Normally when you think of strength training for sports, an image of a body builder comes to mind, you know that one who is lifting 100’s kilos above his or her head. We can assure you that is simply not the case, strength training is beneficial for both elite athletes as well as anyone who would like to be stronger, fitter, have better balance, lower body fat and increased bone strength, so really everyone! But if you are strength training for a particular sport there a six main areas which should be focused on; Please note these are in order of importance and this is barring any pre-existing injuries which need to be taken into consideration.
Mobility refers to the range of movement and quality of movement. The range is the lengthening of muscles and the quality is how well you move. Of course, everyone will be different, but the aim is to have a range of movement which is appropriate for your sport. What are your movements like? Are you in a hurry? Are your movements smooth or jerky, robotic or cat like? Think of the ballet dancer leaping and the player going up for a mark, there are a lot of similarities.
Stability is related to your core strength in this instance, it is not measured by how many sit-ups you can do! Stability is your bodies ability to stabilise during movement. In footy, when you are running and need to go for that mark and/or avoid a tackle, you often “stop, twist, change directions, leap and jump”. What are your, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles doing?
Strength is the ability to overcome a force. Do you have the strength in your legs to jump in the air and land with stability while being tackled? Normally in the gym you will hear “Mate! How much can you bench”? Will your ability to bench press 100kg help you more on the footy field or the beach?
4. Endurance & Stamina
Endurance and stamina are the ability to repeat an action with no or little fatigue. Can you play to the fourth quarter of the game with the same intensity as the first? If your enthusiasm and movement quality deteriorates after just 20 minutes, you may need to work on your endurance. No need to go out and run 42k unless that’s your thing. There are a lot of ways to build endurance; interval training, circuit and strength training or tennis, just to name a few.
Power is the “ability to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible”, for example accelerating away from your opposition, jumping for a mark and kicking the footy. In the gym, it’s the ability to lift a very heavy weight very quickly. At the Olympics you see the men and women lifting a crazy amount of weight from the floor to over their heads very quickly, this is called funny enough “Olympic Lifting”. Most athletes use this form of training to develop their power. BUT if you do not have Mobility, Stability, Strength and Endurance, most likely you will break or injure yourself.
6. Speed, Agility, Skill
This is where you put it all together. As Gary Ablett Jr said “Learning to make the impossible possible, making the difficult look easy.”
If you have any questions or would like to incorporate some of our footy themed exercises into your program, please ask one of our ALTA fitness trainers.