There is a season for everything in life, and that holds especially true for sports. Currently it is football season. Basketball is starting and we see Baseball all but over. So, how should you look at your physical conditioning coming into, during and coming out of your favorite sports season?
Every sport is different so I won’t get into specifics. The goal is to give you a few tips to use during your exercise programs. The following information should help you develop a proper mindset for any sport you like as you move in and out of its season.
Pre season prep time
Leading into a sports season should be seen as a preparation or warm up time. Just as you do before every game you need to prepare your body for the activity. This is a time when you need to consider your sport and give thought to the areas of your body used during the sport.
Think about how your body moves through the activities of the sport. Whether it is football, soccer, basket ball or Olympic badminton competition (if you didn’t know, yes badminton is an Olympic sport), each sport has specific ways it uses your body that makes it unique. This uniqueness is where you should maintain focus in your pre season workouts. Find ways to exercise your muscle groups that will strengthen and build endurance in them through these specific athletic movements.
Why do we focus on these areas? Simply to help eliminate injuries during season. If you condition your body to handle the specific movements involved in your sport, then during season – when you put all your effort into your sport – you will be less likely to get hurt. In fact, doing this will even minimize the amount of sourness you experience during the season startup.
In season peak development
So, now you’re all warmed up and ready to play – uh, well, you think so. Just because you took the time to do some pre season warm up (by the way, good job) doesn’t mean you are at the top of your game. If you want to make sure you are at your peak for the season you need to really push yourself to the top.
Professional athletes, and those who strive to be the best, don’t just leave there game to preseason warm up and practice; they know that intense exercise regimens year-round will bring their physical conditioning to its peak level. It is this conditioning that makes their game that much better than the rest.
Here are some areas that you should focus on during your Sport season.
Rotational Exercise – Make sure you are exercising your whole body not just the areas your sport uses. Many sports have repetitive movements that only exercise your body in one direction, for instance swinging a bat. Make sure you are doing other exercises that allow you to condition your body through its full range of motions.
Your core – Make sure you are continually developing your core; this area helps stabilize you during much of your body’s movements. Your midsection – Rectus abdominis, Rectus abdominis, Transversus abdominis, Erector spinae – as you can see, has four distinct muscle groups that need your focus. Plan to exercise the midsection of your body in every workout.
Weights – continue to use weights in your exercise but maybe limit to 1 repetition of 15 to failure. During peak season, weights might need to be limited, but off season, they are very important for muscle development. This will ensure you are not over fatiguing yourself during your sport’s season; unless, of course, your sport requires more intense weight training.
Cardio conditioning – Outside of the cardiovascular exercise you get from your sport, you should also give three days a week to this area. Your heart and lungs provide the necessary oxygen and nutrition to the muscles of your body. If your cardiovascular system is operating at its peak you will have a better chance of performing at your peak in your sport season.
Off season cool down
Well, the games are over – No more competition to keep you motivated. So what do you do to cool down from your Sport season? The off season of any sport should be considered the phase where you are recovering, both physically and psychologically. Many athletes use this time to evaluate their season and make a determination on where they can focus for improvement in their next season.
One way to look at the off season is to see it as a transitional period; a 4 to 6 week period between your sports season and the preseason. It should include cardiovascular training (never give this one up) so that you maintain your aerobic fitness; keep it light and enjoyable. In additions include resistance training that focuses on stabilization and correcting any imbalances due to repetitive motion. Finally, add in flexibility exercise. Make sure you include plenty of stretching. This will remove a lot of the stiffness associated with an intense season.
Wrap it all up
As you can see there is no wrap up for exercise; it’s a part of every season. Now you may be wondering, “How do I maintain focus and keep my motivation going during every season”. Well, it’s easy! The best way to make sure you are motivated is to engage a personal trainer for all your sports seasons.