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Weight Training for Sports Performance

Research was performed to determine if weight-training exercises specific to particular movements helped to increase performance in that movement. To test this hypothesis, previously trained subjects were divided into two groups, a control group and a weight training group. The control group performed no weight training exercises and the weight-training group performed the squat and bench press for 4-6 sets of 6-10 reps twice a week for 8 weeks. Both groups were tested at the beginning of the study and at the end of the 8 week training period. Testing results indicated that the weight-training group performed better in tests that were specific to the squat and bench press than the control group. The weight training group did not perform better than the control group in tests that were not similar to the movement patterns used in the squat and bench press.

This study furthers the contention that when developing an exercise program to improve performance in a particular activity or sport, the coach or athlete must be sure to carefully analyze what they need to improve with their conditioning program. When developing a conditioning program, it is important to consider the specific movements performed and any weaknesses an individual may have that are limiting their performance. Figure skaters for example, often land on one leg after performing a leaping movement. These athletes need to therefore perform weight bearing exercises that involve placing weight on one leg at a time such as step ups or split squats. While other exercises such as squats are also important for these athletes, they are not necessarily the best in terms of sports specific movements.


Wilson GJ, Murphy AJ, Walshe A, The specificity of weight training: the effect of posture. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1996, 73:3-4, 346-52

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