Basic Strength for young athletes
As a father of two young athletes and professional iPhone users, I often hear parents say “my child is not that athletic” or “my child was born without the speed gene”. Ok, you know your child best, so this may be true; however, sometimes just the most basic strength training can make an enormous difference in your child’s on field performance and success in sports.
I am talking basic! 5-10 minutes a day. Make it a family workout.
First, let me explain how the body works. You must possess “good” relative body strength (strength in relation to your body weight), in order to perform basic athletic movements including running, stopping, change of direction, acceleration, rotation, etc.
This is due to the fact that all aspects of proper athletic movements require high levels of muscular strength. In other words, if you can’t achieve the proper knee drive, arm swing, posture and push-off, you can’t be fast! And this is just one example.
There is a direct correlation between an athlete’s athletic ability and agility in relation to their relative body strength. What this means is that an athlete who is strong for his/her bodyweight will possess the ability to run faster, jump higher and move quicker, compared to their weaker counterparts.
Blame your brain which is too smart to allow you to perform these athletic movements and possibly injure yourself. So basically, I am telling you that you can increase your speed and overall athletic ability exponentially by doing planks and crunches alone.
So what are basic strength requirements for young athletes?
- 1 minute plank
- 1 minute wall sit
- 5 push-ups for girls / 10 for boys
- 20 sits-ups without using hands to pull yourself up.
- 5 seconds stiff hang for girls/ 10 seconds for boys.
- The ability to jump rope.
There is no app for this, so stop looking. You are actually going to have to spend 5 minutes a few times a week to do this. The good news is, the body wants to develop basic strength, so these benchmarks can be accomplished in a few workouts. On a personal note, I have seen strength training change young athletes attitude towards sports completely around when they feel they are good as their counterparts.
Remember that only muscle can cause movement. The stronger the body’s 600+ muscles are, the more forceful the muscular contractions, the faster the athlete will run, higher they will jump, further they will throw/kick, and harder they will hit. It’s that simple!
And because I am focusing on performance, I haven’t mentioned the most important reason to stay strong, which is injury prevention. Athletes who strength train tend to have fewer injuries. This is because strength training strengthens the muscle attachments and increases density of bones at the sites of muscle origins and insertions. And if an injury does occur to an athlete who has been strength training properly, it will probably not be as serious and will tend to heal faster.