Friday, June 19, 2015

Strength Training for Athletes

Whether you consider yourself an athlete or a recreational enthusiast, strength training is an important part of your season.

Benefits of strength training:

  • Weight Loss- muscle burns more calories than fat. The more muscle vs fat in your body, the higher the calorie burn.
  • Bone and Muscle Mass- improving strength will counteract the effects of aging. After puberty, we lose about 1% of mass each year, adding strength regimen will help prevent those losses.
  • Stronger and Fitter- whether through isometric or isotonic training, your muscles will break down and rebuild stronger than before. Remember to allow muscles to adequately recover between sessions.
  • Improve Body Mechanics- coordination, balance, flexibility, and posture are all effected by strength training. As we age, these become more important as injuries from falls increases.

For many beginners, it is difficult to determine how to get started. I suggest two workouts each week. The first is a short session, about 30 minutes, and is focused on lifting heavier weight in a controlled environment (often machine assisted). The second session is longer, about 60 minutes, and is focused on intensity, range of motion, and usually includes a cardio component so that in addition to the strength benefits the cardio respiratory system is also challenged. When you have more time to commit, add a third session that focuses on total body movements with some cardio bursts to keep the heart rate up.

Sample Schedule.

Short Session- Goal is a full body workout. 1-2 sets of each exercise with between 8-12 repetitions. Your goal is to fatigue/challenge the muscle using good form and breathing techniques. In order to move quickly between exercises and limit rest time, you will alternate upper and lower body. Always start with larger muscle groups then finish with the smaller, more supportive muscles.

  • Latissimus Pull Down- cable or pin-select machine
  • Leg Press
  • Back Row
  • Abdominal (choices include plank, roll up/down, leg lifts)
  • Bicep Curl
  • Leg Extension
  • Tricep Press Down
  • Leg Curl 
  • Shoulder Press or Raise

Long Session- Goal is a full body workout with plyometric bursts to increase the calorie burn. You will complete 10 repetitions of each exercise in quick succession. After each plyometric activity, you have the option to rest 1 minute before beginning again. Repeat the circuit until your session is complete.

  • Flutter Kicks
  • Abbductor/ Adductor - band
  • Chest Press on stability ball
  • Dead Lift
  • Skaters
  • Bridge
  • Split Squat
  • Back Row
  • Bicep Curl
  • Plyometric Lunge
  • Cross Crawl
  • Bird/Dog
  • Tricep Kickback
  • Front Raise
  • Mountain Climber
Card Deck Strength Session 1

Card Deck Strength Session 2

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