Most competitive athletes strive to achieve two objectives during an athletic season; to maximize sport performance and to stay healthy. An athlete’s physical ability plays a major role in achieving both of these objectives. As part of ProEx’s PROhealth initiative to educate the communities we serve, we would like to offer athletes these tips on pre-season strength and conditioning.
Your first exercise…set your goals.
Put some thought into what you would like to achieve in the upcoming sport season. Do you want more strength and power so you can be a starting lineman for the football team? Do you want better agility and endurance so you can score more goals in the upcoming soccer season? Do you wish to improve your balance and core strength to make varsity field hockey? List what sport you wish to participate in, what position, and some performance goals.
Not all sports were created equal.
Understanding the physical demands of your sport and individual position is the key to developing a proper pre-season strength and conditioning program. Some sports, such as football, require strength and speed for short periods of time (explosiveness). Others, such as soccer, require cardiovascular work for long periods of time (endurance). Once the physical demands are identified, then you can begin to structure a physical training program.
Train with a purpose.
The next step is to incorporate the right components of your training program. There needs to be a mix of strength, flexibility, core, power, cardiovascular, speed and agility training. Remember, there is an art and skill associated to exercise prescription. Pre-season strength and conditioning program results are more likely to be successful when your program has solid structure. Consult your local strength coach or physical therapist to learn more about how to add structure to your program.
‘No pain no gain’ doesn’t always apply.
Pushing your body hard with strength and conditioning can result in normal post-exercise muscle soreness but you must respect pre-existing orthopedic injuries and understand that these injuries could worsen with physical training. Consult your physician or local sports medicine physical therapist if you have pre-existing injuries and wish to begin a strength and conditioning program. In most cases, a skilled clinician can find ways to modify your program to allow you to still achieve your physical goals without jeopardizing your health...….because at ProEx, YOUR health is the most important thing!