Weight Training for Athletes: Developing Explosive Power and Strength
How to develop power and strength useful for elite athletes.
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Athletes of many sports require power and strength to give them the edge over the competition. The way to train this is to lift weights correctly and make sure your diet is perfect.
The best way for athletes to get stronger and more powerful is using compound lifts, compound lifts are types of weight lifting exercises that use multiple joints and muscles to accomplish the lift. These include bench press, squat, deadlift, military press, pushups etc. These are the most important for athletes because a majority of sports require multi-joint movements. For example in football, you need to learn how to use your legs to power your upper body in tackles, in basketball you need to move multiple joints to shoot a jump shot. The second reason is because they will save you time and effort, compound lifts require more weight which leads to bigger gains in muscle growth and strength gains. They also work significantly more muscles than isolation exercises which will save you time in the weight room.
For your diet, you will need to find a balance of carbohydrates to fats to proteins. Try to intake atleast 1g of protein per pound of body weight from multiple protein sources such as milk, eggs and lean meats. Your carbohydrates should primarily be from starches and grains such as pasta, potatoes and whole wheat breads. Your fats should be atleast 75% monounsaturated to make sure your cholesterol is low to maintain heart and cardiovascular health. If your goal is to gain muscle or strength, you need to be consuming more calories than you burn, meaning you need to eat more than you do. If you don’t see results, 90% of the time it is because of a diet-related problem, typically from not consuming enough calories or protein.
The lifts I recommend focus on functional strength and explosive power:
Bench Press: The staple for upper body power, trains the chest, triceps and shoulders while incorporating many more upper body muscles.
Squat: The staple for lower body power, trains primarily the quadriceps but targets almost every hip muscle there is.
Deadlift: Allows your body to work as one to lift a dead weight, trains similar muscles to the squat but incorporates your back and spine stabilizers, this lift is very important for explosive athletes.
Military Press: A very functional lift that will train your shoulders while also using arms and back muscles.
Barbell Row: An extremely important exercise, you should have atleast one form of row exercise in your regimen because no other exercise trains your back as well as rowing exercises do.
Pullup/Lat Pulldown: Not many exercises target the lats, as a result this compound exercise is very crucial for athletes.
Dumbbell Snatch: This exercise will train your entire body to work as one to develop quick, explosive power in the entire body.
Power Clean: This will do a similar job as the dumbbell snatch but it will usually be performed with a barbell and heavier weights.
These exercises are typically the bread and butter of many athletic performance enhancing programs/regimens written by professional athletic coaches simply because they deliver results fast and effectively. But remember that these exercises are useless until your diet is of the highest quality.