It feels great to win a game or competition. The adrenaline rush of victory and sense of accomplishment is unmatched, and you may want it to last forever. But every dedicated athlete knows it is essential to do things outside of competition to improve your overall physical and mental health - you don’t need to go back to practice without resting, stretching, or doing whatever else is in your recovery routine. The same rings true during the off-season - you need to return to your next season prepared to win. But what should you do in the meantime? How can you get better while not playing your sport?
While rest is essential for everyone, an athlete who needs to continue to the next level in their sport must prioritize conditioning in the off-season to come back stronger. Our personal trainers at EW Motion Therapy help athletes of all sports with conditioning every day to play at their best. Even if you choose not to train with us, we still want to emphasize the importance of conditioning in every athlete’s routine.
This article discusses athletes who should condition during the off-season, why conditioning is so important, and steps you can take to make your routine more effective. With this information, you can confidently step into your next season and give yourself the best chance to win.
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What athletes should condition during the off-season?
Whether you play for the NFL or your high school soccer team, conditioning during the off-season is vital. Let’s take Tom Bradyas an example - when he is off the field for the season, he maintains a consistent fitness routine of cardio and strength training, along with prioritizing sleep, healthy meals, and hydration. Because he takes care of himself while exercising to stay fit and ready to play, Brady gives himself the stamina and strength he needs to continue being the greatest for a long time.
Like baseball and football, each sport has unique skills, and each athlete needs to condition differently. For example, a football player may need to emphasize weight training more than a long-distance runner. Your coach or trainer will probably have specific recommendations to focus on as you condition.
Why is off-season conditioning important?
Conditioning during the off-season can make you a better athlete, but how exactly does it do that? Well, it gives you time to improve without the added stress of competition or gameplay. When you’re not dribbling, hitting balls, or tumbling, you have time to focus on power, agility, strength, speed, and other specific skills that would help you get better at your sport. If you continue to push yourself during the season and stop cold turkey in between, over time, you might become detrained, getting weaker, less prepared for competition, and more prone to injury.
How can athletes improve their conditioning routine?
Now you know more about why off-season conditioning is essential for any athlete. Your coach or athletic trainer in your program will probably be able to give you some of the best recommendations for improvement in your sport-specific activities. However, if you want to focus on a particular area of improvement, like strength training, a personal trainer could help you build a custom program to reach your goals and become an even better athlete.
While rest during the off-season is crucial, you also want to return better than you were, and the best way to do that is to prioritize conditioning. Our personal trainers at EW Motion Therapy work with athletes of all disciplines, from NFL players to marathoners, and we want to help them reach their highest potential on and off the field. If you are interested in working with us, answer the questions in our personal training self-assessment to see if our program best fits your needs.