The most difficult part of in-season training is keeping up with strength training. Team practices, throwing practice, and league games are higher priority activities at this time of year. And they should be. There’s no point to being an excellent athlete if you aren’t keeping your skills sharp. At the same time, you don’t want to lose all of the strength you worked hard to gain during the off-season.
Fortunately, maintaining strength is easier than obtaining it. With a laser-like focus on the big lifts, you can even gain strength without compromising the quality of your other workouts.
This strategy for strength training in-season involves two full body workouts per week. One day is a heavy day focusing on the major lifts – ideally back squat, deadlift, pullups, and bench press if I have time. The second day is a light/functional strength day.
Start each exercise with two warmup sets of 50-60% of your training weight. Then do your working sets. Rest 3-5 minutes between each set.
Some weeks I do 3x5, sometimes 3x3. If I’m feeling good, I’ll do a set of 5, a set of 3 and one or two sets of 1 rep at 90% of my one rep maximum. If I’m feeling drained by other training demands, I’ll do only 2 sets of 3-5 reps.
Exact protocol doesn’t matter. The important thing is to get in once per week for a high intensity lifting session to maintain your strength and even perhaps make some gains.
Exercises will vary to keep things interesting. The goal is 2 hip-dominant leg exercises, 2 knee-dominant leg exercises, 2 pushing, and 2 pulling exercises. One of each of those will be unilateral. I love choosing exercises that incorporate more than one of these categories at once.
Do 2-3 sets of 8-10RM (the highest weight you can lift for 8-10 consecutive repetitions in a set. The goal of this workout is to maintain strength and endurance in exercises that have more carryover to sporting performance. These exercises require more overall body control than the four main lifts of Day 1.
This meets all of the above criteria with only six exercises!
Also a six-exercise full body session.
A longer workout with more core strength recruitment
Across the two days, you should find that these workouts are intense enough to maintain your strength, improve your performance on the pitch, and keep things interesting in just two quick sessions!
This is just one option of in season training available in the Ultimate Athlete Project. Another alternative uses an upper/lower split. The upper/lower split alternative gives players an option for an "extra" full day of leg recovery while continuing with their training schedule.
With tournament and practices, it’s hard to find time to stay fit. How do you prioritize?
Whether you are coming into the season under-prepared and panicked, or just trying to make a smart transition from your off-season training, we've got you covered.