When ADAPT coaches review the components of our training system with athletes and parents, we inevitably field many questions about our approach to “strength training” and “weight training”. While it may seem like we are nitpicking, there is an important distinction between working on strength and working with weights.

Strength is an athletic quality.

Not only is having adequate levels of strength critical for increased sports performance and decreased risk of injury, but improving strength is also one of the primary reason athletes come to train with ADAPT. We spend more time in each session on strength training than on any other component of our system. “Strength training” is about using the appropriate exercises to produce greater force and demonstrating this force production in multiple positions and at multiple angles.

Weights are simply implements or tools.

Our training space features kettlebells ranging from 13 to 106 pounds, dumbbells ranging from 5 to 100 pounds, and barbell plates ranging from 0.25 to 45 pounds. You might assume that an athlete immediately grabs the heaviest kettlebell he or she can hold and starts “weight training” on the first day of training. With ADAPT’s progressive strength training programs, however, we start every athlete with bodyweight progressions before an individual earns a weighted vest, kettlebells and dumbbells, and finally barbells.

To put it bluntly, “weight training” is training with weights. The goal of “weight training” is to lift more weight. In pursuit of this goal, you might get stronger but you might not. Should you leave developing this critical component of athleticism to chance?

A proper strength program ensures that you develop perfect technique to boost your resistance to injury and ultimately gain the most amount of strength possible rather than simply lift more weight. Our progressive strength training system uses weights only once you have earned them and this difference helps ADAPT build better athletes.