Training consistently throughout the whole year is the most important part of sports performance and injury prevention. With consistent training athletes remain strong and explosive 365 days out of the year. There have been discussions regarding whether or not it is good for athletes to train during the season. However, if the pros are doing it, so should every athlete.
Most OFFSEASON TRAINING PROGRAMS can look like bootcamp. This is due to the work output and an overall disregard for volume and intensity. The best program follows an undulating pattern with regards to volume and intensity. An undulating pattern is a pattern that moves up and down, pushing and pulling in the right directions at the right time. Early in the offseason athletes are able to train hard. With high rep sets they will build a solid foundation base of strength, structural balance (limiting imbalances in unilateral strength), muscular endurance, anaerobic capacity (30-40 second sprints for multiple sets with 4x the rest in between sets), and mobility. As the offseason progresses and athletes begin to get closer to their preseason, things become more intense.
Most PRESEASON TRAINING PROGRAMS still look like bootcamp. Athletes will do gassers, high rep sets, sets to failure, etc. But the best program ensures proper overwatch of an athletes’ ability to produce force under fatigue. Proper work to rest ratios must be adhered to during PRESEASON PHASE. The preseason phase begins about 6-8 weeks from the beginning of an athletes season. This is when athletes want to peak their performance and ensure they are not doing sets to failure. Instead, they are working on their max strength to body weight ratio. Lifting heavy sets of 2-6 reps is ideal. Athletes should be working on moving weight as quickly as possible. This is also a great time for repeated effort shuttles, short sprints (10-20 seconds with 6-8x the rest in between sets), broad jumps, and reactive plyometric drills (depth jumps, hurdle hops, lateral bounds, and reactive cone drills).
Most INSEASON TRAINING PROGRAMS do not exist, because most athletes do not train during their season. This is a huge mistake as we highly recommend continuing to train INSEASON. However, just make sure it’s about 25-50% of the time spent compared to OFFSEASON and PRESEASON. Volume management is the key. The main reason for keeping volume lower is to account for all of the volume accumulated while playing the actual sport. Competing at a high level with high outputs of adrenaline and force means trauma on the central nervous system. Just because volume is low does not mean intensity is low. In fact, it should be the opposite – intensity should stay HIGH. One of the biggest reasons for athletes getting hurt during the season is because they get weaker from lack of training done in the offseason and preseason. To stay strong, keep intensity high, lift heavy, and keep sets between 1-3 reps per set and sprints at 5-10 seconds with 8-10x the rest between.