Why female footballers should lift
American Football is an incredibly physical game which puts considerable stress on the body. Females are genetically less strong than their male counterparts, and so the game can be even tougher. Therefore strength training is essential to protect the body, plus it also has several other advantages! Read below to find out which:
To reduce risk of injury
- Sport specific training through clever programming can increase performance and reduce the risk of injury.
- Reduce risk of ACL injury – women are more likely to experience an ACL injury than men – a pretty serious injury that could put you out for months. However, sport scientists have found that strengthening the muscles around knee joint (particularly the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps), whilst correcting landing and jumping mechanics, can reduce risk of injury.
- Build healthy tissue – through weight training your tissues will be able to withstand greater loads. When your muscles are strong, yet supple, your body is better prepared to do what is required in the game. On the field this could translate to staying on your feet while someone tries to block or tackle you.
- Increased stability – through strengthening the muscles around the joints weakness are removed, thus reducing pain or stresses caused by possible muscle imbalances.
- Fatigue is a leading cause of injury which in turn leads to time away from the field. Increased muscle strength through weight lifting will increase the levels of stress the body is able to take during a game. Therefore leading to a decrease in fatigue and maintained performance.
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis – through increased loading of the skeleton, the bone structure strengthens, thus decreasing the risk of osteoporosis (a common disease in women). This would be of particular benefit to retired and older football players when bones become more brittle.
- Increased integrity of tendons and ligaments means your body is more durable to stresses from football.
- Increased recovery time – the healthier the tissue, the better your recovery post training or game, therefore the sooner you’ll be able to get back to training.
Build a healthy mindset
- Confidence – not only does weight lifting make you physically stronger, it also improves your mental strength. This stronger mindset will transfer over to the playing field, increasing your confidence, making you more willing to take calculated risks on the field.
- Mental Alertness – weight training can improve mental alertness which in turn increases reaction time, resulting in less missed tackles, better reading of the defence and more caught interceptions.
- Independence – because of your increased strength you won’t need to rely on anyone else because you can do it yourself!
Improve on-field performance
- Touchdowns – with increased strength and improved mechanics comes more power and speed – equalling more catches, rushing yards, completed tackles, touch downs and caught interceptions.
- A leaner look – research has found strength training to decrease body fat, leading to a leaner look.
- Unfortunately the media gives an unrealistic representation of what females athletes should look like. Similarly old perceptions that women who weight lift will become ‘bulky’ is untrue and has been disproved.
- Each athlete has their own unique skill set, their own unique qualities which make them great at what they do. As such, each athlete will have a different body shape. No one body shape is better than the other. You don’t need to have a six pack or huge biceps to be a great football player, but if you want to enhance what great qualities you already have then lifting weights will do that for you!
So what are you waiting for?
Want to know more about how you can get the most out of your training? Then click here.