Why You Need to Lift Weights If You Play Sports

It’s no secret that professional athletes hit the gym hard . If you search YouTube by the name of your favorite male athlete, or “workout” or “gym,” you can probably find video evidence of them doing495 pound deadlifts or pressing huge weights. as if they were nothing. But such training is overkill for casual beer league players, isn’t it?

Wrong. If you are involved in any sport at any level, you need to do weight lifting, especially if you only exercise once or twice a week. That’s why.

Sports are hard, lifting weights makes them easier

Any sport involves the implementation of several complex movements: sprint, lunges and jumps; frequent abrupt change of direction; throwing; legs; swinging a bat, club or racket; reach for the catch; pushing off the starting block. All of these movements require rapid flexion and extension of multiple joints, as well as sufficient balance and coordination to remain upright. They are complex – and the less you practice them, the harder they become on your body.

This is probably why amateur athletes get injured so often. If you spend most of your time sitting at a desk, something as “light” as sprinting on a leisurely gear in a basketball game can be stressful enough to increase your risk, such as pulling on your hamstring. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that resistance training strengthens not only muscles, but also bones and tendons, and appears to reduce injuries of all kinds in people of all ages, including injuries to the lower back. They recommend strength training to everyone from professional athletes to non-competitive beginners.

Lifting makes you stronger

You can probably see where this is going. Lifting heavy objects makes you stronger, and when you are strong you are less likely to get injured. However, when you inevitably do this – because let’s face it, it will – you will bounce back faster.

I have been doing lifting for about two months and can already vouch for it. Last month, I sprained my right ankle for about the millionth time playing football. It hurt a lot, but to my surprise, I walked a beautiful mile home. The next day, my ankle was stiff and slightly swollen, but no pain. Within a week my full mobility returned; after three, nothing seemed to have happened.

My career with an ankle sprain goes back almost 20 years and I have never healed in less than two months, let alone a few weeks. I wish I could start playing sports as an injury-prone teenager, but better late than never. (If there are teenage athletes reading this, injury prone or not: put yourself on a squat rack.)

How to start lifting weights for sports

It’s pretty simple: add some fucking weight to the barbell . If the motion to lift weights are already part of your workout at the gym, gradually increase the weight . If not, go to a squat rack (or sign up for a beginner’s weightlifting class) and do it.

However, not everyone has access to a barbell and plates, and this is where the humble dumbbell comes in handy. You can do everything from jerks and extensions to swings and deadlifts with a pair of dumbbells, and because they also offer many options for unilateral (unilateral) exercises, they are ideal for injury rehabilitation. Avoid expensive sets with useless tiny weights – two heavy (at least 25 pounds) dumbbells will get you off to a good start. You can order more as you get stronger. (I ordered mine from Dick’s Sporting Goods and is still in stock .)

When it comes to specific movements, squats and deadlifts are hard to go wrong. These classics are great for building confidence and strength, so if you’re feeling lost, start with them. From there, find recommended strength training programs for your sport. Everyone from runners to tennis players to soccer players can benefit from weight lifting and it’s never too late to start.

Consider Olympic lifts

Almost any strength training program will build strength and protect you from injury, but the right program will also make you faster and more powerful. If that’s your goal, meet your new best friends: jerk and jerk.

Athletes involved in contact sports (especially girls) are often discouraged from lifting any weights, so for many of us, Olympic exercise is an alien concept. What a Bummer: Weightlifting (in a word) requires exceptional strength, coordination and balance, and it delivers a tremendous amount of energy – every key ingredient for athletic performance in two effective movements.

Whether the snatch, clean and jerk is appropriate for all athletes is a matter of controversy. Some trainers argue that time in the gym is best spent on simple exercises like squats, which don’t require as much technical work. But if you really want to train explosive barbell strength exercises, USA Weightlifting presents a compelling case here :

Jerks, Jerks and Jerks provide some of the highest horsepower in all sports. Strength, a product of strength and speed, is a key ingredient in helping people run faster and jump higher. Incorporating Olympic exercise into your workouts is the most effective way to build strength and speed.

In Olympic exercise, the athlete is required to apply force to the ground through rapid and coordinated “triple extension” of the ankle, knee and hip, reflecting what happens in sprint and jumping, the main components of most sports. In addition to practicing the sport itself, Olympic lifts have the next largest shift towards direct improvement in athletic performance in sports where strength, power and speed are essential.

Bottom line: Olympic exercise has been proven to build strength, power, and speed – and make you feel like a badass bully. No matter what sport you play, it’s pretty hard to argue with it.

If difficult barbell exercises aren’t quite for you yet, that’s okay. Moves are less important than weight. Whether you are doing basic chest squats or clean and jerk at competition level, the key is to consistently use weights that feel heavy . As long as you continue to challenge yourself, you will only become stronger and more powerful.

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