Lift It. Hold It. Lower It.

Strength training is a simple process that has become an over complicated “wishing well” for athletic success. How you execute a repetition says volumes about your program.

Do these three check points exist in your program? Do they exist on every rep? You will be excited about the gains you make if these checkpoints are observed:

  1. Perform each exercise through a full range of motion. Raise and lower the weight through the muscle's full range of motion.
  2. Allow the muscles to raise the weight. Eliminate all arching, bouncing, throwing, and jerking movements while raising the weight (concentric).
  3. Emphasize the lowering of the weight (eccentric).

The Training Session

Before starting any workout, please remember to warm up and stretch properly. Take five to ten minutes to get your heart rate up and stretch your entire body. The exercises that strengthen the commonly injured areas of the body associated with a specific sport should be completed first in a strength training program. Doing them first ensures that you don't miss them because you have to leave early or you get “too tired.” It also reinforces the importance of taking care of your body. Establish a weak link program and stick to it on a regular basis.

Begin your strength training session with three to four lower body exercises and execute two to three sets of each exercise during the off-season. After completing the exercises for your legs, execute exercises for the upper body. For the upper body, perform the exercises for the chest, back, and shoulder muscles equally. Perform at least two exercises, six total, for each of these three muscle masses. A “push-pull” technique is the most common way to implement this type of workout. If you have enough energy left for a few “finishers,” exercise the muscles of the arms by performing one to two exercises.

Following any workout, take time to cool down and stretch. Five to ten minutes is an adequate time for a cool down. Stretching after a workout is more beneficial and shouldn't be taken lightly. Stretching for fifteen minutes every day will increase the resting length of muscles, restore normal range of movement, encourage proper blood flow, and permit the increase of power with strengthening exercises.