Most athletes these days are very reluctant to train during their in-season because they think training during their sport will only make them more sore and more tired and unable to perform at their desired level. What most athletes do not know is that training during their in-season can actually help them recovery more quickly and help them maintain all the strength, speed, and power they worked hard for in the off-season. Here are three of the biggest reasons why athletes should continue their strength and conditioning during the in-season. 1. Most athletes and coaches assume that by just practicing and playing their sport that they will maintain their strength, speed, and power. However, research has proven this false. Researchers in Boston (Faigenbaum, et. al. 1996) studied the effects of detraining (taking time off after training) following a eight-week strength program in boys and girls aged 12. They found that the detraining resulted in a statistically significant loss of upper body (19.3%) and lower body (28.1%) strength. Another study done in 1998, (Val Schneider, et. al) studied detraining effects in 28 college football players during a 16 week competitive season. Players were tested before and just after the end of the season. Post-test data indicated significant decreases in upper body strength, flexibility, lower body power, and agility. So if you stop training in-season, you are going to lose strength, flexibility, power, and agility.
2. Most athletes are constantly sore and tired during the in-season, usually this is due to the fact most athletes do not know how to recover properly. During the in-season athletes are most vulnerable to injuries too, so in order to stave off injuries, strength, flexibility, and movement skills need to beat their best. Athletes should integrate many methods to promote faster recover and prevent injuries. These range from dynamic warm-ups, to specific stretching and myo-fascial release, to prehab and rehab exercises. This way you can prevent injuries and recover faster from any that happen.
3. Since most athletes play a sport year-round. If athletes take the in-season off from training they will never be training. Learning the fundamentally correct movement skills for speed and agility, and strength and power is an ongoing process. Most athletes that haven't trained before have developed bad habits that will increase the likeliness of injury or decrease performance, unlike a computer, we need to run the correct program thousands of times to make it permanent. During season, the focus is on performing well and getting the job done. If we aren't focusing some time on proper mechanics, those old habits will take hold again.
So in conclusion, training in-season will help maintain strength, power, agility, and flexibility, it will help reduce injury and increase recovery, and help you keep performing at top levels without developing bad habits. Although the training in-season should not be as intense of the off-season, training should still take place if you want to perform at the next level.
-Abby Jorgensen, Yahoo! Contributor Network
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Jamie Swagler,Performance Coach at Swagler Strength & Performance.