Don’t underestimate the benefits of strength training for referees. Many people think that strength training will make you big, bulky and too heavy to run about the pitch. If you think the same then perhaps this blog will change your opinion.
In this blog post you get insights in the benefits of strenghth training for referees from Martin, he’s a physical performance coach based in the UK and you can find him as RefereeFit on Instagram. He introduced himself in the previous blog post on recovery strategies for referees.
How strength training helps – great example
Martin Armand: I recently worked with a referee who was also a triathlete, whose training involved swimming, cycling and… running! He avoided any type of strength training because he thought that getting bulky would slow him down! But he found he had hit a plateau and was not progressing. When we started working together, we replaced 2 training sessions a week with gym-based resistance training, to increase his strength and power. In his next competition he got an overall personal best and beat his PB the run and bike by minutes.
8 benefits of strength training for referees
Increasing your strength has many benefits, so maybe it is time to hit the gym?
Let’s have a look at 8 benefits to strength training.
- You get stronger, an obvious one! But strong muscles mean they perform their function more efficiently, both in day-to-day life and as athletes; helping us become more powerful, faster, quicker and more robust (1). More efficient muscles mean less energy used and better physical performance.
- It burns calories. Strength training helps boost your metabolism; muscle is more metabolically efficient than fats (2). This means you burn more calories at rest. So, if you are looking to lose some body fat, think about adding some muscle. Do not worry about scale weight. If you are adding muscle and losing body fat scale weight might not change a lot. In-fact scale weight might go up to start with as you build muscle. But you will be better for it in the long run.
- It reduces the risk of injury. You cannot stop injuries: if they are going to happen, they will. But we can do our best to prevent them from happening. Strength training helps us improve the range of motion and mobility of your ligaments, tendons and muscles (3,4). When rehabbing knee injuries, we look at building strength around the knee, hips and ankles to make them more robust. Strength training also helps level out muscular imbalances that may lead to ineffective body movements. One review found that athletes who then followed a strength training program, reduced their risk of injury by 33% (5).
- It boosts self-esteem. Feeling good about yourself will boost your self-confidence. This will help you overcome challenges and work with more focus towards your goals. You will be surprised at what your body can do with a regular, well-structured strength training program. This can give you the belief to accomplish other jobs. Strength training have also been shown to reduce general anxiety (6).
- Makes bones stronger. Regular strength training does not only improve the strength of your muscles, but also your bones (7,8). Stronger bones reduce the risk of fractures, osteoporosis and falls, especially as you get older. So, start strengthening those bones and muscles now. Your body will thank you later.
- It improves brain health. As we get older our cognitive function declines. This commonly shows as slowness in thinking and maintaining attention. But studies have shown that those who undertake regular strength training may have better brain function and reduce the effects of age-related cognitive decline (9).
- A better quality of life. Studies have shown that regular strength training may increase our overall quality of life, especially as we get older. Studies have shown that there is a significant correlation between resistance training and improving physical function, pain management, mental health, general health and overall energy levels (10).
- It will make you faster. Remember that (acceleration = Force/mass). So, if you want to go faster you need to one or both of the following:
- Decrease your mass, this will mean losing some weight.
- Increase the force you can generate into the ground. The simplest way to do this is by strength training and lifting heavy, working on strength and power.
By doing one or both you can increase your acceleration, meaning you get faster and develop a quicker top speed.
Improve quality of life as well
These are just 8 benefits to strength training and there are many more that will help with being a referee and improve the overall quality of life now, and in the future.
So, if you are finding that you are unable to progress with your training, that you keep having injury problems or that perhaps you want a faster 5 or 10km running time, or maybe you keep struggling to hit the requirements of a fitness test, then adding some strength training to your overall program will push you on that little further. Helping you become fitter, faster, quicker, physically and mentally stronger and more robust. Simply, it will make you better.
Seek guidance for your training
It is important to seek guidance and have a well-structured, planned out strength training program. So, if you would like some personal advice on strength training and have a program written for you, drop me an email or message through social media.
Next, we will look at different types of resistance training: calisthenics, compound and isolation to name a few.
Bonus: nutrition tips
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Thank you very much. Very useful information.
You’re welcome. I hope it helps you, Zukhal.