4 Rules for In-Season Strength Training

If you're reading this during your sport's season, you're probably feeling at least a little beat up right now. Given the nicks and dings that inevitably come with practices and games, it's tempting to skip out on weight training.

Don't. Although you needn't lift like you did in the pre-season, when you were bulking up—in fact, you should definitely not do that—weight training is important to prevent your body from breaking down.

"The demands on your body are much higher during the season," says Duane Carlisle, director of sports performance at Purdue University. "You need to account for your overall workload so your body can recover."

Carlisle recommends his athletes abide by four rules during the season.

Train Light and Fast

Instead of loading on plates, use no more than 85 percent of your max weight and focus on speed. This challenges your muscles without fatiguing your body. Bonus: explosive lifts more closely simulate how you use your muscles during a game.

Focus on Recovery

Spend extra time before and after workouts foam rolling and stretching tight muscles. Try some yoga or massage on off days. Most important, get at least eight hours of sleep each night to allow your muscles to repair and grow.

Address Dings Before They Become Injuries

If you feel pain during training, see your athletic trainer. You can also modify your workouts by swapping out weighted exercises for bodyweight moves, switching from barbells to dumbbells or changing your grip.

Don't Be Reluctant to Call It a Day

Some days, you might feel too burned out to hit the weights. That's okay as long as it's occasional. Skip today and come back stronger tomorrow.

The following workouts, from Ken Vick, High Performance Director at STACK Velocity Sports Performance, respect these rules. They'll help you stay strong and healthy and keep you on the field.

In-Season Workouts

Perform the following two workouts on non-consecutive days after practice or on an off day—never on game day.

Day 1

Featured Exercise: Squat Clean

Squat Clean

How to: From a deadlift position, explode up by extending your hips, knees and ankles and shrug to pull the bar up. Drop under the bar, catching it on the front of your shoulders with your elbows forward. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then drive up to a standing position.

Squat Clean
Sets/Reps: 2x4 @ 85 percent max

Goblet Squat
Sets/Reps: 3x4-6

Alternating Dumbbell Bench
Sets/Reps: 3x4-6 each arm

Weighted Chin-Ups
Set/Reps: 2x5-10

5-Point (Calves, Quads, Glutes, IT Bands and Back) Foam Roll
Duration: 60 seconds each

Day 2

Featured Exercise: Push Press

Push Press

How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a barbell across the front of your shoulders. Bend your hips and knees to lower into a quarter squat. Explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles to drive the bar overhead until your arms are straight. Slowly lower the bar to the starting position.

Push Press
Sets/Reps: 3x4 @ 85% max

Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing
Sets/Reps: 3x5 each arm

Towel Pull-Ups
Sets/Reps: 3x8-10

Rear-Foot Elevated Split-Squat
Sets/Reps: 3x4-6

5-Point (Calves, Quads, Glutes, IT Bands and Back) Foam Roll
Duration: 60 seconds each

Topics: QUADS | IN-SEASON TRAINING | EXERCISE | SPORTS | TRAIN | CLEAN | PRESS | BARBELL | SPORTS PERFORMANCE | RECOVER | WEIGHT TRAINING