The Strength Training Misconception (for Sports Performance)

Allison Hu demonstrates a swiss ball kneel with rotation

Allison Hu demonstrates a swiss ball kneel with rotation

Squats. Bench Press. Power Clean. Deadlift.

The old wisdom says that performing these four lifts will result in a stronger, more capable athlete.

This is true to a certain extent.  The athlete’s prime movers, the big muscles involved, will most likely become bigger and stronger (given a proper nutrition program). 

The problem with relying on this type of training is the absence of specific core training and joint stabilizer strengthening exercise.  To explain this, an analogy often used is that of a car with a huge, powerful engine that is out of alignment and has poor suspension.  It simply does not matter how much potential power that engine has if the stabilizing components of that car’s frame are weak.  The same can be said about the human body.  An athlete may have a huge bench press, but that may not translate into performance on the field UNLESS all of the stabilizing muscles of the core and the joints involved in that sport are strong enough to support the potential force created by the big muscles.

Another simple way to look at this, an athletes brain will simply not allow the full strength of a movement (or muscle) to be realized unless it KNOWS the spine and the joints involved are stable enough to avoid injury. 

Pressing weight in a stable environment (a bench press) is far different than pressing weight in an unstable environment (standing unbalanced on a field with no support).  The stronger the core stabilizing and joint stabilizing muscle, the stronger the athlete will be in an unstable environment.  This is the only way to witness the full strength potential of an athlete OUTSIDE THE WEIGHT ROOM, where it really matters.

Exercises designed to put an athlete in an unstable environment with multi planes of motion involved are far better than just the classic “big lifts” for this reason.

Matt Pirtle

Emerge Fitness Training Staff

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