For many teens, college athletes and adults, sports are a year-round pursuit. When you’re in season, you’re focused on maximizing your ability, and during the offseason, you’re working to get stronger and faster for next season. However, if you don’t train correctly during the offseason, you could increase your injury risk once the season begins. In today’s blog, we share some tips for how to safely train for your sport during the offseason.
Training During The Offseason
These tips should serve as a general guide, because every sport requires different offseason training techniques at different levels. For the best advice, connect with a physical therapist to help develop and individualized offseason training program.
- Rest – One of the best things you can do for your body in the immediate aftermath of a season is to give it some time off. Seasons can get long, and your body needs some time to restrengthen overstressed muscles and soft tissues. Not giving your body enough time off during the offseason can increase your risk of injuries as the season goes on. Get plenty of rest once the season ends.
- Start Cross-Training – After your body has had some time to rest, jump into an offseason cross-training program. If you’re a basketball player, you may think that shooting hoops each day in the offseason will improve your game, and while it may do so, cross-training can do a lot more for your physical body, which will also help your basketball game. Taking up another sport or beginning a weight training program that targets different muscle groups than normal helps to develop muscles equally throughout the body, which reduces injury risk. You’ve probably heard of NFL players taking ballet or baseball players swimming daily during the offseason because these are all forms of cross-training. Working these overlooked muscles will only serve to help your game during the season.
- Diet – Your diet also plays a key role in your offseason fitness. Make sure you are eating a wide range of foods and getting plenty of vitamins and minerals. Also, keep a scale handy to ensure you’re maintaining an ideal body weight. It may be easy to drop the weight once training begins for next season, but that’s only adding extra strain on your muscles and bones, which can increase your injury risk. Maintain a healthy diet in the offseason.
- Slowly Build Up Your Activity Before The Season – Finally, make sure you start performing some sport-specific training activities weeks in advance of the start of the upcoming season. Don’t show up to the first set of two-a-day practices having done little physical activity in the past three weeks, because that’s exactly how injuries occur. Begin slowly getting your body used to the movements and activities of your sport weeks ahead of the new season. This way, when practice begins, you’ll already be in game shape, which not only can put you ahead of your competition, but it can greatly reduce your injury risk!
For more tips, or to connect with a PT to talk about an offseason training program, reach out to OrthoRehab PT today.
PT of Costa Rican National Soccer Team for 2007 World Cup in Victoria, CAN. Clinical Instructor for University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy Affiliations
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