Who Needs an Offseason?
An Outlook on In Season vs Out of Season Training for Athletes
By: Adrian Quimbayo-Cipric
Whether it is for fun, recreation, school, or profession all those who play sports are athletes in some way, shape, or form. Whether it is you, a teammate, or even a child, overdoing it when it comes to physical activity can lead to prolonged fatigue, disdain for the sport, or even injury. This is why it is important for one to have one’s training properly programmed and structured. For athletes, their training for sports is usually split into two seasons, an in season and an offseason. Both are important, but they serve different functions. In season training is when they are actively competing in their sport and performing more sport-specific training. The goal of offseason training is to build strength and endurance in the athlete in order to increase their athletic performance for the upcoming season. This distinction in training is important to look at this as many athletes today, especially high school athletes are involved in sports that last throughout a majority of, if not the whole year, giving them very little time for the improvement and rest that comes during the offseason.
During the offseason, athletes are able to train longer, more intensely, and at higher volumes due to not worrying about games/competitions and having more rest and recovery time. This is the time for an athlete to make the greatest increases in muscular strength and endurance. An important component of offseason training is doing some form of resistance training in order to increase one’s strength. These increases in strength have been found to increase an athlete’s speed, jumping ability and throwing velocity.1 In addition to improved performance, having a successful offseason training program can make an athlete less prone to injury.2 The high training loads of offseason training are what bring forth beneficial increases in cardio capacity in athletes as well as a more ideal body composition. In a 2017 study run on rugby athletes, they found that ten additional offseason training sessions reduced injury risk by 17%. Then as the in season gets closer the volumes and intensities of training will slowly taper down.
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2. Windt J, Gabbett TJ, Ferris D, Khan KM. Training load-Injury paradox: Is greater preseason participation associated with lower in-season injury risk in elite rugby league players? Br J Sports Med. 2017;51(8):645-650. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-095973
3. Cross MJ, Williams S, Trewartha G, Kemp SPT, Stokes KA. The influence of in-season training loads on injury risk in professional rugby union. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2016;11(3):350-355. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2015-0187
4. Rønnestad BR, Nymark BS, Raastad T. Effects of inseason strength maintenance training frequency in professional soccer players. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25(10):2653-2660. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822dcd96