Any training style or program has pros and cons associated with it, but there is a huge bias when it comes to women's basketball weight training.
Dumbbells or Barbells?
As a strength coach, I say college coaches are biased toward barbell training, although this may vary by program. As an injury prevention purist, I prefer dumbbells for my athletes (ages 10-collegiate), but I alter my programs as well, based on the athlete. Here are a few pros and cons.
- Appropriate for Beginners. Holding the weights in each hand promotes coordination and stabilization and engages more muscle fibers overall.
- Safer to Use. If you become fatigued during reps, you can drop the weights with little or no risk of injury, as opposed to getting pinned under the barbell during a Back Squat.
- Works on Imbalances. Exclusively using a barbell ignores imbalances between limbs, which you can recognize and fix with Dumbbells.
- Necessary for Explosive Lifts. For Olympic lifting, advanced athletes need the bar to execute moves with greater power.
- Allow for More Weight. Lets face it, if you make progress, there will come a point when holding Dumbbells is too much, and a barbell will allow you to lift heavier weights more comfortably.
Three factors to consider
- Women's lower-limb strength can be comparable to that of their male counterparts.
- Female athletes' upper-body strength is generally significantly less than that of male athletes.
- Female athletes' hip, core and inner thigh strength is generally less than that of male athletes.
An emphasis on functional movements and progressing from body weight to resistance bands to dumbbells to barbells are desirable to help female basketball players prevent injuries and prolong their careers while building peak athleticism.
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