In-Season Strength Training Pt 2-How Should You Be Doing It?


Apr 4, 2022

 by Morgan Fontaine
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In part 1 of this blog I went over why, as an athlete, you should be training during your season. To read that click here.

 

Now you know why you should be strength training during your season. But how do you go about actually doing it?

 

Do you train really light and go for reps?

 

Do you go low on the reps and heavy on the weight??

 

This seems to be a very misunderstood topic for both coaches, parents, and athletes at all levels. Here are some general guidelines when coaching and programming for my in-season athletes:

 

1. Maintain Maximal Strength

Maximal strength is the ability to exert force. Which is exactly why just playing your sport doesn't maintain that quality or improve it. It's essential to be able to generate the greatest amount of force possible as an athlete. Why? Because that's the basis for crucial performance qualities like speed and power. If you can exert greater force into the ground you will run faster. This is why it's important to focus on max strength during weight room sessions to maintain strength levels. Therefore, it is important to maintain a high intensity or to continue to lift heavy weights. Do you remember me mentioning the Patriots squatting 80% of their max during Super Bowl week in the part 1 of this blog? You should bring that same mindset to your in-season strength training.

 

2. Manage Fatigue

As a strength and conditioning coach my first goal is to have all my athletes be healthy and able to compete on the field. My second goal is to increase their performance on the field. While training can and will leave you tired, sore, and mentally drained, whether you're in-season or not; having a good understanding of how the training sessions play a role throughout the weeks, months, and years of development for each athlete will minimize that. That is why each athlete having their own in-season program that is focused on keeping them powerful, strong, and healthy by adjusting key variables like reps, sets, exercise selection, workout length, volume, and training frequency so that they aren't feeling or preforming poorly is key. If an athlete is able to particpate in their sport they are able to train. Also, things like sleep, hydration, and nutrition have a massive impact on in-season recovery. Which is a whole other topic....but also why I emphasize them more during the season.

 

3. Utliize General Exercises

As my athlete's move through their offseason, they go from general physical preparation exercises to more sport-specific movements. As they begin to move into their practice and game schedule, things like conditioning, plyos, sprinting, and more sport-specific movements has a lower emphasis, among other things that depend on the athlete and sport. Training in-season consists more of general exercises to help maintain the athlete's total movement capacity as well as exercises that counteract some of the imbalances that can occur from the repetitive movements of your specific sport.

 

4. Limit Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness can have a major effect on athletic performance. You can experience a decreased range of motion, a reduction in strength and power, and changes in technique. This is okay. Although I never want or plan to make my athletes to be so sore they can't walk right, whether they are in-season or out of season. We will never drastically increase volume or time under tension or introduce new exercises so much that soreness would hinder their performance. Everything we do in-season is an extension of what we do out of season-which is to get them and keep them healthy AND improve their performance. Depending on schedules my athletes train 1-3 times a week which is sufficient to reach their in-season goals.

 

Don't let those last 3-6 months of your hard work in the weight room disappear while you're in-season. You have gotten bigger, stronger, and faster and your season is another chance for you to continue to develop and to get an edge on the competition...keep your training going!

 

If you are looking for a strength coach whether you’re in season or not, please email me and I would be happy to help you.

 

-Coach Morgan