the cardiovascular system which includes the heart, lungs and blood vessels and helps the body’s muscles to use oxygen more effectively. Weight training improves balance and co-ordination, and strengthens and increases the amount of muscle mass in your body by making your muscles extra hard.
A sports strengthening program involves working out with weights such as dumbbells, hand weights, barbells, or resistance bands to work a group of muscles at a time. Weight machines, on the other hand help your body work on a specific muscle group.
Before beginning a strength training program, you should have a thorough medical check up. It is generally recommended that if you are a beginner, you start out slowly with three sessions per week for approximately 20 minutes to 1 hour. Take a day off between sessions so as not to overload your muscles.
Remember to warm-up and cool down before and after your exercise routine to prevent muscle soreness, sprains or injury. Make sure that someone with expertise – either a coach, trainer, or certified fitness instructor is available to supervise you when lifting weights. It is very important to learn proper technique and the basics first before embarking on complex exercises.
Do three sets of reps (repetitions), either at weight or resistance level to build muscle mass. During each session, only work two to three muscle groups at a time and rest between sets. Exhale when you lift and inhale when lowering the weights.
Afterwards, you may experience fatigue along with mild muscle soreness – this is not a cause for concern! If you have sharp pain or sore, swollen joints, then you have overworked your muscles. Sports strength training is a long, slow process and consistency is the key to reap the rewards.
Benefits of sports strength training
Sports strength training can provide enormous benefits for your physical, mental and emotional health and includes:
- Develops muscle strength
- Develops strong bones and increases bone density
- Reduces the risk of underlying diseases such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease
- Prevents injury and maintains flexibility and balance
- Speeds sports recovery when injuries do occur
- Increases stamina which helps you not to feel fatigue
- Boosts body image and self confidence
- Controls body fat and helps you to maintain your body weight
- Promotes a good night’s rest
- Improves emotional wellbeing and reduces anxiety and depression