I have done 2 years worth of weight training for football and for the last 12 to eight months I have adopted bodybuilding programs (because I have now given up football), so I know the differences between the two types of training.
Most coaches/sports fitness advisors will set you a general strength program and will steer you away that of a body building program. Coaches will say that they do not want your muscles to be fatigued for games or even training, this is a justified request especially if you play at a high level. So they might suggest to you less sets or use light weights, this can be effective to some extent but will loose it's effectiveness after about one month. Therefore put an end to that dream physique.
The Key is to train hard in the gym on days you don't train for your sport and take into consideration what type of training your coach will have install for you the next day so you will not have fatigued muscles that you might be relying on. For example, a very easy mistake is training legs. Almost every sport requires using your legs and its something that could end up setting you back come game day. I believe that most sports like football require very little leg work during the season because they will be receiving a decent work out during your training any way. I would suggest doing squats and possibly calf raises, only about every seven to ten days (taking into consideration the days of your sport training). Use low reps with a heavy weight, this will increase your leg power which will be very beneficial as well as creating extra size into your legs which is obviously what you are looking for i.e. if you want the bodybuilder look as well. REMEMBER don't over do it on the number of sets.
The upper body can be trained a lot harder and more frequently than coaches or team Fitness Advisors will tell you. By doing their programs they virtually leave out arms all together! "Because they're not necessary" Yeah Right! Maybe if you don't want to look good. I believe that you can go virtually as hard as you can on upper body, as long as you are still taking into consideration when your next game is. Again I believe that doing low reps and heavy weights is a very good way of training for a sport because you gain useful power and size and won't run the risk of over training (which your coaches are afraid of).
Exercises like all presses and body weight exercises, e.g. Dips and Pull Ups are often overlooked. This is a shame because free weights will benefit you the most as a sportsman/women wanting to bodybuild on the side. The beauty of free weights is that they not only work very well building muscles, they also strengthen joints and tendons because of the balance your body has to adopt in order to accommodate the weight. This is something that will help you greatly, especially if you play a contact sport because it leaves less room for injury.
Here is a sample weights routine:
- Bench Press 3 x 4-8
- Dips 3 x 6-8
- Military Press 3 x 6-8
- Incline DB Curls 3 x 6-8
- Standing BB Curls 3 x 6-8
- Dead Lifts 3 x 6-8
- Squats 3 x 6-8
- Standing Calf Raises 3 x 10-12
(holding DB's By your sides)
These will vary from person to person depending on the experience in ab training. Ab work should always be done in slow and controlled movements to get the full effect of the exercise.
- Crunches 3 x 30?
- Reverse Crunches 3 x 30?
- Twists 3 x 30?
While undertaking intense weight training as well as playing a sport I would consider taking a good recovery supplement like Glutamine to make sure you are fully recovered for that next session on the track.
Although in this article I did not reveal any well kept secrets, I did try to give people, that might not know how to train for a sports as well as bodybuilding, a good understanding of a balanced routine between the two styles of training. I realize that some of your coaches may force you to do their routine, and therefore what you just read was a waste of time. So I apologize to you. But if you were unsure of how to weight train for a sport and to create that great physique with out fatiguing your muscles I hope this was of benefit to you and could maybe use this as a guide to your training.
Good luck in your sport and in the weights room.