Injury prevention should be a top priority for any athlete.
While it’s easy to become gung-ho about strength & conditioning training, it is very possible to become injured if the athlete’s program is not set-up properly.
By following the 5 principles below, you can keep your training safe yet effective – minimizing the risk of injury while maximizing your performance.
#1 – If You’re Going To Do It, Do It Right!
No matter what kind of exercises or training tools you use in your program, make sure you perform them properly.
You cannot benefit from training if you perform everything incorrectly. At best, you don’t see any improvement in your performance. At worst, you get hurt before the season even starts.
Take heed, pay attention, and learn how to perform the exercises properly.
#2 – Balance Strength & Speed
Strength & speed are perfect complements in the world of athletics.
A strong yet slow athlete is at much risk as a fast but weak athlete is.
The strong yet slow athlete will try to compensate for the lack of speed by “muscling” movements, which can usually result in something getting strained.
On the same token, the fast yet weak athlete lacks the strength base that can protect that joints from the wear-and-tear of various athletic movements.
#3 – Balance Strength All Around the Body
A common pitfall of athletes and non-athletes alike is that they focus on only certain exercises.
All their efforts go into a select few exercises, leaving huge holes in their training.
Take the following example: an athlete who bench presses, curls, does pushups, & runs. Is this sufficient for a strong, injury-proof, athletic body, right? NOPE.
An athlete needs to strengthen the front & back, the lower-body & the upper-body, and have a good mix of strength, conditioning, speed, & power in his/her program.
Cover all your bases, target the entire body, and become resistant to injury and better at your sport.
#4 – Don’t “Test” Yourself Every Single Time
When you are new to training, you will find that you will make gains, and make them very quickly.
But it will come to a screeching halt soon enough, and progress will take longer to make.
And that’s okay – that’s the nature of the best.
So don’t come into the gym and try to max out every single time. Making a new personal record every single time you walk in is not possible.
Be prepared to take time to work on “lighter weights” to help build yourself up to a new record.
#5 – Strength Train In-Season
What’s the value of strength if you can’t hold onto it?
Athletes who maintain their newly developed strength throughout the season (as opposed to those who start off strong and finish the season weak) are faster, more resilient, and more capable.
This strength is the foundation that gives athletes their power, speed, and ability to stay injury-free.
Do what you can to hold onto it during the season – and do this by lifting throughout the season.
If you follow these 5 principles and apply them to your strength & conditioning training, you will see greater gains in our performance with a reduced risk of injury.