The Significance of Weight-Training
Weight-training as a critical element of every athlete’s core training routine cannot be overestimated. It will increase speed, improve recovery, increase endurance, and prevent injury.
As a true believer in the cross training approach to fitness for improvement of overall performance, weight-training is as important to an athlete, at any level, as the foundation sport or sports(triathletes) that get the focus of training attention.
I’ve heard the arguments that go something like this: “the only thing guaranteed to improve running (or fill in your sport of choice) is running itself.” I’m not buying it. At a certain point the body requires a different type of stressor to bring performance to a higher level. Not to belabor the sport of running but if your training program already includes speed drills, distance work and intermediate running training – what can be done to take everything up a notch? How can speed, endurance and recovery all be further improved without risking injury?
A Weight-training program that is carefully designed to strengthen all of the muscles that provide joint support will decrease the odds of injury to that joint. A weight-training program that targets the parts of the body left unstrengthened by your sport of choice, will provide a greater overall fitness level. A weight-training program will change body composition (in conjunction with a clean and balanced diet) to leaner and more concentrated muscle mass. Stronger muscles will give you a speed boost because they can propel you forward faster, no matter your sport.
I’ve also heard the arguments against weight-training that concern the build up of body mass for fear of slowing down an athlete and hindering speed. Before one can build body mass to the extremes seen on the covers of magazines or on television, one would need to focus on muscle building to the exclusion of all other activities in an extraordinarily disciplined and time-consuming fashion. What’s wanted is a weight training routine that builds strength and symmetry into the muscles, rounding out the specific sports discipline already in place.
Since there are so many myths and misapprehensions about weight-training, it is critical to arm yourself with knowledge before establishing a weight-training routine. Don’t hire a trainer until you know exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve from the incorporation of weight training into your routine. Talk to respected fellow athletes who are already using weight-training as part of their regimen. Best of all do some reading.
Two recommendations are:
FrameWork by Nicholas DiNubile published by Rodale
This comprehensive guide to the body’s musculo-skeletal system should be a critical component of every athlete’s library. The foundation, full body, weight-training routine shown in clear photographs, and incorporating targeted stretching is excellent and a great place to start.
The additional information contained in this guide about how to avoid all of the common (and less common) sports injuries should get you to the bookstore now.
For a more detailed guide to the specifics of weight-training:
The Body Sculpting Bible (for Men and for Women) by James Villepigue and Hugo Rivera published by Healthy Living Books
These guides detail the specifics of weight-training for each muscle of the body and help put it all together with clear photographs and comprehensive descriptions of body positioning and breathing for each exercise.
Written by Victoria Nordgren. Victoria Nordgren, the founder of nordgren – women’s performance activewear at http://www.nordgrenactive.com/ is an avid cross trainer living in New York City. Her weekly fitness blog can be found at http://nordgrenactive.com/wordpress2/
Please feel free to contact Victoria at [email protected]