The Benefits of Strength Training for Sports Performance

The Benefits of Strength Training for Sports Performance

Kristin Kennedy-Brown - August 15, 2023

Regular maintenance is essential for optimal health. Strength training has supreme benefits for sports performance and is an integral part of an athletes training regime. While aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, strength training helps to increase stamina and protects your bones and joints from injury. 

Muscle building not only helps to enhance muscle tone, improve balance and reduce the risk of injury, it also has a series of mental health benefits including reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

To begin, what is strength training?

Strength training is known to be a form of exercise that is intended to increase muscle strength - this helps to enable the body to perform everyday tasks, prevent injury, improve health and maximise sporting performance. 

Strength training is known as one of the four types of exercise - including flexibility, endurance and balance. 

What are the main types of strength training:

  • Muscle building - this type of training uses moderate-to-heavy weights to stimulate muscle growth. 
  • Muscle endurance - this refers to your muscles ability to sustain exercise for a long period of time. An example of muscle endurance is high reps using light weights or bodyweight. 
  • Circuit training - this involves participating in various exercises with little to no rest between them. 
  • Maximum muscular strength - this involves low repetitions of heavy weights to improve your overall strength. 
  • Explosive power - this form of exercise combines both power and speeds to improve your power output. 

The benefits of strength training:

Strength training provides a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. 

Reduced risk of injury:

The reduction of injury risk is arguably one of the biggest benefits of resistance training - helping to create physiological changes in the muscles, connective tissue and bones. Simply put, when participating in strength training, the bones increase in mineral density which enables them to become stronger over time.

Strength increase isn’t just present in bones, it also occurs in tendons, ligaments and muscles. This is particularly important, as they are known to be the support system of a joint and likely to be the first to take the toll caused from the impact of forces caused by blows and falls. 

Reduce body fat

Strength training helps to reduce body fat especially when combined with aerobic exercise. Research suggests that strength training aids calorie burning both during and after exercise - this process is known as post-exercise oxygen consumption, which enables your body to burn more calories throughout the day. 

Increased strength:

When combined with the right diet and correct amount of rest days, strength training helps to increase muscle size and strength. It additionally helps to increase power - the ability to exert force in the shortest amount of time. Ultimately helping you to perform better in sports and other physical activities. 

Improve cardiovascular health

Strength training is a highly beneficial way to strengthen your heart and lungs. Regular training sessions increase aerobic capacity which allows you to exercise for longer periods of time without feeling fatigued. 

Increase bone density 

Consistent strength training helps to increase overall bone density. Bone density refers to the amount of minerals in the bones - this is imperative for preventing fractures. 

Improve composition

Most athletes are required to have healthy levels of body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. The specific ratios will vary according to the nature of the sport. 

Appropriate amounts of lean body mass ensure increased agility and power. Reduced nonessential body fat helps to improve cardiovascular and muscular endurance. 

Faster neuro-muscular activation

Neuromuscular activation is often one of the most overlooked benefits of resistance training. 

It is known to be the process where the brain sends signals to the muscle to help to recruit muscle fibre and activation patterns to help to perform a certain movement. This helps to optimise and improve movement. 

Strength training improves the speed and quality of the signal that is sent from the brain to the muscles. The force and reactiveness of an athlete can make a huge difference in the outcome of the competition. 

Increased resting metabolism

Muscle is known to be very active tissue - increasing muscle mass can subsequently raise your metabolic rate. Metabolism plays a paramount role in keeping your body fat in check. 

Supports mental well-being

Strength training is proven to be a powerful form of self-care, helping to enhance confidence and moods, whilst also decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It helps you to overcome challenges, achieve your goals and appreciate your body strength. 

It is also proven to improve sleep quality - regular strength training helps the body to reduce fatigue and increase energy levels.


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