Monday, April 23, 2012

8 Tips to Strength Train Movements, Improve Sports Performance

Improve your strength, power, speed and athletic performance by training your movements. What type of strength do you need to perform at a high level in your sport?

Here are 8 tips to strength train your movements:

1. Optimum Strength – The ideal level of strength needed to perform in your sport. Continually getting stronger will not continually increase your power. Every athlete needs this level of strength. "Maxing out" is not the main goal when strength training.

A periodized weight training program will help you peak at the right time--during the season.

2. Relative Strength – It is the maximum force that you can generate per unit of bodyweight regardless of the rate-of-force production. Wrestlers, football players (especially linemen) and rugby players need high levels of relative strength.

Bodyweight exercises like squats, step ups, lunges, pullups, pushups, inverted rows and triceps dips on bars help improve your relative strength. Strongman exercises like tire flips, pulling, pushing and towing also improve relative strength.

3. Maximal Strength – The maximum force that your muscles can produce in a single voluntary effort regardless of the rate-of-force production. Maximal strength is rarely needed during sports competition.

4. Limit Strength – The maximum force that your muscles can produce in a single contraction. A few elite athletes have this type of strength. Explosive strength and power training exercises will help improve this type of strength.

Your power training exercises (usually plyometrics) should be sport specific (train movements in your sport).

5. Endurance Strength – The ability to produce and maintain force over an extended period of time. This type of strength is critical for athletic success. Your total body needs endurance strength.

Training with multiple sets/repetitions will help you improve your endurance strength.

6. Stabilization Strength – The ability of your body’s stabilizing muscles to provide dynamic joint stabilization and maintain postural control during athletic movements. Core strength would fall within this category. Many athletic injuries can be traced to inadequate core strength. No athlete will be successful without this type of strength.

7. Speed Strength – The ability of your neuromuscular system to produce the greatest possible force in the shortest period of time (power). Obviously, every athlete wants and needs this type of strength. While it is very important, other types of strength cannot be ignored.

Training with fast repetitions will train your body to move faster. This can be applied to weight training, plyometric training and speed training.

8. Functional Strength – You should train movements during strength training sessions. Producing dynamic, multi-planar eccentric, concentric and isometric contractions efficiently is the goal of training for functional strength. Do your strength training in all 3 planes of motion.

Strength train your muscles with all contraction types (eccentric, isometric, concentric). All muscles function eccentrically (reduces force or deceleration), isometrically (stabilizes force) and concentrically (produces force). Eccentric contractions are able to produce the most tension development followed by isometric contractions and lastly, concentric contractions.

If eccentric contractions are able to produce the greatest tension development, then more time should be devoted during training for eccentric contractions to reduce the risk of injuries such as knee ACL tears. Also, strong eccentric contractions are critical for athletes to produce maximal power since all force production (concentric) must be preceded by force reduction (eccentric).

Train for the types of strength movements you will need to compete and win!

Be sure and download your Free Dumbbell and Medicine Ball Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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  1. Nice to see so many kinds of strength. good informational post.... and i would like to add that strength comes from within and it is possible only if our body is healthy...

    1. Very true Samuels. The strength of the will leads to strength gains in the weightroom. Thanks for stopping by!


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