Tag Archives: off-season training

Why You Shouldn’t Treat the Off-Season Like a Vacation

21 Jul

Athletes usually consider the off-season as a period of rest, but this is the time to get strength and conditioning work done! During “downtime,” sport-specific activity like practices and games are at their lowest level, so your training activity should increase.

Once an athlete has completed his or her sport season, a rest/recovery period of about one week is suggested. Since the demands of the sport season have decreased, strength and conditioning should be a priority. An athlete can now train with maximum frequency (number of days per week), intensity (amount of weight, loads) and volume (number of sets and repetitions).

Think of your off-season in phases. This promotes long-term training and performance improvements. Keep in mind, the key word here is performance; it doesn’t benefit an athlete to improve in the weight room unless those improvements can be applied to his or her sport(s) of choice.

Hypertrophy/Endurance Phase

Very low to moderate intensity and very high to moderate volume; the goals for this phase are to increase lean body mass and develop muscular endurance in preparation for more intense training in later phases.

Exercises ideal for this phase are:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Bench Press

Basic Strength Phase

High intensity and moderate volume; this phase progresses to more complex, specialized, and sport-specific training.

In addition to previous exercises, add:

  • Lunge
  • Step-Up
  • Push Press
  • Lat Pulldown

Strength/Power Phase

High intensity and low volume; this phase involves increased strength training intensity and power/explosive exercises.

In this phase add exercises like:

  • Hang Clean
  • Push Press
  • Medicine Ball Throws
  • Plyometrics

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Taper Your Training Regimen for Peak Performance

12 Oct

Straight Bar Deadlift

Tapering is an important component of the training process. It involves the systematic reduction of training frequency, duration, and intensity combined with an increased emphasis on sport-specific skill development and nutritional intervention. The objective of tapering the training regimen is to attain peak performance during the competition season.

As a general rule, your strength and conditioning activity (frequency, duration, etc.) should be at its highest level during your off-season, when sport specific activity (practices, games, etc.) is typically at its lowest level.  As you progress toward the pre-season phase (usually 4-8 weeks prior to the beginning of the season), your strength training should gradually taper down until the season begins.  At that point, your strength training activity should be at its lowest level, relative to your yearly cycle. At Athletic Performance Training Center we typically observe three phases: Off-season, pre-season, and in-season. That being said, it’s not quite that simple — in reality — when you factor in multiple sports and “off-season” activities like AAU basketball and JO volleyball. Nevertheless, your goal should be to build strength during the off- and pre-season phases, and (at least) maintain strength during the in-season phase.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

There is No Off-Season

16 Oct

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If you’re serious about winning, there is no off-season.

Winning — and the process of self-improvement that leads to winning — is a year-round endeavor.

Strength, speed, and agility training; sport-specific skill development; and proper nutrition require consistent, continuous effort.

That’s not to say that winning — or succeeding — requires an obsessive, all-or-nothing approach that lacks balance and perspective.

It simply means that you’ve got to be committed to the process.  And that process must be incorporated into your off-season, pre-season, and in-season phases.

During the off-season, you’ve got to build it; During the pre-season, you’ve got to refine and perfect it; During the season, you’ve got to maintain it.

Taking a break, every once in a while, is good for your physical and psychological well-being.  At Athletic Performance Training Center, we like our athletes to take an “unloading” week at the end of each cycle — 12 weeks “on,” 1 week “off.”  During their unloading week, we don’t want to see them in the weight room or at the gym.

However, prolonged time away from your training results in erosion of your physical capabilities and sport-specific skills.

The same principles apply to academics, the arts, and business/professional development.

Read more about Why You Shouldn’t Treat the Off-Season Like a Vacation.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Getting Athletes to be Their Best

25 Mar

-678325aa59aad8ba[1]Eight years ago — after a 20-year career in the pharmaceutical industry — I began pursuit of a dream.  My dream was fueled by my four children, all capable student-athletes.  I wanted to help them train for their sports and improve their performance; teach them the value of working toward a goal; and help them develop a competitive edge.  I expanded my reach to their friends and teammates; interacted and learned from other trainers, coaches, and administrators; and got to work providing evidence-based Strength and Conditioning for anyone interested, willing, and committed to improving their athletic performance.  That was the beginning of what has now become my passion; working with hundreds of athletes in pursuit of stronger, faster, and better.  That was the birth of Athletic Performance Training Center (APTC).

Having recently expanded to our second facility, the APTC dream continues to grow.  We work (and have worked) with several hundred athletes as young as age 5, professional athletes, and everyone in between.  We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many dedicated clients.

Over the past 8 years, APTC has helped prepare athletes for the “next level” whether that is high school, college, or the pros.  We have been called upon to prepare athletes for college and professional pro days and combines.  If you are an aspiring athlete, and looking to go to the next level, here is some advice  — stuff that I’ve learned over the past 8 years in the industry.  There’s more to athletic performance than you think.

It’s More Than Just Hard Work

It’s important to work hard, but you’ve also got to work smart.  Most athletes believe if they work hard — in the weight room and on the court or field — they can be successful.  Unfortunately, this antiquated way of thinking is probably not going to get athletes to the top of their game.  Working hard in the weight room won’t get you far if your plan — including exercise selection, intensity, sets, reps, rest intervals, etc. — is not aligned with your goal.  Likewise, you can practice your ball-handling and shooting in the gym all day; but if you’re practicing with flawed form, mechanics, and technique, your improvement will be limited, at best.  And, of course, in addition to physical training, factors like nutrition, rest, and mental preparation will have a considerable effect on your performance.  This is where a knowledgeable strength and/or skills coach can be an asset by providing quality guidance and direction.

