Once again, the fall season was a blur and the winter-sports season is upon us. Hundreds of athletes have spent the off-season at my facility, working hard to get stronger and faster, in order to improve their athletic performance on the court, mat, or in the water this winter. And, invariably, many of them will make the same mistake as they begin their competition season: They will suspend their training until the season is over.
Some will say they don’t have time, due to the rigors of school (homework, studying, etc.). Others assume that practices and games will keep them in shape throughout the season. All are mistaken.
The nature of muscle is this: Use it or lose it.
In-season strength training isn’t about having time… it’s about making time. Working out during your season will help you maintain the strength you developed during the off-season. Additionally, three or four months of practices and games — five or six days a week — will wear you down. In-season strength training can help your body withstand the physical stress of a season’s worth of sport-specific activity.
Research has shown that one strength training session per week is adequate to maintain strength and speed, during the season. The key is to maintain the intensity (weight) of your workout, while decreasing the volume (frequency, sets, reps). Also, focus on exercises that work multiple muscle groups and joints, like the squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, bench press, and row. You can resume assistance and impact exercises once your competition season is over.
Get in the weight room, get your work done, and get out. The duration of your in-season workout should not exceed about 30 minutes.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!