Too often, people associate strength simply with muscle size. However this is not always the case. Just because someone does not look big bulky and muscular does not mean that they are not strong. In fact, sometimes being overly muscular can be a drawback to optimal performance. As an athlete it is essential that you understand the strength requirements needed for your particular sport. By incorporating the proper strength training into your routine you will be able to perform at a maximum level.
There are three components involved in the development of strength. They are starting strength, explosive strength and reactive strength. Starting strength can be viewed as the strength needed to exert the maximum force necessary instantly. This is evident when a sprinter is leaving the blocks during a track and field event. His or her body exerts a huge amount of force and energy necessary to get him ahead of the field as quickly as possible. Next we have explosive strength, which is used by just about all athletes. The difference has to do with which muscles are being used for the explosive burst of energy. Some examples of explosive energy would be performing a high jump, a weightlifter attempting to lift extremely heavy weights or a baseball player that is primarily a power hitter. Reactive strength can be looked at as the ability to change directions instantly, such as a basketball player repeatedly running back-and-forth on the court, tennis players who have to change directions constantly or any sport where you're continuously running or jumping. There are exercise routines designed to build your strength in each one of these categories and they will help to improve your overall strength and performance in that sport.
If you are a runner and you want to improve your speed, the best training routine would be sprint work. By strengthening the muscles involved in performing the sprint, from the initial explosion at the starting point to maintaining this high level of energy to the finish line, you can improve your speed. Additionally you will have to incorporate some type of endurance and strength training, which will allow you to maintain this level of energy for a longer period of time.
If you're an athlete whose sport focuses on strength and power then your training routine should include working with weights to build up the strength in your muscles. Other exercises which will improve your strength include working out with a medicine ball and Kettlebell workouts. Remember that unless you are participating in bodybuilding you do not have to have huge “Hulk” like muscles in order to improve your strength.
While strength training is important, it is also necessary to maintain a certain degree of flexibility. Having strong muscles that are tight will not help to improve your performance in any sporting event because flexibility is important to preventing injuries and it will also increase your range of motion, which can only add to your level of performance.
There is probably not any sport that uses just one muscle group to define its movements. There will always be several different muscle groups involved, as well as several different movements. It is up to you to determine where the maximum strength is required when competing in your particular sport, and that is where you need to focus your efforts for strength improvement.
When you reach this level of physical competition you should have a coach or personal trainer with you every step of the way. This coach or trainer will educate you on the proper exercises you should be doing, the correct intensity level and he or she will aid you in improving your fitness in these areas. In addition a trainer will custom design a workout routine that best fits your body style and physical abilities. A personal trainer will also help you to stay motivated and ensure that you are training consistently and earnestly.
When you incorporate the correct exercise routines for your specific sport and work to achieve an optimal level you are doing what is known as conditioning. You are conditioning your body to perform the same movements repetitively at a higher level than it is used to. This will give you the edge over other athletes whose conditioning is not at an optimal level. Proper conditioning and training are the keys to some athletes being good and other athletes being great. If you find yourself wondering why you are not performing at a higher level in your chosen sport activity, you may need to take a closer look at your training routines and try incorporating some sports specific strength training.