Why ultimate players should move heavy things
This is a quick post to collect some thoughts on how strength training applies to ultimate frisbee.
A good place to start is a take by runners world on strength training for runners. https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20074772/strength-training-for-runners/
They lay out some good arguments for the basics of strength training and how it relates to an activity that is primarily lower body locomotion centric. Here are my thoughts on the specific movements we choose to start with in our ultimate frisbee strength training class:
Front squats to a great job of building lower body strength and flexibility with a quad bias. We use our quads to decelerate (think the hollywood squares drill or anytime you are making a cut) so having a strong base including quad strength is important. Additionally front squats require good ankle flexibility and strength. Because the ankle is put into dorsiflextion (https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/dorsiflexion) the achilles and calf are stretched and strengthened reducing the risk of achilles tendonitis or injury.
A lot of frisbee players injure their shoulders laying out, or even just extending to catch a frisbee in a contested space. Improving shoulder strength and flexibility enables us to survive contact with the ground or other players with reduced risk of dislocation or fracture. Strict pressing or overhead pressing is more beneficial than bench pressing because it requires overhead flexibility and strength. If we struggle to press weight overhead often it is due to shoulder inflexibility first and lack of strength second. Gain the flexibility, build the strength, keep the arms in the sockets.
Kettlebell deadlifts are the first in a series of progressions intended to strengthen the posterior chain. We can be more explosive as sprinting athletes if we have a strong posterior chain. Learning to brace and engage your core, transferring power placed into the floor from your posterior chain all the way to your hands/arms through your core train and strengthen your body in the application of force to move a heavy object.
Thoughts on strength, to power, to speed to endurance:
The goal is to progress through a sequences of movements that enable us to accomplish three things over time:
- Build muscle activation/strength within our existing flexibility, improve flexibility (range of motion available to us), and increase strength in the new range of motion we’ve gained.
- Transfer that strength into explosive power, moving from slower movements (press, squat, deadlift) into faster movements, moving similar weights over similar distances but faster. Squat to a jumping squat, wall ball or box jump. Deadlift to a kettlebell swing, power clean, or jumping trap bar deadlifts. Strict press to a push press, push jerk. Explosive power, that is applying a force quickly, is what really enables us to move faster on the field. Explosive power requires and is built on top of a strength base through a long range of motion.
- Finally building the muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance while retaining the strength, flexibility and power we’re now able to operate with allows us to move faster over longer periods of time, like over 3 days…