Increased Sports Performance and Chiropractic

Strength training is an essential element of fitness for virtually every sports man and woman. Long gone are the days when coaches believed resistance exercises only added unnecessary bulk to the athlete, hindering their ability to execute skill.1

The principles of training promote a steady and specific increase in strength and other abilities by specifically adapting the routine to the needs of the sport and, most importantly, to the physical capacity of the individual athlete. The rules and principles work hand in hand in the quest to develop superior programs of strength.2

The benefits of strength training to athletic performance are enormous and many. Not only is it an integral conditioning component for power athletes such as football and rugby players, performance in the pure endurance events can be improved with a well-structured strength routine.

However, aside from perhaps bodybuilders, sport-specific resistance training requires a more refined approach than simply lifting heavy weights to complete exhaustion. A physiological analysis of any game or event will confirm that most athletes require explosive power, muscular endurance, maximal strength or some combination of all three in order to excel. Rarely is pure muscle bulk the primary concern and when it is, other elements of strength are equally as important.3

The past few years the sport and fitness market has been invaded by many products that claim to improve athletic performance greatly. An understanding of biomechanics and exercise physiology, however, reveals that many of the products intended to improve strength, speed, and power actually inhibit them...In many exercises and promises of miraculous improvement. Not very often, however do they address the issues of anatomical and neuromuscular adaptation, which are central to performance improvement and should be the foundation for all sport-specific programs.4


No matter what sport a person participate in their development and abilities include strength training. While many strength training programs are designed for overall muscle strength, sports trainers focus on the muscles needed to excel in a particular. Therefore, a golf strength training program will differ from that for football or baseball, strengthening the muscles used in the specific sport.

While there is no specific muscle that has to stand out like those of a body builder, those used in golf need to be trained to work together as one unit. With the twisting and turning involved in hitting a golf ball during the swing, having all the muscles strong and working together can provide a longer hit either from the tee or from the ground. Through golf strength training the muscles are defined as a group rather than individual muscles.5

The benefit of strength and strength training for footballers is well supported by research. For example, De Proft and colleagues had one group of Belgian professionals perform extra weight training during the season. Compared to a control group of colleagues who did no extra training, the players improved their kicking power and leg strength. In addition, British researcher Thomas Reilly showed that the stronger players outlasted the weaker players in terms of a regular place in the team, and had reduced injury risks. He recommends that leg strength in particular is developed, especially in the quadriceps and hamstrings, to help stabilize the knee joint, which is the most frequently injured joint in football. Peter Apor, a Hungarian researcher who has been involved in long-term studies of Hungarian professionals, agrees, saying that knee-extension torque has been associated with success in the game and that strong hamstring muscles in relation to quadriceps are crucial to knee injury prevention. Another common football injury is hernia, for which the best protection is developing strong abdominal muscles.6


In 2006, a research study was performed to assess whether chiropractic adjustments increased muscle strength in leg muscles and the results were conclusive and imperative for any athlete; either professional or recreational. The implications go well beyond sports as this also affects the workplace and manual labor of any kind.

Simply put, the brain has to communicate, or talk to muscles in order to fully function, or recruit all motor units (individual parts of the muscle) during a maximal voluntary contraction. The adjustment activates mechanoreceptors (parts of the nerve responsible for firing the muscle and causing contractions.)

The results of the study showed a significant (10%) increase in quadricept (leg muscle) strength in the treatment group after the chiropractic adjustment, while prior to the adjustment there was no statistical difference between treatment groups. This clearly indicates that chiropractic care increases muscle strength in any individual and has far reaching affects in every type of athlete as well as every other activity of daily living.7

These studies, along with many others conclude that a drug-free approach of chiropractic care is one of the best solutions to increase muscle strength. To find a qualified doctor of chiropractic near you, go to the US Chiropractic Directory at www.USChiroDirectory.comand search your state.

7Bernd Hillermann, Adrian Neil Gomes, Charmaine Korporaal, Dennis Jackson, A Pilot Study Comparing the Effects of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Those of Extra-Spinal Manipulative Therapy on Quadriceps Muscle Strength, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics., February 2006 (Vol. 29, Issue 2)

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