Monday, October 10, 2011

In-Season Training For Sports

So obviously football and rugby season is here and some of the questions I've been getting asked is about training during the season.

So let's talk about how I believe training should be scheduled during the season.

Strength Maintenance 

So the bottom line is, you're not going to get stronger during the season.  Period.

If some guy does, then his piss test would burn a hole in the proverbial piss cup.

Everyone knows why Lattimer got stronger during the season...

I'm not saying its impossible to hit a bench PR on curls or some shit during the season, but for the most part you're not going to get stronger.  The main issues during the season is to do your best at maintaining the strength you built in the offseason, keep you healthy, and keep you mobile.

Exercise Selection

During the season proper exercise selection is key and I say this because I believe that using dumbbells and machines when possible are a great option during the season.  Especially dumbbells.  During the season your body gets beat to shit.  Your hands and elbows and knees all hurt, along with all the various muscle areas that are hurt/injured.  With dumbbells, you can row and press and allow your hands and joints to move in paths that is easier on the joints, and gives a more "free" range of motion.  When you use a barbell movement you get more "locked in" to the bar path and the ROM is more limited than with dumbbells.  This is more difficult on the joints.  If you don't think so, get an injured wrist or elbow and stick with barbell movements and see how much trouble they give you.

So when possible, switch over to dumbbell movements and possibly machine movements to give the joints a break during the in-season part of training.  Of course, you still need to squat and pull in my opinion, however if you are a chronic knee-hurt guy and leg pressing feels better, there is nothing wrong with dropping squats in season and using leg press as your stable for lower body work for a while.  Just make sure that in the offseason squats are made the cornerstone of lower body work again.

Now to be clear, I'm not saying to exclude barbell movements.  I'm only saying if it "hurts" to do a certain barbell movement, drop it for a dumbbell or machine version if possible.  There is no glory in adding even more pain and misery to the season.  You should be getting enough of that on game day.


This is perhaps the most important part of training in-season in my opinion.  As we've already covered, strength maintenance is the real key during the in-season portion of training.  You're going to be tired and feeling like shit for the most part of the season.  Taxing yourself even more is a fruitless endaevour.

Your biggest/heaviest workout of the week should come the day after game day.  This way you compact in all  your hard shit into a smaller time frame, and increase your recovery window.  If you have a game, then train hard the day after the game, then again a few days later, you're just asking your body to do things it's not going to be willing to do during the season.  And second, why the fuck would you be benching or squatting heavy during the middle of the week when you play a game in a few days?

So let's focus on the heavy session of the week....

Day 1 - Heavy

Legs - Squats/Leg Press - 5,4,3,2,1,1,1 - 1x3
Start off with squats or leg press.  You can even vary these week to week if you want to.  Remember, the key here is strength maintenance.  Work up to a "nice" clean single and a nice back off triple with about 20% less than the top single.

Pressing - Incline Press/Bench Press - 5,4,3,2,1,1,1 - 1x8
Again I suggest rotating these two movements week to week.  I personally think the incline has better application to football but everyone loves to bench.  If the bench causes pain, do dumbbell.  Again, there is nothing wrong with movement rotation here to avoid injuries.

Power Cleans - 5,4,3,2,1,1,1,1,1
Work up to a "top" snappy single here as well.  If you want to alternate with the hang version that's fine too.

Db Curls - 4 sets of 10 medium
Front Raises - 4x15 light
External Rotation - 4x15 light

 That's the "heavy" day down and done.  The singles could vary by a lot depending on how you are feeling after game day or with any injuries you may have.  Just get the work in and don't sweat numbers at this time.

Day 2 - Light

This day should happen 2 or 3 days after the heavy day.  Getting more blood into the muscle groups and recovery is what this day is all about.

Leg Extensions - 4 sets of 20-30
Light here with a nice controlled tempo.  I'm not a superslow guy obviously or anything like that, but this is supposed to be about getting blood into the quads and through the tendons.  Not jerking a weight stack around.
Lunges - 4 sets of 10 - This is mainly for mobility.  Get a solid good step and stretch everything in the lowerbody out.
Machine or Db Overhead Press - 4 sets of 10-12
Pulldowns/Cable Rows/Face Pulls - 4 sets of 10-20
Rope Pushdowns - 4 sets of 15
Reverse Curls - 3 sets of 15

This whole session should go fast and furious.  Weight on the bar isn't important on this day.  Getting blood moving and recovery is what we are after.  After this session you should feel better than you did before you went in.

Game Over man, game over!

When the season is over, take a physical and mental break until the "hunger" returns (and for you offensive linemen I'm not talking about Waffle House type hunger).  When it does get back in the gym with a plan to get bigger, leaner, faster, stronger, etc.  This is where you make the biggest strides in getting better for the season.  But during the season you don't want your hard work falling to the wayside.  So pour your energy into the one big session a week, then get some recovery on, and be ready for game day.

Bill Paxton doesn't have a clue as how to train in-season........

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