How much should athletes train in season?
Strength training in-season is vital to maintaining muscle during an athletic season.
However, some sport seasons can be long and extremely taxing on your body.
For example, we work with over 30 youth hockey teams and they are wrapping up a 6 month long season. That’s longer than a NFL season!
With that said, it’s important to answer this question with a bit of nuance.
As a general rule of thumb, athletes should strength train 2-4 times a week during the season. This will depend on a number of factors. For example, how physical is the sport they play? How much playing time are they getting? How much time do they have in their schedule? Are they getting 6 hours of sleep/night or 10 hours of sleep/night?
In an ideal world, if an athlete is getting good sleep, eating well, and has the bandwidth from a time perspective, I think 3 workouts a week is fantastic. There’s a common misconception out there that athletes might “over-train”. But this is actually a lot more difficult than you might think. Especially high school and collegiate athletes looking to gain an edge, lifting in-season is a time they can not only maintain strength, but GAIN strength and speed (again, assuming recovery is prioritized).
With all that said, understand it really depends on your unique situation. The biggest takeaway here is that athlete’s should be doing SOMETHING. Even if it’s only 1-2x a week, that will go a long way towards maintenance.
Don’t be scared to over-train…youth and prioritized recovery can enable athletes to do some pretty amazing things, and this shouldn’t be overlooked.