Strength Training During the Competitive Season for Sports Performance

We’re going to let you in on a secret… Do you want to know the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do if you train for a sport? 

It’s train in-season.

The purpose of your sports performance training program is to manage (obtain, sustain, or retain) particular physical qualities that allow you to be healthy and successful within your given sports, whether that’s football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, or any other sport. It is especially beneficial during the competitive season because no physical qualities can be maintained for the duration of the competitive season without intentional, specific training inputs as the entire system that is our body is interdependent upon one another. Everything we choose to do has an associated cost. Continuous patterns such as competitive sport and practice compromise the joints, muscles, and connective tissue. Typically during the season, athletes are over volumized in every area: tissue, joint, neurologically, and don’t have an opportunity to recover and maintain. 

Intentional high performance training requires constant attention as your body is your vehicle and your investment. Not to mention all the other associated hormonal, emotional, social, and mental benefits our athletes receive from honoring the commitment they made to themselves to engage in the process of constant growth. If you train with the goal in mind to enhance your athletic performance and do not train during the block of time in which you perform then I would say your goals do not match your behaviors. So, one of the two must change. Change the fact that you care about performing optimally or start making sound deposits into the body to have an opportunity to mitigate injury risk, optimize performance, enhance recovery, and retain the physical qualities to maintain play at a high level. 

We know the schedule is packed, but skipping in-season training results in negative changes in body composition (decrease in muscle mass and increase in fat). In other words, a decrease in horsepower while simultaneously increasing cargo. Not good. We personally have seen athletes lose up to 20% of their total strength throughout their season. That also means a decrease in speed and a decrease in power output while also INCREASING the injury window. And this will be happening at the MOST critical time (hello playoff runs) and you won’t be finishing the season as strong, quite literally, as when you started. And finishing the season strong is what matters far more than week 1. 

A few reasons why athletes may choose to include strength training in their training routine while in their competitive season if they wish to become a high performance athlete:

  • Improved athletic performance: Strength training can help athletes to improve their strength, power, speed and agility, and overall physical performance. This can be especially important during the competitive season, when athletes are looking to optimize their performance and achieve their best results.
  • Reduced risk of injury: Strength training can help to improve joint stability and muscle balance, which can help to reduce the risk of injury. This is especially important during the competitive season, when athletes may be at an increased risk of injury due to the increased demands of training and competition. Any injury or instance of being hurt causes an anatomical change which has to be addressed or else your injury window increases and your performance capacity decreases.
  • Enhanced muscle recovery: Strength training can help to improve blood flow and promote muscle recovery, which can be especially beneficial during the competitive season when athletes may be at an increased risk of fatigue and overtraining.
  • Improved mental toughness: Strength training can also help athletes to build mental toughness and resilience, which can be beneficial during the competitive season when athletes may face challenges and setbacks.

Not only is it CRITICAL to train during the season, it’s FOOLISH not to for athletes during the competitive season. By improving athletic performance, reducing the risk of injury, enhancing muscle recovery, and building mental toughness, strength training can help athletes to achieve their best results and stay healthy and competitive. Since your body is an ever changing organism and you are constantly developing habits whether that be mindless or intentional. The question is; are your daily habits consistent with the person you aspire to be or are they detracting from the direction you want to go?

If training is optional for you in season then fortunately so is winning. If you’re ready to find the best sports performance center for improved athletic performance, join us at Ohio Athletic Performance in Columbus, Ohio.

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