When the legendary basketball player Sue Bird retired in 2022 after the Seattle Storm failed to win the WNBA Western Conference playoffs, she graciously sat down with numerous sports journalists who wanted to highlight her long career. Suzanne Brigitte Bird retired at the age of 41 after playing at the professional level for 20 years, all of which she spent with the Seattle Storm, and she credited her basketball longevity to the team’s vision in terms of physical conditioning, which includes weight training as well as chiropractic care.
There was a time when training with weights was not something that professional basketball teams practiced, and the same can be said about chiropractic care. These days, however, it is quite common for teams in the NBA and WNBA to provide players with both. For a player such as Sue Bird, who won four WNBA titles in addition to four Olympic medals and numerous EuroBasket titles, the combination of weight resistance training and chiropractic therapy sessions was crucial to her performance as a point guard who can easily transition to the forward position in order to attack the paint. Working out with weights is great for strength and balance, which are vital traits of highly dynamic basketball players such as Sue Bird.
Weight training was not something that basketball players pursued until the Michael Jordan era in the 1990s, which is when NBA teams began to add chiropractors to their permanent staff. These days, elite players spend as much time in the gym as they do on the court, and they consider chiropractic sessions as being more than therapeutic; many of them credit team chiropractors with their ability to constantly perform at a high level.
Weight Training for Health and Longevity
Modern basketball players are expected to dominate by means of shaping themselves to be “triple threats” on the court. We can define triple-threat players in two ways. Being able to pass, shoot, and dribble with efficiency is the most common definition, and it has a lot to do with the posture players are able to hold while they are in possession of the ball. The other definition is more tactical in the sense that it refers to players who are able to assist, defend, and attack effectively.
Physical fitness and conditioning specialists who work with NBA and WNBA stars will tell you that triple threat players routinely incorporate weight training not only during formal team training but also when they are away from the court. You will not find triple-threat players such as Sue Bird who do not work out with weights. The reasons basketball coaches insist on weight training these days include the following:
- To provide players with opportunities to develop lean muscle.
- To make players more explosive during fast break situations.
- To lessen the incidence of injuries.
- To improve overall athleticism.
- To fine-tune skills such as vertical jump clearance, horizontal leaping, and setting up screens.
Even if you are not a basketball player, taking up weight training can be highly beneficial in terms of improving overall health and helping you live longer. Here are a few reasons why you should be heading to the gym:
- Your muscle tissue deserves to be conditioned in order to promote adequate body mechanics.
- Working out will invariably make you stronger.
- You can burn calories and fat through weight resistance exercises.
- The orthopedic and tissue injuries commonly associated with aging are minimized among people who routinely train with weights.
It should be noted that weight training is not limited to free weights or exercise machines. Yoga and calisthenics exercises that focus on body weight can be just as effective, especially if they are augmented with resistance bands or even household items that provide sufficient weight for fitness purposes.
The Synergy Between Chiropractic Care and Weight Training
If you are familiar with commercial advertising related to weight training, chances are that you have seen or heard reminders about consulting medical professionals before getting started with a new exercise regime. This should be part of your fitness plan, and the most adequate healthcare professional you should consult for weight training is a chiropractic specialist.
You should not assume that a gym routine you saw on YouTube or Shape magazine will be right for you. First of all, you need to figure out the state of your spinal health before getting into exercises such as weighted squats, deadlifts, and a few others that can cause injuries if your spine is not properly aligned. A chiropractor can also review your desired exercise routine in order to determine if you can get into it from the beginning; in some cases, it is better to start with different exercises, or you may be prescribed a physical therapy routine that will allow you to progress into other exercises.
Professional athletes and bodybuilders are known to trust in their chiropractors to get the most out of their weight training routines. Spinal and joint adjustment sessions do more than just align the vertebrae; they also help to promote a healthy balance of the joints and connective tissue. Chiropractic counseling and conditioning are also essential with regard to the kind of stretching that should be done prior to working out and after each exercise session. Assisted stretching, for example, is a hallmark of physical conditioning among NBA players, and this is done under the supervision of chiropractic professionals. This form of workout therapy can also be a valuable complement to strength training for people who want to remain in shape even during times when they do not work out; it is known as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and involves using active movement such as running, or light resistance to improve flexibility, posture, and performance.
Chiropractors can recommend home equipment to help patients build muscle and lose weight at the same time; moreover, their advice on body mechanics as it relates to weight training can go a long way in terms of preventing musculoskeletal injuries. Chiropractors assess the condition of the spine and then work towards restoring the natural alignment of the spine; this treatment alone can make a significant difference in how weight training can benefit you. A spinal subluxation that you do not feel can actually work against you in the gym, and this is why many professional athletes make it a point to work with their chiropractors after every game.
Chiropractic Care Benefits Both Athletes and Non-Athletes
A professional basketball player such as Sue Bird, who until retiring spent the majority of her waking hours in the gym, is probably going to need more than just regular chiropractic therapy; she is also going to benefit from weight training and massage therapy sessions as they help to maintain mobility and decrease the risk of injuries. For example, weight training increases the amount of collagen in the musculoskeletal system, which promotes joint health and overall comfort.
Even if you are not a professional basketball player, chiropractic care can still be of great benefit to you. In fact, most of us will suffer from some sort of musculoskeletal ailment at some point during our lives, which is precisely why the human body needs a strong and flexible musculoskeletal system to maintain mobility. An efficient and dynamic body requires more than just physical fitness; it also needs proper alignment.
According to various studies published by the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, there is a relationship between the way the spine and the body move and pain and discomfort in the joints and muscles. As a result, when the spine and joints are misaligned, they are less able to move in their optimal range of motion, and this leads to pain, muscle strain, and even serious injuries. This is where chiropractic comes in: when the spine is properly aligned, the body is able to perform better, and it experiences less stress.
Chiropractic care is not about using the spine as a “crutch” of medical treatment; it is about using the power of the spine to help the body function better. When the spine is properly aligned, there is increased mobility in the neck, which means better oxygen delivery to the brain, which can in turn make you smarter. In addition to improving brain oxygenation for more efficient cognitive processing, a person whose spine is properly aligned may experience increased circulation and healing of bodily tissues.
It is certainly true that professional athletes, who have a lot more on their plates than most of us do, are more likely to have access to chiropractic care, but this does not mean that the rest of us cannot also benefit from it. Chiropractic is a viable and affordable alternative to the use of prescription painkillers.
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