Jeff Allen knows as well as anybody that injuries can ruin a career. The football trainer for the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide had his playing career ended by a torn ACL before his senior year of high school.
Now, Allen advocates strength training as an injury-preventing measure. He recently shared a few basic tips for strengthening your upper body, and why doing so can increase your chances of remaining healthy throughout the season.
Why do athletes need upper-body strength?
Allen: Strength training is important for injury prevention and prepares you for the rigors of the season. You’re going to have a tremendous amount of wear and tear on your body, and the stronger you are, the less chance you’ll be injured.
For athletes new to upper-body strength training, where’s a good place to start?
Bodyweight pushups can really make a difference. Before you ever get on the bench, make sure you can do a pushup. You need to be able to control your bodyweight before lifting other weights.
What do athletes commonly fail to do when training their upper body?
Athletes tend to focus only on the muscles they see in the mirror. They forget about the posterior muscles (the muscles on the back of the body). If you don’t train the muscles you can’t see, you are going to have problems.
Also, too many people focus on numbers. They get caught up in how much they can bench. We’re talking about training for sports, not trying to turn someone into a professional weightlifter.
Proper technique and learning how to do a lift correctly is more importantly. Then you can progress from there.