Strength is key to developing more explosiveness and a higher capacity for speed. Strength is the foundation for all athletic qualities. The stronger an athlete is relative to their own body weight, the more power potential they possess. Strength is the force any athlete can apply in any given range of motion, plane of movement and at any given moment. Strength is specific to all sports and all activities in life.
When it comes to training strength for sports, if your bodyweight stays the same and your strength increases, then you’re able to produce more force at a higher velocity. This will make you more explosive and less injury-prone. As long as athletes are practicing and training consistently, they’ll become a well rounded athlete. It takes time, so patience and persistence are important. We built a system around what we see as the main measures for success across all sports. Our main goal is to help athletes maximize their potential and reach their goals. Our four components are Strength, Speed, Conditioning, and Mobility. Today we will discuss the importance of strength training for all sports.
Strength is the key to unlock athletic potential. There have been many successful athletes but the ones that incorporated a strength training routine took their game to a new level. From Michael Jordan adding 20 lbs. of muscle after getting beaten by the Detroit Pistons in the early 90’s, to Kobe Bryant adding 20 lbs. of muscle to begin scoring 30 points per game. Then there are football players like Bo Jackson and Hershel Walker that would strength train every day and dominate on the football field.
Soccer star Mia Hamm swears by strength training as the key to her physical abilities lasting through her 30’s. Serena Williams also trained at a high level throughout her tennis career, helping her win multiple titles. Athletes at the professional level strength train for health, longevity and injury prevention. If the pros are doing it, then so should every athlete at every level.
Where does a young athlete need to begin their strength training routine? They need to begin by building a solid foundation of body awareness, coordination and control. The plank hold is a perfect exercise to help build the foundational pillars of athletic performance. We have a simple test that helps young athletes understand where most successful athletes are with their plank. At first glance, the difference between a 1-minute plank and a 5-minute plank is more than one might think. The mental toughness needed to push through to where most athletes are (4-5 minutes) will help young athletes develop the necessary skills to train with heavier weights. We recommend planking daily for all athletes at all levels. Just doing 1-5 minutes per day, goes a long way!
The other component of our monthly assessment is the broad jump. The broad jump is a great indicator of an athlete’s ability to produce force in both the horizontal and vertical vectors. When both are combined, athletes are prepared for any sport. A great way to think of relative strength, as it pertains to the broad jump, is the comparison of body height to jump distance ratio. We use data tested with thousands of athletes and have found that the most elite athletes broad jump from between 1.25x to 1.75x their height in distance. Athletes should not be discouraged if they’re not in this range yet. The goal is to reach these parameters through structured, consistent training.
In the SFX system, the baseline for athletes to begin with is the plank and broad jump. No matter how young or old, they’re able to take our body weight assessment, receive their score and begin training. Once they reach the next levels, they will train with heavier weights and accomplish more complicated movement patterns. Athletes that become stronger relative to their body weight and can jump further relative to their height, become more explosive – we train for this.