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Today we will be discussing how young athletes who need to gain size, will not slow down if they start to lift heavy. I hope this can help!

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So a common question we get asked from younger football players is that “if I start lifting weights and putting on muscle mass will I get slower”. And the short answer is no if you are a younger athlete who needs to get bigger. Key words are younger and getting bigger. If you lack muscle mass, strength training can actually help with speed. Speed is all about force production. Lifting puts force against your body essentially. So this force can help make your legs stronger, ankles stronger and knees stronger which in turn can help you produce more force. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you are doing heavy squats. That’s obviously a leg exercise and it is building a strong foundation with your lower body. So when your lower body is strong you are able to do certain movements/cuts/routes that other athletes with weak skinny legs couldn’t do. So when it comes to speed your foot strike is important. When you run you never want your heel to hit the ground. You want to stay on the ball of your foot so you can quickly drive your knee up and have the proper stride length. So that requires leg strength and stability. More importantly ankle stability. So with strong legs it is easier to stay striking the ground on the ball of your foot and it’s easier to create force driving your knee up. With weaker legs/ankles it’s hard to avoid your heel hitting the ground when running or even when jumping. I hope this parallel can make sense. Now another reason that lifting weights for young athletes is beneficial is that it can help you prevent injuries. When running constantly you are putting stress on your body. If you have weak legs you can experience a lot of over training/overuse injuries from constant wear and tear. Like I said, strength training will help you absorb force and keep you away from certain injuries. So I don’t think strength training & lifting heavy will slow you down. Now if you’re an athlete who doesn’t need to get bigger- I don’t think lifting heavy should be your biggest priority. However you can’t neglect it. Being strong never hurt anybody. However, your main priority should be explosive movements and moving weight fast if you are already big enough. But please do not neglect training for strength. Your body’s ability to produce force and withstand force can only help you. 

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