Many people undertake weight lifting as a means to improving their body. Others want to help improve their athletic performance in a particular sport. Few people consider that weight lifting is beneficial for improving your speed levels!
Weight lifting improves your speed because when as you make your muscles stronger, they are better able to endure and stay strong during whatever physical activity you do.
A strong muscle will not fatigue as quickly as a weak one.
Weight training plays an important role in sports by enhancing the athletes abilities in speed, strength and endurance.
There are several studies proving that weight lifting can improve your speed. One of the original studies had one group that trained using ordinary athletic activities, while the other group trained for several weeks with a program of 14 weight training exercises1.
At the end of the test period, the weight training group was vastly stronger than the control group. Muscle tightness was absent in the weight training group and in speed tests, the weight training group was significantly superior to the control group.
The National Football League also looked at how weight training for speed could improve their players performance2. In this study, players were split into two groups. The first group did no weight training during the course of the season, with the second group training twice a week. When they compared the groups, the weight lifting group maintained their beginning of training camp strength for the entire season. The non weight training group lost up to 50 percent of their functional strength over the season.
If you are a seasonal athlete, weight lifting for speed in the off-season is the initial basis for improved performance in the next season. By weight lifting and improving your strength, you will be able to work longer and harder in developing your skills while practicing your sport. You will be able to create more power in your running, cycling, swimming strokes or whatever is your sport of choice.
Many personal trainers believe that athletes involved in sports that require speed, like running, should strength train to improve their speed. Athletes who compete in longer distance races find that if they have strength trained, they are better able to keep their arms and legs moving during the tiring last minutes of the race. The key is to train to improve your strength without bulking up.
To avoid adding bulk, you should keep the pounds of the weights you lift low, but the number of repetitions high. For example, choose a weight that is 50 to 60 percent of the maximum weight you can lift in a set of 12 reps. Then perform two sets of 12 repetitions. In addition, you should complete these strength training workouts two or three times a week, after youve completed your cardiovascular exercise.
When weight lifting for speed, you should select exercise made for explosion. Exercises perfect for weight lifting for speed include the bench press, squat, deadlift, military press, power clean and snatch. Other good weight lifting for speed exercises are leg press, leg extension, leg curl, lat pull down, seated rowing, lateral raise, shoulder press, push ups, bicep curl and abdominal exercises.
It is important to remember to keep your form while lifting. If you want to get the maximum benefit possible for the muscle, and hence improve your speed down the road, you have to keep good form.
Dont forget your breathing. If you hold your breath, you tighten the muscles you are trying to keep loose. Inhale as you prepare to lift your weight, and then exhale while lifting it. Breathe naturally!
At the end of your workout, perform a nice long stretch to keep your muscles supple and lean. Dont rush through your stretching routine because you dont want to lose your flexibility.
If youre looking to improve your performance in a particular sport, I encourage you to seek out more information on specific exercises that will help improve your speed.
Check out official websites of the sports you are involved in as they often will have great fitness, strength training and nutrition tips. Weight lifting can improve your speed and give you the endurance to play well.
In order to assess your current state, you need to assess your speed. To do this you need a comprehensive testing battery designed to identify strengths and weaknesses and form the basis for a personal speed improvement program.
For more information including a sample speed workout, please see this page here.
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