Weight Training Basics

by Joe Beauvais

Weight training is an important and valuable part of any athletes fitness routine and in this short article I am going to outline some of the fundamental principles that all athletes should be aware of, but especially school age athletes wanting to get involved in weight training for better sport performance.Weight training or progressive resistance is the use of an object or machine that provides resistance against movement.
The simple example for why this is important and how it improves your fitness level is as follows. Your body is a system that strives for efficiency and the key to being efficient is not to expend more energy or use more resources than is absolutely necessary. Therefore, your body strives to be only as "fit" as it needs to be in order to handle it's daily routines. When you lift a weight that is too heavy for you to easily move around your brain tells the rest of your body "...this is too heavy for us we just can't lift that!" but, the strain you feel during and the discomfort you feel the next day places a lot of stress on the body and your body does not like to be under stress. The brain then says "...that was an uncomfortable and stressful workout and the pain we are now feeling is UNACCEPTABLE" Therefore, your brain orders your body to grow more muscle tissue in an effort to get stronger so that the next time you lift that weight the body does not find it a strain and no stress is put on the system. That is why when it comes to progressive resistance training you need not just "overload" your system with weight you must progress to greater levels of resistance or your body will plateau and only be as strong as it needs to be. The key for young athletes is to remember to be consistent with your workouts (don't skip any sessions) because unless you are constantly challenging your body it won't grow. You must also remember to get proper rest and nutrition. The majority of muscle production and growth takes place during the recovery stages (while you sleep) without proper rest strength and size gains will not come. The same goes for nutrition you must give the body what it needs to build those muscle that it has decided it needs, but just like a builder who can't build a house with only 3 bricks your body needs all the necessary proteins and amino acids needed to build muscle and your body can't produce it all so it needs to get it from food and supplement sources. For your athlete some particular care must be taken. remember that while we are young our muscle and bones are still developing and weight training will force the muscles to grow and become stronger, but they may much stronger than the young bones that they are attached to and serious injury can occur. Young weight trainers must be properly supervised and monitored to avoid such injuries.Overload, progression and consistency are the key components to a weight training program coupled with careful monitoring and proper rest and nutrition. It's important also for the young weight trainer (as well as adults) to become comfortable with the language of the discipline. Not "understanding" what something means can lead to as many injuries as doing an improper lift or using too much weight. Teaching weight training requires an entire new lexicon to be learned and understanding what the words mean in context. To that end when I teach fitness we develop a word wall for the unit so that I and all the student are on the same page when I lecture and the class works out,

Vocabulary Words

compound movement