Back in October we introduced the concept of functional strength training, where the type of strength training you do is focused on the types of movement you need for life, rehabilitation, and in many cases sports. Today we’re going to dig a little deeper and help you find some functional strength workouts geared towards a few different sports.
Football players are constantly on the move. They may be running straight forward and then suddenly need to make an explosive cut to the left or right. This type of movement can put incredible strain on the body, especially on the knee joints if the surrounding muscles aren't strong enough to support a sudden shift. Take a close look at the fitness routine put into place by the Stanford football team and you’ll see what a huge difference the right conditioning really makes. The fitness workouts these guys do regularly focus on strength but mostly on avoiding injury, mental discipline, and athletic performance – things that will enable them to have a strong, injury-free season.
Soccer (or football players if you’re anywhere other than the US), focus a lot on cardiovascular endurance as well as their agility and flexibility – or their skill sets. The constant movement is very demanding as the player is always moving. He may not be running at a full sprint, but you will at any given time see him walking, jogging, running and moving in various directions. The goal in strength training is to avoid injury, gain more energy, and improve explosive power and speed. Josh Hewett at BodyBuilding.com offers functional fitness workouts for soccer players tailored towards both the playing season and the off season.
Baseball players have some unique needs when it comes to functional strength training. A special focus needs to be placed on explosive exercises that can develop the fast twitch muscle fibers needed for batting and throwing, especially pitching. Lower body exercise is also important to improve throwing and, of course, for the explosive sprinting energy needed to take off and run the bases. This Stack workout focuses on explosive energy, the lower body, the rotational core, the hips, and the upper body. Every piece serves a specific purpose.
We obviously can’t focus on every sport in one article but we hope this gives you a great starting point. Leave a comment to let us know what sport you need help finding functional training workouts for and we’ll do our best to help you out in future posts.