The Benefits of In-Season Strength Training for Athletes

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Kevin Turner- Turner Strength & Performance

Many athletes have a strength and conditioning program they follow during the off-season and into the pre-season, as they should, for reasons I will address momentarily. Many athletes and coaches can agree that having an off season and pre-season strength and conditioning program yields positive results that carry over into the athlete’s specific sport. So why the hesitancy to continue strength training into and throughout the competitive season? The primary concern is that in-season training can negatively impact the athlete’s performance in the sport. This is a valid point as an improperly designed program can and will have a detrimental impact on performance resulting in fatigue, soreness and a loss of speed and power. Now that we have addressed the concerns, lets take a look at the benefits of a well-designed in-season strength program:

  • Maintain the strength acquired during the off-season. Why work so hard in the off-season just to lose the gains once the season starts? Playing your sport alone is not enough to maintain or increase strength, speed or power.
  • The ability to maintain performance from the beginning of the season until the playoffs. While other teams are losing strength as the season progresses, the well-trained athletes are outperforming their competition and realizing their full potential.
  • Reduce the risk of injury by detecting weaknesses or imbalances. With an increase in practice and games, the weight room can help balance out musculature, therefore mitigating the chances of overuse injuries.
  • Weight training creates mental toughness and provides confidence during games.

General Guidelines for In-Season Training

  • Seek to maintain or improve strength and power throughout the season.
  • Reduce the amount of fatigue and soreness by creating just enough stimulus to achieve the desired result without the negative effects.
  • Reduce volume of work in one or more of the following ways: reducing the number of training days, reduction in the number of exercises in one training session, reducing the length of the training session and by the reduction in the number of repetitions and sets.
  • Conditioning should be greatly reduced or eliminated. Conditioning is typically being taken care of in practice and in games.
  • Keep the exercises simple and limit them to what the athlete is used to. Do not incorporate new exercises into the program at this time of year.
  • Take into account the movement patterns inherent in the athlete’s sport. A baseball pitcher, for example, that throws a lot does not need more bench pressing. Substituting shoulder exercises that help strengthen the joint should be the objective.
  • Incorporate proper recovery methods into the workout.

The goal of any training program is to create positive results that carry over into the sport the athlete plays. A properly designed weight training program can maintain or improve an athlete’s strength and performance, keeping them healthy and uninjured. This keeps the athlete strong and available to play when needed most. Communication, along with proper rest and nutrition, incorporated into a well -designed in-season training program can yield amazing results allowing the athlete to perform at their maximum potential all season long

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