Strength Training For Referees: The Other Side of Athletics

Lift. Heavy. Things. That's a shocker, right?

But seriously, strength training regularly is exactly what refs and umpires need to stay in tip-top shape and last through the last second of the game. Weak referees tire, fall behind, and are not a metaphoric coursing river.

The physical demands of referees, at least the ones who run around with the athletes, do not deviate much from what is required of the athletes themselves. And those judges/refs who don'trun around, you should still lift heavy things as a general rule for conquering life. The basis of all movements (including standing during a whole match) is strength. Does your back get achey towards the end of the match? Prevention lies in the iron:

Granted, as the one observing the game, instead of playing, skill practice is not necessary. Being strong is. Can I say that enough in this post? Being strong is a necessary component to all aspects of athletics (and, really, life).Thus, weight training is vital to maintaining a healthy referee.

The beauty of strength training is that it doesn't have to be complicated; consider too that since you're not on a rigorous sport schedule (i.e. practices), your training can be rather minimal while still providing the stimulus needed to gain strength.

Let's say you have 2 days a week to strength train. What do you do? I recommend a full body workout on each day. Dan John presented a framework for training programs. I love it; it’s simple, quick and easy to remember.

Hip hinge (deadlift variation, glute bridge variation or swings)

Squat variation (goblet, barbell, bodyweight)

A Pull (such as a horizontal row variation or a pull/chin up)

A Press (i.e. push-up, bench press, overhead press etc)

Loaded Carry (Farmer Walk variation)

That will hit just about everything and you needn't spend hours in the gym. Hit a total of 25-30 reps of the main movement of the day (such as a 5x5, 5x6, or 4x8 set/rep scheme) and around that same total for the other assistance work. This allow for enough volume to actually have an effect and not too much so that you're overloaded.

Or, if you have 3 days at your disposal, you might want to do a lower, upper, and total body day. Keep the total number of exercises between 4 and 6, with the same 25-30 rep goals.

On the more shallow side, out-of-shape referees tend to draw criticism and heckling. No one wants that.

I know this is a brief post, but it's very simple and I don't want to overcomplicate things. And, frankly, if you're a referee, umpire, or judge, you were probably an athlete yourself and you understand the importance of maintaining strength; I don't want to belabor the the point and insult your intelligence.

Pick up heavy things. Swing Big Bells. And do Chin Ups.