The Basic Blueprint: Step 1
When I was growing up, I was urged to participate in multiple sports and regularly encouraged to “play” in gym class and neighborhood pick-up games. It was through these experiences that I learned basic movement skills such as squatting, jumping, hopping and running – all of which aided in my overall athletic ability and prepared my body for the movement demands of soccer.
Since I was a kid, strength has played a crucial role in improving my athletic performance, keeping me largely injury free and giving me the confidence I needed to relentlessly pursue my goal of playing soccer at the highest level. Strength has been the foundation of my success.
It is through my successes that I’ve become passionate about educating young female athletes (and their parents) about why I believe strength training is a critical component in their athletic journeys. In short, it can help them reach their maximal athletic potential and ultimately help them become a better athlete.
Unfortunately, today’s society is quite the opposite from when I was growing up. The majority of kids’ days are occupied by Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, etc. encouraging poor posture and little to no movement or play.
At the same time, these kids are pressured to forgo participating in multiple sports to specialize in one sport much earlier than previous generations. As a result, their bodies are not equipped to handle the load they are being asked to undertake. Coupled with the fact that females are generally weaker than their male counterparts, we’re seeing more and more injuries and burnout at earlier ages.
Ideally these athletes should be exposed to different movements through various sports, but if that isn’t going to be the case, then I believe it is important to develop a foundation of strength early on. Mastering the basic bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-ups, pull-ups is critical to building a life long foundation of strength.
Sure picking up a barbell or dumbbell is fun, challenging, and something new, but mastering basic bodyweight exercises is the key to a long, injury-free career.
I spent years performing only bodyweight squats, lunges and push-ups before even picking up a dumbbell or barbell – thus allowing my body to develop the most strong and stable base possible.
And, this kids and parents is what provided me the ability to play at the highest level.
Follow this link to view the video of one of my favorite single-leg bodyweight exercises.
Until next time.