Key Weightlifting Exercises Boost Sport Fitness and Skills


Weightlifting exercises are often thought of things you do just to get stronger. But training with weights does much more for female athletes.

The right exercises can build strength, power and other performance-related components of fitness.

For women, natural limitations for gaining strength, as well a time constraints, make optimizing training time and effort even more important. Selecting the correct exercises can also help you improve similar movements in sport skills.

To match your weightlifting exercises with the movement qualities of sport skills, consider whole body movements and rhythms that can be simulated with whole body resistive exercises as well as the muscle actions involved. Programs that include explosive as well as non explosive weight training exercises can help yield the best results in the least amount of time.

For sports, free resistive exercises best match the movement demands of sport skills. For example, the gross motor demands of many sports include short sprints, quick reactions, rapid changes of direction, and jumping. Volleyball, basketball, and softball are examples.

Exercises that most closely match the movement demands of women’s sports skills include Olympic Lifting and Olympic Lifting Variations, such as the Power Clean, Jerk, and Snatch. These are at the top of Women’s Sports Priority Lifts.

Women’sSports Priority Lifts

Notice the common elements between the explosive lifts and the skills in these sports. All are weight bearing, require weight shifts toward the balls of the feet, and have similar lower body multi-joint sequences performed with rapidly foot repositioning.

Training with weights in a seated position one joint at a time on multiple machines probably won’t hurt, but the return on your training investment time and effort is minimized.

To improve the strength component of these explosive exercises, include back squat and other slower-paced weight bearing lifts as part of the training program. See the Squat

Also include exercises that simulate important joint actions in sport skills and stabilize and strengthen the trunk. The bench press and core strength exercises are also priority lifts. See Arm Exercises Core Strength Exercises

USA Junior Team

Women Throwers on the 2000 USA National Junior Track and Field Team in Montreal, Canada

For sports such as skiing that require athletes to hold crouched positions with significant weight shifts and high balance demands, weightlifting exercises might include variations of the squats that include holding positions that match the specific strength demands of such movements.

Remember, training the common elements can improve the transfer of learning and performance between skills if you design the program to match large skill movement qualities.