Why Your Child Should Be Strength Training This Summer
Even though it feels like we just put away our winter coats, fall is just around the corner. For fall athletes, it’s time to start thinking about gaining the strength needed for a successful season. Strength training now can not only improve athletic performance, but can also significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Many parents understand that being a well-conditioned, strong athlete puts you at an advantage in your sport, however many people don’t realize the benefit to strength training, specifically. Athletes and non-athletes alike can achieve great benefits from a strength program including athletic prowess, weight loss, increased energy, and healthy lifestyle habits. A well-designed 8-12 week strength training program can increase a child’s strength by as much as 50%. Here are specific ways strength training can help.
Football: Strength and power are a big focus in football. However, having sufficient strength to handle the pounding of the sport cannot be achieved during the season. Strengthening the hips, abdominal and back muscles during preseason allows for kids to be better prepared for competition.
Volleyball: If strength training is not included in their preseason workouts, chronic shoulder injuries and instability issues within the shoulder can plague the volleyball athlete. When proper shoulder strengthening exercises are included, the risk of missing a game due to a shoulder injury can be lessened.
Cross Country: Ankle and knee injuries are not uncommon to the running athlete. When proper lower body strength training is incorporated into a running workout, knee and ankle stability increases and athletes are able to run faster and longer.
Soccer: Whether it is running after an opponent or kicking a goal in the “upper 90” soccer players frequently find they only have one foot in contact with the ground. If the strength and stability in the core and legs is not adequate, your child is at an increased risk of sustaining injury. Incorporating single leg exercises into a strength workout can help make sure your athlete stays on the field.
Field Hockey: Lacking the core stability and strength to strike the ball into the goal while maintaining the correct stance can put strain on the back. When proper strength training is included in the preseason workout, the body can stabilize itself for extreme movements, which decreases your child’s risk for a back injury.
Strength training can begin as early as middle school with body weight exercises. As the body develops and matures, more resistance can be added to exercises to maximize the workout and results. When done correctly, strength training can not only elicit measurable strength gains, but can also be fun and challenging for the individual. The professionals in Sports Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital know what it takes to achieve the desired results while making the activity fun and enjoyable.