Athletic Trainer Says Summer is a Great Time to Boost Strength
Summer is a time for many teen athletes to kick back and relax now that their high school seasons have come to an end. But while everyone needs a break, it is important for athletes to stay in shape during the summer months. By the way, staying in shape during the “off-season” also applies to adults, who may bike or run more in the warmer months, but cut back on the miles during the winter.
Studies show athletes’ bodies return to their pre-training fitness levels more quickly than most people expect once training ends. Athletes need to keep up their workouts – even if they are scaled back – to keep their bodies ready for the upcoming season. For those that do not work on their conditioning or do strength work over the summer, they are often surprised to discover at that first practice just how out of shape they are.
So what should athletes do during their off-season? Here are four ideas to consider:
Maintain conditioning. The main goal of your off-season training should be to maintain your fitness level, if not improve it. Solid conditioning will prepare your body for more intense training once the season begins. There are a number of activities you can do to work on your conditioning, such as running, but agility drills tend to be the most popular. These drills improve your endurance and increase your speed.
Fix muscle imbalance. Depending on the sport, most people have one arm or leg that is stronger due to the repetition of the sport. For example, a quarterback’s right arm is usually stronger than his left. That imbalance can cause injuries so take time over the summer to build up the weaker half of your body to even out the muscle strength.
Pay attention to your core. The off-season is the ideal time to increase strength and and mobility in muscles that get little attention during the regular season, such as your core. Most athletes give their core little thought, but a strong one can improve your overall performance and help prevent injuries.
Do some yoga. More athletes are turning to yoga in both their regular and off-season workout routines. Yoga improves your core strength and flexibility while keeping your muscles loose thanks to the different stretching exercises.
While off-season workouts are important, do not forget to rest and give your muscles a break. For example, with strength training, do not train the same body area two days in a row. That can set you up for a potential injury so be smart with your training. Maintaining your fitness during your sport’s off-season will make you stronger once practice begins and help set you apart from other players.
Alyssa Tessaro is a licensed athletic trainer with ThedaCare Orthopedic Care and serves Princeton High School and Green Lake High School.