Strength is the 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 in sport is the force any athlete can apply in any given range of motion, any plane of movement and at any given moment. Strength is specific to all sports and all activities in life.
When it comes to training sports specific strength, if your bodyweight stays the same and your strength keeps going up, then that means you’re able to produce more force at a higher velocity making you more explosive and less injury-prone at the same time. As long as athletes are practicing their sport and training consistently, they’ll become a more 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 that unlocks athletic potential. There are numerous examples of athletes that succeeded but once they added a strength training routine, they took their game to a new level and accomplished many of their goals. From Michael Jordan adding 20lbs of muscle after a few seasons of getting beaten by the Detroit Pistons in the early 90s, to Kobe Bryant adding 20lbs of muscle to begin scoring 30ppg. Then there are football players like Bo Jackson and Hershel Walker that would strength train every day and dominate on the football field. Athletes like Mia Hamm in soccer swear by strength training as the key to her physical abilities lasting through her 30’s and Serena Williams training 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? Most of the time athletes need to begin by building a solid foundation of body awareness, coordination, and control. The plank hold is a perfect exercise to help build these foundational pillars of athletic performance. We have a simple test that helps athletes understand where most successful athletes are with their plank. The difference between a 1-minute plank and a 5-minute plank is more than one might think at first glance. The mental toughness needed to push through the first few minutes into the top tier of where most athletes are (4-5 minutes) will help athletes develop the skills necessary to show they can train with heavier weights due to their core strength, and body awareness attained at this level. We recommend planking daily for all athletes at all levels, 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. With the combination of both, 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 in their routines. Athletes that become stronger relative to their body weight and can jump further relative to their height, become more explosive – we train for this.