Athletes: Why You Should Start Strength Training in the Off Season
High school sports is an exciting time for an athlete in any sport. It’s another chance for them to strive towards a greater goal than their last season, and better themselves past what they previously were. Many varsity athletes wonder what is the best way for them to stay in shape after their high school season has ended. Many options are available for young athletes that will allow them to push themself year round, so when they go into their next season they come back better than before.
Starting with the obvious answer to stay in shape, an athlete will have to still do some physical activity. A resting body will never improve itself. So if an athlete wants to advance in their sport they are going to have to put in extra work before and after their regular season.
As a high school athlete myself, I have noticed I have a lot of different alternatives to what I could do when my high school season inevitably comes to an end. My go-to during the off season has always been improving my strength through strength training. Strength training is weight lifting with an emphasis on building strength and efficiency in a muscle group.
Outside of a regular sport season is the best time to gain strength and power for an athlete’s specific sport. Mainly because it allows the athlete to push themselves as hard as they can without fear of jeopardizing their next game or afternoon practice with pre-exhausted or sore muscles. Furthermore, this is a fantastic way to use some of those extra pounds that might have added up since ending the season.
Although, muscle growth and strengthening is a bit of a fickle trick. The only way to build muscular strength is through gaining a very small amount of weight. That doesn’t mean an athlete can go and eat whatever they want because ‘it will all just turn to muscle’ when strength training. The muscles used in an exercise go through a tremendous amount of stress, so they need nutrients for recovery after a workout. This means feeding the body the proper nutrients it needs after a workout. As well as getting proficient rest between training sessions.
Strength training does not have to designated to its own special training time. If an athlete wanted to participate in another sport or a club sport they still can. Club sports typically are not usually an athlete’s primary means of competition in their sport, so if an athlete wanted to pair strength training with a club sport then a little muscle soreness won’t be an issue at all. Same goes for playing a different sport. If an athlete has a primary sport that they enjoy more, for example I always hear people joining track and field to stay in shape for football, basketball, or swimming, then they could incorporate strength training into the secondary sport’s season.
Typically it’s better to start strength training outside of an athlete’s primary season due to the increased stress put on muscles during an athlete’s season. The best way to do weight training for athletes would be to do strength training outside of their designated season, while maintaining strength and primarily training endurance and power during the season. So that they can have long lasting and explosive movements during their season, paired with the strength they made outside that will stay with them.
When focusing on building strength it’s best to have someone along the way to keep an athlete consistently motivated. It’s also important to keep a good record of the lifts used in strength training so that an athlete can continue to push themselves with progressively heavier weight in a safe and controlled way.
With that in mind, joining a fitness facility that gives athletes the opportunity to push themselves with the support of peers is the best way an athlete can improve during the off season. Force Fitness and Performance is the best choice an athlete can make if they want to improve themself and walk out stronger every single day.