6 Strength Training Exercises To Improve Your Sports Performance
Guest Post by CA Personal Trainer Charlie Dennis
Regardless of what your favorite activity is, it’s important to prepare your body if you’ve taken a break or hiatus. Most people wouldn’t run a marathon or benchpress 250 pounds without previous training, but minor injuries are more common in the spring and summer because people often jump straight into common sports like golf, tennis, cycling and hiking without proper preparation.
Pre-training for sports has been proven to increase performance, enjoyment and reduce the chances of injury. Check out a few great strength training moves below!
Benefits: A good set of squats have A LOT of benefits. They build strength in your knees and glutes, and increase your endurance for sports like cycling, tennis and golf. Squats can be done at home or at the gym. And of course, squats may also win you more compliments on how good you look in those new pants as well! It’s one of the five movements that we use daily, so they’re incredibly functional too.
How: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with feet flat on the floor. Imagine you are sitting down: Push your hips and butt backwards while keeping your core strong and back straight. Repeat for 10 reps.
*For more of a challenge, try a goblet squat: hold a dumbbell or medicine ball with both hands to your chest and squat. This is a great exercise to work the core and arms.
Benefits: This is a low-impact exercise that strengthens your core, legs and glute muscles. It’s often recommended by physical therapists for rebuilding strength in the lower body. The best part of this exercise? You can do it lying down on your living room floor or comfy yoga mat, happy days!
How: Start by lying down with your back flat and feet planted on the floor, close to your butt. Slowly push with your feet to rise your hips until you form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold this position for two seconds, then slowly return to your starting point.
*Looking for a more of a challenge? Try a single leg bridge: Starting in the same position, push up with one leg on the floor while straightening your other leg into the air. Repeat 10 times for each leg.
Benefits: If you play almost any ball sport, you know how important rotating your upper body is to your technique. The oblique muscles are the core muscles that run down the side of your body to help generate power for that long drive or epic forehand, so training them improves your game and minimizes injury, especially over-rotation injuries in the lower back. Russian twists are a staple exercise for professional golfers and tennis players.
How: Start by sitting on the floor with your heels grounded. Keeping your back straight and shoulders relaxed, move a dumbbell or medicine ball from side to side until you feel your core engage. It’s best to start slowly with a lower weight to ensure proper technique, then increase the weight when you’re comfortable. Start with 10 reps on each side.
Medicine ball slams
Benefits: This is one of my personal favorites! It’s an excellent total-body exercise that combines aerobic and strength training, and it’s a great way to release some stress after a day of Zoom calls at your kitchen table. This low-impact exercise builds power in your legs, core, arms and back. It’s a staple move of CA’s Tribe classes, and I use it in all of my circuit training with clients.
How: Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, the medicine ball between your legs. Keeping your back straight, squat down, pick up the medicine ball. Then stand and lift the ball above your head then throw it down as hard as you can. Start with 10 reps on each side and enjoy that exercise therapy!
Get your workout on with CA
CA’s three fitness clubs have everything you need to launch an exercise regimen. Whether you’re interested in state-of-the-art equipment, fun group fitness classes, aquatic workouts or personal training programs, we’ve got you covered. Check out our website to learn more.