Post Season Strength Training: An Overview
By Mark Keil, CSCS
September 12, 2022
So Season has come to an end (hopefully not without your athlete’s team winning the championship!).
But now what? Should your athlete take a break after Season? Or should they continue Strength Training to prepare for the next Season?
That’s a good question. And honestly, both approaches are correct. This is really the one time of the year when taking a couple weeks off Strength Training may not be a bad idea.
Because it will allow your athlete a chance to recover from Season. Odds are that your athlete has been training (Strength Training and Practices) for almost a full year and they just came out of Season where they played high-intensity games several times per week. Their body could use a little recovery time (even if it is just a week).
Remember, Strength Training varies depending on where the athlete is in relation to their Sport Season.
Information below is applicable to athletes ages 14 and older and may vary between athletes.
How is Strength Training segmented based on Sport Season?
Strength Training is often broken down into 4 Seasons:
Why does the athlete have to move through different Training Phases?
For several reasons. First, this keeps the athlete from hitting a plateau. While athletes who are new to weightlifting may be able to continue in the same Training Phase for several months and not plateau, a well-trained athlete will plateau. By moving the athlete to a new Training Phase, their body will realize it needs to adapt, thus developing the athlete.
Secondly, the Training Phase will effect the outcome. Here are the typical goals associated with each of the four seasons:
- Pre-Season: Goal – Increase Maximal Power
- In-Season: Goal – Maintain Strength & Power; Stay Healthy for Competition
- Post-Season: Goal – Active Recovery
- Off-Season: Goal – Develop Muscular Size and Strength
Lastly, not all Training Phases are appropriate for each Season. For example, you do not want your athlete performing an Off-Season Hypertrophy (muscle-building phase) In Season. Why? Because the goal of this phase is to break down the muscle to trigger growth. And if they’ve fatigued the muscle, then they will likely be sore and unable to produce maximal power, which will hinder their performance.
So how does Strength Training look in the Post Season?
Strength Training sessions are shorter in the Post Season (20-30 minutes). The Post Season is really just like the In Season in that there are usually few sets of each exercise with a short rest period between each set. Training in this way will increase blood flow to the muscles to aid in recovery.
From your athlete’s point of view- they probably want to start Strength Training the day after Season ends (its the ‘No Days Off’ mentality). However, taking a small time to rest- even if it’s just a week- can help set your athlete up for success as they transition into the high demands of Off Season Training. And taking time off doesn’t mean sitting around and doing nothing. Your athlete can go for a walk, go on a bike ride, stay active- just have them do something different than their primary sport and keep the Strength Training to bodyweight only movements.
At SportStrength, the Post Season typically lasts one month. Because of that, there is only one Phase within the Post Season: the Recovery Phase. In the Recover Phase, we program 1-3 Training Sessions (per week) comprised of mostly bodyweight movements. We want the athlete to put their muscles through the full range of motion, yet keep the load light. This will help the athlete maintain their strength and provide them a chance to recover from Season.
Below you’ll find information on the Recovery Phase.
*Note: The following are the sets, reps, and rest periods we use at SportStrength and may differ slightly depending on the source.
- Sets: 1-4
- Reps: 3-12+
- Rest Period: :30 – :90 seconds
Note: Most of our Recovery Phase consists of Circuit Training (performing exercises back to back with little to no rest period between each exercise). We know the athlete will leave the gym wanting to ‘do more’, but we also are aware of the intense training we’ve programmed for them in the Off Season Phases (which directly follow this 4-week Recover Phase). We just encourage athletes to hang in there and enjoy these ‘lighter weeks’, because the high demands of Off Season training are just around the corner.
Your athlete’s Strength Training will vary dependent on where they are in their Sport Season. It’s important that your athlete move through the different Training Phases so they may develop physically, prepare themselves for season, and ensure their training goals align with their sport season.
If your athlete is in High School and you would like them to receive Sport Specific Strength Training built around the Sport Season, then visit our Parent’s page to learn more.