In Season VS. Off Season Training

In a 24 hour day many student athletes have 25 hours of responsibilities. At this time of the year these stretched-thin individuals are playing one sport, while running track, while playing club ball, while trying to make good grades, and - oh yeah - they want to have a social life. It is also this time of the year that many athletes begin to fall apart physically. In November of 2016 we had ZERO of our high school or junior high athletes suffer a sport related injury that took them out of play. In January of 2017 we had 7 athletes hobble into the gym who had to stop practicing or even playing for a short time due to sports injury. Lucky for most of our athletes we can incorporate strengthening, lengthening, and restorative exercises to get them back out there faster. 

As I reflected back on the mental grind that I felt while watching several of our athletes get broken, I realized that the situation could have been worse than it was. The injuries were minor. In one case a trainer told one of our basketball boys that "his muscular/strong legs protected his knee and that he'd be okay." Three days later he had the game of his life. My first thought was that his off-season programming has paid off - before we began training he dislocated his knee cap a prior season - and that his legs where much stronger. My second thought was that we can adjust his in season programming to fit his needs. This made me realize that I need to explain that in season training and off season training are very different.

For starters over worked athletes do not handle extra training volume as well as they do during the summer. The offseason is a time for volume. Volume is equated by calculating how many pounds are lifted via (sets x reps x weight lifted).  We look at volume as the concrete foundation and the steel beams of a program. It sets up the athlete to be harder to break and more likely to maintain in-season progress. 

During the season we have to shift our focus towards the specificity of sport transfer. In other words, we need to move faster and we need to reduce the amount of volume we put an athlete through. This comes from more olympic lifting (powercleans/powersnatches) or speed squats and Speed pulls using our velocity measuring device the PUSH band. Using these technical and explosive movements keep the weight relatively low while training muscle fibers to shorten faster and increase power (higher jumps and faster runs). We use the PUSH bands to measure how fast an athlete lifts in meters per second. We set speed goals for the workout and an athlete is not allowed to lift a heavier weight unless they move it fast enough. For example, a speed squat has to have an average velocity of 0.8 meters per second before we increase the squat load. This allows for adequate resistance based on the athletes DAILY ability to move fast. #SCIENCE

Although strength training has a plethora of benefits, power and velocity based training have their own positive attributes for sports. 

We can't simplify in-season training to power movements though. Another thing that we incorporate are "injury prevention" circuits to help our athletes survive the season. To put it simply, we use single leg and single arm exercises for muscle imbalances as well as single limb stability jump and movement exercises to improve joint stiffness or coordination. In many cases we use our introduction screening to test what an athlete lacks and then useto to  that address weaknesses that can be trained throughout the program. 

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Not all training is created equal. Fitness does not equal performance, and Off-season training does not equal In-season training. Lucky for coaches and parents, they don't have to worry about what we do, they just get to enjoy their improvements in performance!

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.