Inside the Training Room – Lifting


Many times, it is thought that weightlifting is reserved for male-dominated sports that require a lot of force and power. That’s false. All athletes, male and female, of all sports can benefit from lifting. In the Athletic Training world, lifting is referred to as, “Long Term Athletic Development.” The official name itself shows that the benefits an athlete can gain from lifting are extensive and long standing.

Not only does lifting do the obvious, such as improve strength, but it also improves flexibility, power, and speed of the athlete as a whole, as well as the resiliency of muscles and tendons. Athletes’ muscles and connective tissues are constantly put under stress, but lifting weights makes these body parts stronger, thus less susceptible to injuries under that constant stress. On the flip side, when an injury does occur, muscles and tissues that have been strengthened through lifting are likely to heal themselves faster.

“Long Term Athletic Development is a large concept we’ve brought to Forest Hills Central through our Strength and Conditioning program,” says Head Athletic Trainer JaNae Stewart.

This program, using the motto, “Ranger Strong,” has sessions three times a week throughout the whole year for all athletes of all levels. During the summer, the program requires a sign-up, due to the large numbers of participants. The sessions during the school year are available to any athlete on a show-up basis. The participants of these programs attend when they are able, typically when they are in their off-season. JaNae is always directing the sessions, designing lifting combinations and cardio routines that will help all athletes of all sports that are in attendance.

“I lift in the offseason three days a week and I sometimes go on weekends if I miss a day,” says junior basketball player Claire Baguley. “I have been lifting since freshman year, but started doing it more often and more seriously this past summer. I have noticed my skill improve when I finish my shots around the rim. I’m not pushed around as easily and I can go much stronger to the basket. Lifting has made me a better athlete.”

While in season, different sports lift together as a team. With JaNae setting up the lifts for the day and supervising the athletes, the students lifting are taught the safe and proper way to perform exercises. This way, injuries are reduced and maximum results are obtained from each lift. Many times during these team-lifting sessions, JaNae prepares a workout that is sport-specific and directly beneficial to those athletes.

Attending these school-provided Strength and Conditioning sessions will most definitely benefit a FHC athlete when their season comes around. Getting overall stronger and in better shape can only be beneficial. Lifting can simultaneously reduce your chances of getting injured and make you faster, stronger, and overall more powerful for your sport.

“I would definitely recommend lifting to all athletes,” says Claire. “Not only does it improve strength and athletic performance, but I feel like I’m in much better shape and healthier than before I started lifting.