Last week we started our discussion on in-season training talking about the mistakes often made; not doing anything and doing too much. Today I want to talk about how to train in-season to help make sure you make the most of your gains made in the off-season, all the while staying healthy during the season.
When you approach a training session there is one thing that I will talk about that is absolutely vital, and two things that you don't necessarily need but they sure are helpful. All together in order from most important to least important those three things are;
- Work a lot of movement
- Work light conditioning
- Work strength to maintain, nothing more
1. Work a lot of movement - This, in many aspects, is pretty self explanatory. But basically you want to think movement as a whole includes mobility, stability and activation. This means single leg work, core work, as well as dynamic stretches. To that extent you need to work movement patterns like the hip hinge, deep squat, etc.
For ideas of what type of things you can be doing we have a series on youtube that you should check out called "IBJI Training Series". In which our trainers and therapists give you things to do to live a better life, and guess what... All these things you can do during your season too.
2. Work light conditioning - This doesn't need to be too complicated either. It's not about making yourself puke but better training your heart rate. I wrote a blog about a method called Cardiac Capacity, and quite frankly it's the perfect method to use for in-season conditioning. Err on doing work that helps you maintain a heart rate around 130 beats per minute and you'll be well on your way towards helping yourself recover better and thus staying healthy. For more info about cardiac capacity check out this blog.
3. Seek to simply maintain strength - As I've mentioned before, the goal with in-season training isn't about achieving earth shattering PRs. It's about recovery and maintenance. While I do think strength is important, you're not going to go all out.
The purpose of in-season strength training would be to reinforce good movement patterns, and maintain strength gains made in the off-season.
Think of your heavy lifts, for most of our athletes it's deadlifts and squats. If it's a sport like baseball that requires a lot of grip and shoulder movement, we'll lay off deadlifts and substitute with hip bridges laying off the grip intensive and shoulder depressing type exercises so as to keep them healthy. In any case take the movement, your relative max, and never really go above 70% of that max. Rather than focusing on max effort, focus on perfect form, and proper muscle activation.
So there you have it, three simple tips for in-season training when it comes to the actual training. The bottom line is, more than any other time of the year, you need to focus on recovery, health, and maintenance.