Are we trying to sell you on our in-season training product? That’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re trying to sell you because what we want our athletes to understand is that Athletes Warehouse is our passion and our livelihood. When you all step out of our facility and onto the field, you are a representation of Athletes Warehouse. Therefore you represent our passion and our livelihood. Over the past off-season, watching all of you excel and completely transform yourselves into the athletes you are is the fuel to our passion. It is why we invest every waking hour of the day in preparation for your performance. The thought of any one of our athletes being put in a situation of potential injury or deterioration is what our coaches lose sleep over each night. With that being said, we cannot express how important it is that training is a year-long process. Furthermore, instilling a positive relationship with training, fitness, and health is a lifelong skill that we strive to ingrain in each one of you. This article intends to air out some commonly asked questions and concerns regarding in-season training.
Why should I train in-season? If I stop training, how quickly do my strength adaptations from the off-season begin to deteriorate?
After training in an optimal state of overload these last six months and then immediately starving yourself of such stimulus, the body becomes complacent. The athlete quickly begins to lose the performance benefits that they had received from a progressive overload over the last six months. A lot of these benefits are not necessarily referring to muscle loss or atrophy. These performance determinants are first felt from a hormonal and neurologically based level. In short, they are the first benefits that athletes receive when beginning their first several weeks of training, and these benefits are the first ones to go in a matter of weeks after depriving the body of training. By continuing training in season, we are attempting to provide the athlete with optimal levels of stress that enable them to maintain a high level of performance on the field while avoiding overly stressing them in a way that hinders their sports performance. The number one goal of all training (not just in-season), is injury prevention. The major commonality from all of our athletes who train in-season is that they stay healthier more often than those who do not. And for our superstitious readers, we are beyond confident in stating that.
Aren’t I going to be too sore to perform in my sport if I train during season? What does my program look like to avoid this?
Program design when coming to Athletes Warehouse in-season is a different experience than coming during the off-season. For all our current and former athletes reading this, you may understand this terminology. For our parents and other non-strength-and-conditioning related readers, it all starts with programming different muscle contractions. In a simplified explanation our training will focus on three types of muscle contractions: eccentric (lengthening of muscle tissue), isometric (no change in length of muscle tissue), and concentric (shortening of muscle tissue). What is important to note during an in-season program is the emphasis on isometric and concentric muscle contraction, as these are movements that allow us to provide a neurological stimulus at relatively high intensities, without the athlete being tremendously sore. On the latter, we avoid a large volume of eccentric muscle contraction as this is the culprit of the commonly sought after delayed onset muscle soreness that our everyday gym-goers pursue as a token of hard work. An example of how we make this adjustment is exchanging a traditional squat for a concentric squat, where the athlete simply stands the bar out of power rack and drops back down from the top.
How do I fit training into my practice/game schedule during the season?
While this answer can be drastically different depending on the sport, there are some overarching themes that span across all sports. Most would expect to see less weight room time as they approach the late season. When people think of the late season, they think of being dinged up; just holding onto their bodies hoping to make it through playoffs with whatever injuries have plagued them that year. Our athletes don’t experience this. Not only are they healthy from training year-round and throughout a season, but they are actually increasing the amount of time they spend in our weight room as the season goes on. Their practice volume and intensity tends to drop off since coaches are trying to preserve them. It creates a situation where most other athletes who are not training in season are deteriorating, our athletes are just getting ramped up come the time when it counts the most. How often an athlete trains depends greatly on the athlete themselves too. We have had lacrosse athletes who have come in for a squat session a day out of their state championship game, and baseball pitchers who are doing arm care and plyometrics a day before the biggest start of their season. Commonly, athletes tend to be hesitant to train during season out of fear of fatigue. Quickly, their in-season training becomes an integral part of the preparation and pre-game rituals as they feel the performance and health benefits over the duration of a season.
It has been an absolute pleasure to train every athlete who has come through our doors this winter season. With this spring season approaching, our coaching staff is excited to continue to be a part of your athletic domination. We cannot wait for each one of you to test out the newly acquired strength, speed, and power gains you’ve earned this off-season. If you had any doubts, you’re soon going to prove to yourself how your training has taken you to another level.