As the old saying goes, “Strong women lift each other up.” This couldn’t be more true than in the world of high school sports. In order to ensure that our female athletes are able to reach their full potential, it is important that they have access to strength and conditioning programs that are specifically designed with their needs in mind.
When it comes to athletic performance and injury mitigation, proper strength and conditioning programming is essential for all athletes, regardless of gender. However, there are some key differences that need to be taken into account when designing programs for female athletes. For example, girls tend to mature earlier than boys both physically and emotionally. This difference must be taken into consideration when designing training programs, as too much intensity too soon can lead to burnout or even injuries.
Another key difference between boys and girls is their bodies’ differing responses to resistance training. Studies have shown that girls tend to see greater improvements in muscular endurance, while boys tend to see greater gains in muscle size and strength. Therefore, it is important to design programs that focus on the specific needs of the individual athlete.
Finally, it is also important to create a weight room culture that is inviting and supportive for all athletes. Too often, girls can feel like they don’t belong in the weight room and this can dissuade them from taking part in these important activities. It is crucial that we make all athletes feel welcome and encourage them to push themselves both mentally and physically.
Reduced Risk of Injury
One of the most important benefits of strength and conditioning for high school female athletes is that it can help reduce their risk of injury. Studies have shown that properly designed training programs can help prevent injuries by as much as 50%.
This is especially true for ACL injuries, which are common in female athletes due to their wide hips and lack of muscle mass around the knee joint. Particularly those who participate in sports that involve cutting or pivoting movements. While there are many factors that contribute to ACL injury risk, studies have shown that girls who participate in regular strength training can reduce their risk by as much as 82 percent.
By increasing the strength and stability of the muscles around the knee, we can help reduce the risk of ACL tears and other serious injuries.
Improved Athletic Performance
Another benefit of strength and conditioning programs for high school female athletes is that they can help improve athletic performance. Studies have shown that properly designed training programs can increase sprint speed, jump height, and power output. This is especially true for activities that involve explosive movements, such as sprinting, jumping, and throwing. In addition, strength and conditioning programs can help improve endurance by increasing the efficiency with which muscles use oxygen.
Studies have also shown that after just eight weeks of resistance training, previously sedentary teenage girls can increase their muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. Strong muscles not only protect against injury, but they also improve athletic performance. While simultaneous improving bone density, According to the National Institute of arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, weight-bearing activities like resistance training can help contribute to increased bone density. This is especially important for female athletes as they are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis later in life.
Weight Room Culture
A third benefit of strength and conditioning programs is that they can help create a positive weight room culture. For many female athletes, the weight room is an intimidating place. They may feel self-conscious about their bodies or worry that they’re not strong enough. However, strength training has been shown to improve mental health by reducing stress levels, improving sleep quality, and increasing self-esteem. For teenage girls who are dealing with the added pressures of school and social media, these benefits can be invaluable. This allows female athletes to feel comfortable learning how to safely lift weights and progress at their own pace.
As any coach or administrator knows, high school sports are a crucial part of the student experience. They promote teamwork, discipline, and healthy competition. But in order to protect the safety of our student-athletes, it’s important that they participate in strength and conditioning programs that are tailored specifically to their needs. By helping them build strong muscles, bones, and minds, we set them up for success both on and off the field!
Our Collaborative Planning Process allows you to prepare your project stress free by allowing our team to become your personal project manager. The real-time planning and organization of thoughts gives you back time and clarity as a leader. If you’d like to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION, please fill out this form.