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4 Reasons Why Youth Athletes Need Strength Training

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4 Reasons Why Youth Athletes Need Strength Training

Strength training is one of the most important components to achieving your athletic endeavours. From becoming stronger so you can run faster and jump higher, or ensure you have the necessary resilience to maintain being injury free and continuing playing your sport.

If you're a young athlete there comes a point where just playing your sport can no longer facilitate the growth you are hoping to achieve. This is where you can start becoming an athlete physically, to gain an edge on your opponents. Strength training alone can improve your jump height, aerobic endurance, mobility, running speed, change of direction, agility and injury resilience.

A coach can help periodise and individualise your training for different periods of the year, meaning during the off season or extended periods of no competitions you can work on gaining strength and muscle mass to continue pushing your body to the limits. During your season is a challenging time to try improving these qualities as you need to be feeling fresh and being your best during competitions. Training can then be adjusted to ensure all the gains during the off season are maintained and you are arriving to matches energised and ready to perform.

Four Key Benefits to Strength Training

1. You'll decrease the risk of injury

  • Strength training decreases risk of injury due to your body being more durable and resilient to the demands you are placing on it. Muscles, tendons and ligaments are a lot more prepared for the awkward movements and landings experienced in sports. This is arguably one of an athlete's most important skills to have, availability. If an athlete is constantly able to train, play and perform, they have a massive advantage over an athlete that is constantly getting injured. The ability to make progress in physical development is extremely hindered if time off must occur.

2. You'll increase your strength

  • When an athlete focusses on increasing their strength in the gym alongside their sport specific training, they will also be increasing their ability to produce power. Power is an individual's ability to produce force as quickly as you can, also known as explosive strength. When your muscles learn to move in sync while producing more force, you can generate power more efficiently, decreasing any waste and increasing your explosivity.

3. You'll increase your muscle mass and body composition

  • For most sports it is beneficial to have more lean body mass rather than carrying around extra unnecessary fat. Fat is a non-contractile tissue, meaning it doesn't contribute to any bodily movements. As an athlete if you can increase the amount of lean muscle mass this will improve your speed, power, agility, explosivity as well as your cardiovascular and muscle endurance.

4. You'll increase your neuromuscular activation and motor control

  • Neuromuscular activation is the process in which the brain sends a signal to the muscle to recruit muscle fibre and activation patterns to perform a certain movement. If you can expose your body to these movements more often, you are able to produce these forces a lot quicker. For many sports, it is the split-second difference in the ability to move or produce force quicker than your opponent that will be the difference between winning and losing.

To find how how to improve your performance and overall well-being, contact us at Inner Athlete.

Matt Hucul
Junior Strength Coach
Inner Athlete (AUS)

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