Written by: Lorinda Visagie

Strength training is a key factor in the world of sport specific conditioning. This significant training stimulus is not only important in the professional performance domain of athletes but also to every day individuals that want to accomplish a well-balanced, healthy body.

Strength training has become an integral part of an athlete’s training regime.  In todays modern world of sport conditioning, strength training does not only benefit the athlete but also the young aspiring rugby player, the grandmother who wants the ability to play with her grandkids or the father who wants to lift heavy objects in his garage without any discomfort or pain.

Unfortunately, in some parts of our society, if the word “strength” training is used, whether in youth conditioning, different sporting codes, or older individuals, everybody seems to add a negative connotation to this word. But, strength training provides efficiency in movement, better posture and overall body balance and has so many more benefits to offer.

Some of the benefits that strength training offers are the following:

  1. It helps reduce the incidence and severity of injury.

We know that injuries are inevitable, but we also know that if preparing the body well for most challenges, the degree of injury can be minimized as well as avoided.

In my eight years of working with some, if not the best in sport specific conditioning whether professional or recreational, strength training has shown up in each programme, whether body weight or weighted exercises.  Strength training has helped avoid injuries on the field, in the pool, on the track and in every household, it seems.  The more prepared the body becomes with resistance training, the stronger, the better equipped the body becomes.  Strength training with the right amount of exercises, volume and intensity can truly push and individual to an extraordinary level of performance.  Strength provides a safety bubble around organs, muscles, joints and bones.  Stronger muscles and connective tissues will protect the body.

  1. Strength improves overall flexibility.

A proper range of strength training focuses on movement patterns that complete the path of correct biomechanics.  To explain this in a more detail, the eccentric and concentric phases will be functionally targeted, thus strength training plays a dividend role in long term flexibility.

Athletes or recreational sporting individuals demonstrate more speed, quickness and overall body athleticism because of following an adequate strength training programme.

  1. More available power.

Power is the product of muscle force and movement speed.  Combining strength training and specific skills relative to sport or everyday life, strength training provides a positive influence on both strength and skill.  Strength training increases muscle fibers which results in a higher rate of overall muscle force production which showcases a higher ability to demonstrate power output and efficient explosiveness in the athlete or participant.

In conclusion there are so many more reasons why strength training is such an important factor in athletic preparedness and overall body wellness and readiness. The list is unending, but the fact remains that to be able to move well, perform optimally and avoid injury in any sense, strength training is one of your highest priorities in any type of performance strategy.

On a personal note, I can take myself as an example.  I started proper strength training about nine years ago through Olympic weight lifting and I haven’t looked back ever since.  It created such an amazing base to work off.  It didn’t matter what I took on as a recreational athlete, I could perform at the rate and pace that I wanted to and that made all the difference.

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