Our Personal Trainers put a list of 10 Tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your strength and speed training for youth athletes.
- Strength Training Is Speed Training
You can’t have a good speed training program without a good strength training program to accompany it. The bottom line with speed is that you have to be able to apply force to the ground. The more relative strength (think strength to bodyweight ratio), the faster an athlete will be. Too many “speed” coaches and sport coaches get hung up on the speed training part and neglect the strength part.
- Do Planks
Basically every movement in the gym will require some sort of static stability in the torso. We train the core. But, getting at least good at the plank will automatically improve both sprint technique and strength training technique.
- Learn To Hinge
A hip hinge is where you shift your weight to your heels, slightly bend your knees, and flex the hip until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. You should be sure to keep a neutral spine.
Mastering the hip hinge will give you greater access to your posterior chain (mainly glutes and hamstrings). Since these are the strongest muscles in the body, this is very important. When most of our athletes sign up for our strength and speed training program, they attempt to jump using more of a squat technique and not a hinge. We can can literally add a couple of inches to their vertical jump just by teaching them to hinge properly.
- Don’t Fall For The Hype
Sports performance training is a multi – billion dollar per year industry. And sadly, it doesn’t require any sort of degree or license to get into. Anyone can open up a facility or start-up a “speed training camp”. With the low barrier of entry and the amount of money to be made, it’s no wonder everyone and their brother wants in on it. But buyer beware, they may wow you with complicated sounding terms like “central nervous system” and “sport specific”, but you’ll definitely want to ask questions and make sure the person can help you.
- Be Aware Of The Nature Of The Sport
Getting faster, being able to change direction efficiently, being able to jump higher, and getting stronger are all things that would benefit any athlete. There are certain qualities that are unique to each sport that must be addressed in the weight room, especially when it comes to injury prevention. Baseball players tend to have an internal rotation deficit. Soccer players tend to have asymmetries in their dominant kicking leg. These things are byproducts of the sport they play and need to be addressed in the weight room or else you’ll end up with an injured athlete.
- Don’t Train Or Eat “Like The Pros”
Celebrity endorsement is huge in the fitness and supplement industry. You’ve all seen the ads, “Take this supplement because so and so does!” or “Use this piece of exercise equipment because you know who does!” The part they are leaving out is that these paid, celebrity spokespeople were probably phenomenal athletes before they started whatever program is advertised…if they even use what they are advertising.
- Master The Basics
The Basics: Goblet squats, hip hinge/swing variations, pushups, and pullup variations.
- Train Bilateral To Unilateral
Bilateral means with both feet on the ground and the word unilateral means with one leg. There are many benefits to both. Getting good at the bilateral lifts like squats and deadlifts will have a great carryover to the unilateral lifts like split squats and step ups. Get good at the bilateral lifts first, then the unilateral.
- Train In More Than One Plane
There are three planes of human movement – sagittal (front to back), frontal (side to side), and transverse (rotational). Sport happens in all three, so your speed training should happen in all three.
- Train To Decelerate
You can only run as fast as your central nervous system (CNS) will allow you to decelerate. If you aren’t strong enough to stop yourself, your body will not allow you to run any faster. We incorporate plyometric and deceleration drills in our speed training program that will help CNS “take the brakes off”.