Sports Training and the Weight Room

A recent post by Keir Wenham-Flatt discusses training in the weight room versus sports performance. In this article, he compares an athlete training in sport only to an athlete doing weight room training only. Keir deduces that the sport-only training athlete would win “every single day of the week!”

I’ve been thinking lots about this article. While he does go on to say that physical training might be required if a structured sport practice cannot achieve the physical goals, I partially dispute this for some sports.

Who Am I to Comment?

Am I a professional sports athlete? No. Am I a strength and conditioning coach – not yet, but I am working on it.

Recently, I have started helping a rugby team – coaching, training, and first aid stuff. The team ranges in physical condition from thin to heavy, with some strong forwards, and several fast backs. What I have observed, is the cardio-strong players get run over by the opposition because they are unable to anchor themselves to the ground and wrap the opponent. The forwards either have decent leg strength, but lack full range of motion to get down and drive, or they can get deep, but lack the power to drive. The smaller guys also become noticeable weaknesses in scrums, at line outs, or in rucks.

Why the Weight Room Is Important All the Time

I believe that an athlete, such as a rugby or football player, requires a mix of sport and weight training year round. Why? These guys vary in size and so do the people they line up against. If my forward pack weighs a combined 878kg (1935 lbs) and are up against a pack weighing 936kg (2063 lbs), which team will probably be stronger in the scrum? If you don’t prepare individual forwards to front and back squat heavy or push a heavy sled, how will they build the strength to push against the heavier opposition? Maybe a rugby player will eventually develop the strength to push everyone around, but withouts weights as part of the equation, it is going to be difficult for me weighing 150 pounds to develop the strength to knock down someone weighing even just 30 pounds more.

Unfortunately, sports also have off seasons. During this time, I believe it is even more important that the gym and weights be used to maintain/improve for the next season.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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