It’s More Than Just Off-Season Training

Training is not a “sometimes” thing; it is an “all the time” thing — it’s year-round.  You need to train during the off-season, pre-season, and in-season (with appropriate intensity, frequency, volume, and rest along the way); and it’s important to have a periodized, progressive plan to address each stage of training.  This can become somewhat complicated when athletes play multiple sports throughout the year (and claim not to have the time), but a knowledgeable trainer can develop an effective plan to address each cycle to ensure optimal performance.  If athletes are not training, they are not improving.  And if they are not improving, they are compromising their potential.  During the season, it’s important to incorporate one or two lifting sessions per week to maintain the gains they made in the off-season.  In-season training helps athletes enhance recovery from their sport practices and games; protects against getting “worn down” over the course of the season; and helps keep muscles and joints strong to prevent against injury.

It’s More Than Just the Bench Press and Bicep Curl

Don’t get me wrong, the bench press is a great upper body exercise, but your training shouldn’t revolve around your chest and arms.  Strength and power — for any sport — emanate from the core, specifically the lower core.  The hips, quadriceps, and posterior chain — lower-back, glutes, and hamstrings —  are crucial to your performance.  If you are strong throughout your core, you have the potential to be a strong, fast, and powerful athlete.  If you are not strong throughout this area, there’s nothing you can do to compensate for it.  Weakness in the muscles of your core and posterior chain also puts you at a greater risk for injury.  Squats, deadlifts, glute-ham raises, and Romanian deadlifts are excellent exercises for the core and posterior chain musculature.

Warmup is More Than Just Stretching

Prior to every strength and/or speed training session, make sure you warmup properly.  That means more than just a quick lap around the track or a few quick stretches.  The best, knowledgeable athletes, trainers, and coaches know that performing a dynamic (movement-based) warmup — before training, practices, or games — is the way to go.  Dynamic warmup involves movements that mimic and reflect the demands of your workout or sport-specific activity.  It increases temperature of and blood flow to working muscles; improves mobility and range-of-motion; and decreases the chance of injury.  Static stretching is an outdated mode of warmup that has been found to reduce strength and power production in the short-term; relax and elongate working muscles (thus not preparing them for force production); and it does not reduce the incidence of injury, nor does it help minimize post-workout soreness.  If you absolutely insist on static stretching, do it after practice and training.

Speed is More Than Just Running

Speed is a skill, and speed development starts in the weight room.  Speed requires strength and power training.  The stronger and more powerful you are throughout your core and lower extremities, the more force you can generate against the ground, which translates to speed, agility, and vertical jump ability.  Additionally, technique is a vital component of speed.  When speed training, athletes need to perform exercises and drills with perfect form and mechanics.  Head position, arm action, leg drive, stride frequency, and stride length are all factors that influence running speed.  Without an understanding of the right way to approach speed and agility training, it will be difficult to achieve your potential as an athlete.

It’s More Than Just You

Finally, if you are committed to being the best you can be, you won’t be able to do it without some help.  In addition to the support of your family and friends, you should look to find competent, qualified individuals with experience and expertise in the areas of strength and conditioning, and sport-specific skill development.  It’s important to have a plan, and equally important for your plan to be aligned with your goals.  There’s a big difference between activity and productivity; all movement is not progress.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Why You Shouldn’t Treat the Off-Season Like a Vacation

7 Mar

dtp_5079-1-e1349190374687[1]Athletes usually consider the off-season as a period of rest, but this is the time to get strength and conditioning work done! During “downtime,” sport-specific activity like practices and games are at their lowest level, so your training activity should increase.

Once an athlete has completed his or her sport season, a rest/recovery period of about one week is suggested. Since the demands of the sport season have decreased, strength and conditioning should be a priority. An athlete can now train with maximum frequency (number of days per week), intensity (amount of weight, loads) and volume (number of sets and repetitions).

Think of your off-season in phases. This promotes long-term training and performance improvements. Keep in mind, the key word here is performance; it doesn’t benefit an athlete to improve in the weight room unless those improvements can be applied to his or her sport(s) of choice.

Hypertrophy/Endurance Phase

Very low to moderate intensity and very high to moderate volume; the goals for this phase are to increase lean body mass and develop muscular endurance in preparation for more intense training in later phases.

Exercises ideal for this phase are:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Bench Press

Basic Strength Phase

High intensity and moderate volume; this phase progresses to more complex, specialized, and sport-specific training.

In addition to previous exercises, add:

  • Lunge
  • Step-Up
  • Push Press
  • Lat Pulldown

Strength/Power Phase

High intensity and low volume; this phase involves increased strength training intensity and power/explosive exercises.

In this phase add exercises like:

  • Hang Clean
  • Push Press
  • Medicine Ball Throws
  • Plyometrics

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Taper Your Training Regimen for Peak Performance

24 Jul

rosie-chee_training-deadlift-1[1]Tapering is an important component of the training process. It involves the systematic reduction of training frequency, duration, and intensity combined with an increased emphasis on sport-specific skill development and nutritional intervention. The objective of tapering the training regimen is to attain peak performance during the competition season.

As a general rule, your strength and conditioning activity (frequency, duration, etc.) should be at its highest level during your off-season, when sport specific activity (practices, games, etc.) is typically at its lowest level.  As you progress toward the pre-season phase (usually 4-8 weeks prior to the beginning of the season), your strength training should gradually taper down until the season begins.  At that point, your strength training activity should be at its lowest level, relative to your yearly cycle. At Athletic Performance Training Center we typically observe three phases: Off-season, pre-season, and in-season. That being said, it’s not quite that simple — in reality — when you factor in multiple sports and “off-season” activities like AAU basketball and JO volleyball. Nevertheless, your goal should be to build strength during the off- and pre-season phases, and (at least) maintain strength during the in-season phase.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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