Guide to In-Season Strength Training

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion… Until they are proven wrong.

In-Season Training has been a hot topic for quite some time now.

There are 3 answers, and I’m gonna dive into each one:

1.) Train to Improve Performance

2.) Train to Maintain Progress

3.) Stop Training Entirely

1. Train to Improve Performance

I want you to imagine a Freshman College Basketball Player that is going to redshirt their 1st season. If this player knows they are not going to play a game throughout the entire season, it would be unwise of them to not train hard while in-season. They should be treating this time like an extended off-season because that’s exactly what it is. More time to improve your game and continue to develop.

This can also be true for players that DO play in-season. This is where it becomes vital to have a professional strength coach on staff. It’s a very tight rope between the optimal training dosage and overtraining, especially in-season. There’s so many factors to consider in order to make a smart decision, such as: practice volume, game schedule, sleep, nutrition, stress of school, weight room volume/intensity, and the list goes on. I’m not saying that you need to be in the weight room 5+ days a week during season. That’s ridiculous. It’s possible to make incredible gains with just 1-3 days of training per week.

Just remember that you CAN gain strength, power and speed while In-Season.

2. Train to Maintain Progress

This is the most common option and is what most athletes/teams do once the season starts. It’s a great option.

Remember that every athlete is different, and everybody will have a different physiological reaction to training.

“Maintain Progress” in my opinion means: to maintain all the strength/power/speed/mobility/etc. that was gained throughout the off-season, and also maintaining similar body composition.

For the average high school athlete, this is my favorite option. However, if you don’t want to just be “average”, than you should probably consider #1. You don’t have time to waste and you need to keep improving your game.

3. Stop Training Entirely

A lot of sport coaches love this one. But, it’s the worst answer of them all. Consider this simple question:

If we know that strength training makes us a stronger and more powerful athlete, why would we stop when it’s the most important part of the season?

If your answer is: “To Stay Fresh”, then do me a favor and go reread #1.

By discontinuing your strength training altogether while in-season, there will be a decrease in your performance and an increase in chance of injury. There is way too much scientific research out there to support this.

Some of the best athletes in the world will train hard in the off-season, anywhere from 3-5 days a week. In-Season, they will drop that amount of training down to 1-3 days a week, with less volume, while keeping intensity high. This is what 99% of high school and college athletes should also be doing. It will pay off in the long term, trust me!

Conclusion

Remember that stopping your training during the season SHOULD NOT be an option for you. Make the decision that feels best to you.

If you aren’t getting much playing time right now, obviously something needs to change. Maybe getting stronger and faster is the solution.

If you are playing a ton of minutes and feel worn down, training 1-2 days per week might be the best option for you, to maintain all the progress you’ve built up to this point.

If you ever have any questions, I’m always here! Shoot me an email at: jonathanvalentini@gmail.com

Have a great day!

Published by Jonathan Valentini,

B.A. Exercise Science, Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach, Former NCAA athlete, CSCS, CSAC, CPR/AED

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