Strength and Conditioning is a crucial component of an athlete’s performance. From high school to college, and even beyond, the way an athlete trains and focuses on their strength and conditioning heavily impacts their power, speed, agility and endurance.
At Signing Day Sports, we want to see everybody be able to achieve their goals. Maximizing your strength and conditioning can and will improve your performance allowing you to reach your full potential.
Today, on The Wire, we will discuss the basics of strength and conditioning and provide actionable tips and guidelines for prospective student-athletes along with their coaches and parents.
What Can You Gain?
In reality, athletes all know that being stronger helps you perform better. Having higher stamina and endurance helps you perform better. What’s not as apparent, is the relative ease with which young athletes can improve these things.
More often than not, building muscle and endurance is made out to seem like a full-time job – an insurmountable task meant for the professionals. More accurately, there are studies that show the opposite; and programs that understand the toll taken on young athletes.
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine conducted a study on young athletes that yielded promising results. Young athletes were shown to be able to improve their strength by 30-50% after just 8-12 weeks. At first, it sounds daunting. And it still is. The key to their findings lies in the fact that after the 8-12 weeks, the “maintenance stage” consists of training just twice a week. This seems much more palatable, right?
“Youth—athletes and nonathletes alike—can successfully and safely improve their strength and overall health by participating in a well-supervised program,” concluded the study.
To get to this point however, it is specified that the initial 8-12 weeks need to be supervised and well-designed in regard to the strength training program. It’s uncommon for young athletes to be able to increase their strength by 30-50% and get themselves to a “maintenance stage” on their own.
So, yes, you need to work out. The benefits of increasing your strength and conditioning can be seen across the board with regard to your athletic performance. And maybe you haven’t seen yourself as someone who “has it in them.” We get that. Hopefully, the information found from this study eases those worries.
“Well-Designed” Program for Strength and Conditioning
In all honesty, the “well-designed” aspect may be the hardest part in this whole endeavor. Finding somebody who can tailor a program to an individual, rather than a team, is uncommon and pricey. But the role of a qualified coach or trainer in designing and supervising a safe and effective program cannot be overstated.
One option includes using a personal trainer. Employees at Signing Day Sports have opted for this route and have witnessed first-hand the benefits that come with one-on-one supervision. If this option is in the cards both in terms of the financial commitment and time commitment, this would be our suggestion.
Understandably so, this is not always possible. Alternatives include asking strength and conditioning coaches from your high school or prep school to do extra work with you. Not everybody shows this initiative, and if you go that extra mile, they may be willing to work with you. Or, at the very least, they may create a plan for you to do on your own time.
Of course, there are also online personal trainers that are not as expensive but typically require some home gym capability.
In any case, your workout regimen needs to answer certain questions and meet certain criteria to be considered safe and effective. Share these criteria with the person who designs your workout program:
- Is it relatively safe for youth?
- Can it increase the muscular strength and power of youth?
- Can it improve the cardiovascular risk profile of youth?
- Can it improve motor skill performance and may contribute to enhanced sports performance of youth?
- Can it increase a young athlete’s resistance to sports-related injuries?
- Can it help improve the psychosocial well-being of youth?
- Can it help and promote exercise habits during childhood and adolescence?
The Role of Injury Prevention
Increasing strength and endurance is not the only consideration when increasing strength and endurance. The injury-preventing properties of working out regularly are almost as important as the improved speed, power and endurance.
Everybody has a weak spot. With regard to strength and conditioning, that weak spot can be your legs, your shoulders, your back, or so on and so forth. Improving the overall strength in your muscles and tendons keeps your body in its proper alignment. That way, when you experience sudden impacts or jolts, your bones and joints are protected against unnatural, harmful movements or patterns that would result from a lack of strength in your weak spots.
Your trainer should be able to identify these weak spots. Make sure to keep these weaknesses in mind when creating your workout program and be sure to stretch properly before any training session, practice, or game.
Respond to our post in the comments with your work out plan and the benefits you’ve derived so far.