Why is it so important to continue strength training during the season? I’ll give you 2 good reasons: Improved performances and reduced injury risk.
If you think about it, the less you get injured, the more you can train. The more you train (smartly) the better you perform. Especially in team sports, the less players that are out injured, the stronger the team. When the coach has the full squad to choose from, especially the best players available, the more likely you get the results.
Quiet often I will ask athletes, particularly those in field based sports, if they do much gym work to supplement their on field training and the response I’ll often get is “ I did in the off-season but not since the season has started”. This is one of the reasons why they are in visiting me with an injury.
If you spend all pre season getting strong and powerful in the gym, and do nothing to maintain your strength once the regular season comes around your strength will decrease. You usually won’t be hitting PRs during the season, but it is important to maintain what strength you have.
If you don’t use it, you lose it.
This does not mean you need to be blasting out 4 heavy gym sessions a week. The type of training you do in the gym during the season is totally different to what you do in the off season. Trying to add lots of muscle bulk during the season is not the smartest training. This will lead to overload on the body which will eventually lead to injury. Also, once strength decreases, power and speed decreases.
During in-season weight training, we want to be moving the weights quickly to develop power and speed. Train fast to move fast. With this being said, the best exercise to get quicker at sprinting is to sprint. But the strength training helps supplement this. Here’s a link to the All Blacks training during their Autumn internationals a few years back
Now whatever the All Blacks are doing it is working for them. Until Ireland beat them last November that is (Sorry, couldn’t help it!). But seriously, they are one of the most successful teams in sport. This link is during the Autumn internationals where they play roughly 4 games in a month. Take a look at their gym training. It’s a lot of explosive movements. The bar is moved quick. Not a lot of reps. They are maintaining their strength and everything is explosive.
Fatigue is not always the best marker in a gym to get the most appropriate physiological response for your body. Anyone can make someone tired in the gym.
Now for the injury side of things. For instance, take hamstring injuries, which is all too common in most field sports. There is no magic exercise that can help prevent them, but a smart program that involves things like training load, eccentric loading, glute activation and general lower body strength as well as general conditioning all have an influence. An injury prevention program that includes eccentric (lengthening under tension) of the hamstrings has been shown to reduce the risks of hamstring injuries in soccer players (Van Der Horst et al. 2015). Similarly with ACLs, females are at a higher risk of this injury, but research shows these are decreased by smart injury prevention programs (Zebis et al. 2015).
So what type of strength training should you be doing in season? This really does come down to a number of factors including the time of the season, the sport, the position you play and previous injuries you may have. A good strength and conditioning coach will address all of these and design programs specific to the individual. Here at Evolutio we can offer to design you a program based on the information we gather from above, help treat an existing injury, decrease the chances of a future one from occurring or get you back doing your sport better and stronger than before.
References - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25794868
Sean is the newest team member, from that place where Conor Mcgregor comes from. The one with Guinness on tap, where the sun rarely shines and where whiskey is found in barrels a plenty. Sean has worked with American football D2, Gaelic, Hurling and is working the Melbourne high old boys footy club. You can book in with Sean here