Why You Need Sports Specific (Weight) Training

Sports specific training can achieve a stronger and speedier athletic performance because the main characteristic of most specificity exercises is that they closely resemble the individuated body mechanics in your particular sport.


Sports specific training is that which is auxiliary or in addition to the training that an athlete practices for their particular sport. It usually consists of a conditioning program built around sports skills that help you as an athlete realize your goals much more quickly than if you trained without such a program.  A ski jumper would need their legs to be like shock absorbers when landing and a football player when blocking would need explosive power in both their arms and legs.  Sports specific training can achieve a stronger and speedier athletic performance because the main characteristic of most specificity exercises is that they closely resemble the individuated body mechanics in your particular sport.  Here are some examples and suggestions:

 Sports Specific Training for Power

This is weight training for maximal effort when you bench press, squat or deadlift for a one rep max.  The regular training involves using a medium weight for six to ten repetitions which would be seventy to eighty percent of your one rep max.  Do three to five sets for each.  Every workout you should add a little more weight on the bar.  Once in awhile, you should reserve a workout to do a personal one rep record (PR) in say the bench press or squat.  You can add overhead press, bent rowing and weighted chins to this list.  Power training is especially valuable for martial and grappling sports such as football, mixed martial arts, rugby, wrestling and judo.

 Sports Specific Training for Speed and Acceleration

Light free weights of between forty to sixty percent of your one rep max can be used for both the bench press and squat to develop the speed aspect of strength.  You would follow the Westside barbell training protocol for this:  For bench press with a barbell, take about fifty percent of you 1RM and do six to eight sets of three repetitions each.  For back squats with a barbell, you take about fifty percent of your 1RM max and perform ten to twelve sets of two repetitions each.  Keep in mind that speed is the goal.  the weight should not be so light that it flies up out of your hands and it should be heavy enough that when you push that thing up, at least the starting of the rep should feel like you are pushing your maximum weight.  Speed is useful for football, mixed martial arts, track and field, gymnastics, volleyball, diving;  The list goes on.

The somewhat technical Olympic lifts such as the clean and press and the snatch would also be classified under speed and acceleration training as well as plyometric jumping.  (Each should be the subject of a separate article).

Another note:  Developing speed for the horizontal for sports such as tennis would not use this type of training but would rather incorporate quickness with sprints forwards and backwards and from side to side in the athlete’s sports specific conditioning program.

 Sports Specific Training for the Demands of Strength Endurance

This type of training is often neglected.  It consists of performing fifteen plus repetitions using free weights or machines.  This would develop muscles that are capable of producing repetitive contractions under moderate to extreme fatigue.  Long distance skiers, runners, rowers, triathletes and the like would do this type of training.

 Injury prevention

It has been said that football is not a contact sport but rather, a collision sport.  The legendary strength coach Bill Starr stated that a sport such as football is nothing short of war (albeit, a somewhat controlled one).  It is for this reason that the weight workout in the gym should be a lot tougher than the practice out on the field.  There seem to be fewer injuries when this advice is followed which can be applied to virtually any sport.  Regular weight training strengthens and toughens not only muscle but connective tissue as well.

Conclusion

So whether you want to improve your karate, your baseball swing, base stealing, basketball speed or any kind of athletic performance, sports specific training workouts with weights is one of the fantastic ways to increase the likelihood of your success of performing in the zone.  Along with a good nutritional program, you will develop added power, speed and strength.  Also, it may help to prevent injuries and also bring the attractive benefit of hypertrophy (more muscle mass) as well.  Your competition is very likely using sports specific training and so should you.


Hey, what would be more sports specific training than training your vertical jump. Whether you are playing basketball, volleyball, football or some other sport The Jump Manual can definitely help you increase the vertical in your jumping.

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