By: Michael Jeffrey
Will Weight Training Make You Slow?
Throughout my years of working in the field of strength and conditioning there has been one particular question that I have noticed reoccurs more than any other: “Will weight training make me slow?” No matter the sport, every athlete’s goal is to get faster and more efficient, but the common mistake made by many of them is thinking that if you weight train with heavy loads then you will get bulky and slow. Far too many people train with this belief already instilled. This results in a disservice to themselves and their potential when it comes to programming for their specific sport. When you weight train properly, you will grow in size and weight, but you will not become slower. An individual only becomes slower through utilizing a poorly planned training program that is not tailored towards the goals of their specific sport.
How Do I Train?
I want you to think about what it takes to have a good vertical jump. This movement is involved in a wide variety of sports. It takes a high level and speed of force to be proficient at this movement. A vertical jump will take two to five tenths of a second to develop depending on the individual. With this is mind, now the big question is “How can I train outside of the practice field to not only jump higher, but run faster?”. This is where individuals tend to become scared of the weight room due to the belief that lifting heavy and gaining weight will result in the loss of speed and explosiveness.
Too many young athletes are training like bodybuilders instead of specifically training to be fast and explosive for their sport. These types of programs can be beneficial for putting on size, but they can negatively impact your overall rate of force development, which is a crucial factor of increasing your speed. Training in this fashion will lead to an individual becoming bigger and slower. To achieve significant growth in size and speed an athlete needs to improve the rate of force development and explosive power by moving moderately heavy loads in the weight room as fast as you can. If you take 60 to 70 percent of your one rep max on squat and move that weight as fast as you can then you will see a direct transfer to increased speed and explosiveness on the field.
How Does Weight Training Affect Your Body?
There a certain muscle fibers in your body that are built for explosive activity. They help you run faster and jump higher during your games. Many people are born with a certain number of these fibers which can explain why some people are naturally more explosive than others. While genes can be a huge limiting factor, there are some muscle fibers in your body that can be manipulated through training. These muscle fibers can be trained to increase your explosiveness by teaching your body how to move quickly and efficiently through exercises. This will result in the conversion of these muscle fibers to become more explosive which will lead to increases in running speed and jump height. Not only will these muscle fibers change, but your brain will become more efficient at sending signals to your muscles when performing explosive activities. With these newly formed motor pathways your body will only continue to become more proficient at all of these movements.