Fo the rest of the semester, the High School Swimmers who train with Coach Andy will going to the school fitness room to do a strength training program. They will do this on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have any concerns, please first read the article below, then send me an e-mail if you have any questions.
What Is Strength Training?
Strength training is much more than quickly lifting a few weights. When you strength train with weights, you’re using your muscles to work against the extra pounds; this strengthens them, so you are stronger and have more endurance when you swim. The program you are starting is designed to make you physically stronger and to have more endurance, it is not designed specifically to make you bigger, that is called Body Building, yes if you use muscles they will get bigger, but that is not our main purpose, our aim is make you faster for swimming.
There’s a big difference between strength training, weightlifting, power lifting, and competitive bodybuilding! We will be focusing on STRENGTH TRAINING, we definitely will not be body building or Power Lifting. Power lifting, concentrates on how much weight a person can lift at one time. This type of power lifting is not recommended for people in their early teens, because a person’s body is developing fast during this time and this type of activity can lead to serious injuries of growing bones, muscles, and joints.
Most people who work out with weights typically use two different kinds: free weights, which include barbells and dumbbells, and weight machines, which are made by companies like Nautilus. Machines are often designed to help you isolate and work on a specific muscle; free weights usually work a group of muscles at the same time.
For instance, you can do a squat using free weights by placing a barbell across the back of your shoulders and squatting down like a baseball catcher. This type of exercise works multiple muscles, including the quadriceps (the front of the thigh), the hamstring (the back of the thigh), and even your gluteus maximus (your behind.) When you do a leg extension on a muscle isolation machine, you sit in a chair with your knee bent at 90 degrees and slowly straighten your leg against the padded bar. This particular exercise isolates and works the quadriceps muscle.
The school fitness room has free weights and machine weights, we will be using a combination of both to strengthen different groups of muscles.
What Are Some Dangers of Strength Training?
You may love the challenge of lifting, especially if you and your friends do it together., you’ll definitely see results over a few months in your muscles and in your ability to progressively lift more weight. But there are a few things to look out for.
Because your bones, joints, and tendons are still growing and developing, it’s easy to overdo it and strain or even permanently damage them. Take it easy, the strength training program you will be doing is is designed to help your swimming, not make you bigger. When you’re in the middle of a strength-training session and something doesn’t feel right to you, stop what you’re doing and have a doctor check it out before you resume training. It’s possible you may need to modify your training or even stop lifting weights for a while to allow the injury to heal.
Another danger surrounding strength training is the use of anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs and pills that supposedly help muscles develop. You may have even heard rumours about some athletes at your school who use them. Steroid use is widespread in many sports – including bodybuilding, baseball, and track and field. But because many of their long-term effects on the body are still unknown – and because they are linked to health problems like cancer, heart disease, and sterility – you should not use them. The benefit is definitely not worth the risk!
What Is a Healthy Routine?
If you’re just starting out in the weight room, most fitness experts recommend you begin by training three sessions a week, ranging from 20 minutes to an hour, allowing at least a day off between sessions. Before you head for the weight bench, you should warm up your muscles by spending 10 minutes either riding the stationary bike, use the vaso trainer, run on the treadmill or use the rowing machine, you could even take a 10 minute fast walk.
There are many different exercises you can use for each body part, I have given you specific exercises to do that relate to swimming, perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions (or reps) of each exercise, starting out with a lighter weight to warm up and then increase the weight with the second and third sets. The routine will change after a few weeks.
Here are five basic rules to follow in strength training:
- Don’t work out with weights more than three times a week. And never weight train on back-to-back days.
- Warm up for 10 minutes before each session.
- Spend no more than 30 to 40 minutes in the weight room to avoid fatigue or boredom.
- Work more repetitions; avoid max lifts. (Specifics can be taught by a coach or teacher.)
- Ensure you’re using proper technique through supervision. Improper technique may result in injuries, particularly in the shoulder and back.
Strength training is a great way for teens to improve their strength, endurance, and muscle tone. But remember to start slowly, use proper form, avoid heavy weights, and increase your workouts gradually to prevent injury. Just a few short sessions a couple of days a week will really pay.
Updated and reviewed by: Joseph A. Congeni, MD
Date reviewed: January 2004
Originally reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD, and Douglas Huisenga, PT, ATC