Your number one priority as a high-level athlete should be to stay injury-free. Your greatest ability is your durability. An important part of protecting yourself from injury during the season is developing your muscles in the gym before the first whistle blows. In addition to providing power, your muscles act like shock absorbers to protect your body. Ready yourself for the rigors of competition with a full-body progressive strength program this off-season.
When designing your off-season workout schedule, remember to hit all five muscular regions two to three times per week. It may be tempting to specialize in one or two exercises, especially if your coach requires strength tests, but the only way you’ll develop the protection you need for the season is to train your entire body.
Five Body Regions
Neck and Traps: The muscles surrounding the neck are often overlooked in training programs. This is a big mistake, because the neck muscles protect the head and spinal column from catastrophic injury. They also dissipate some of the force upon head contact, potentially limiting the effects of concussive and sub-concussive blows.
Hips and Legs: You can’t fire a cannon out of a canoe. Because explosive movements require a firm base of support, you need to remember your lower body if you want to develop upper-body strength and power. Not only will hip and leg workouts help you become more dynamic on the field, they will also lower your chance of serious injury by protecting your hips, knees, and ankles.
Midsection: There’s a lot to be said about being strong in the lower back and abdominal region. These muscles serve as a “link” between the upper and lower body and help transfer force. Remember the core in your training, but don’t focus on it at the expense of other body parts.
Upper Torso: The chest, shoulders and upper back muscles make up this region, which primarily powers shoulder joint movements. It is tempting to overtrain the upper torso, but remember that the shoulder joint is very delicate and can easily become injured. Balance muscles that push with those that pull.
Arms and Grip: The muscles of the biceps and triceps are not just for show; they help stabilize the elbow and support the shoulder. Since most sports are played with the hands, developing strong hands can be one thing that pushes your game to the next level.
Sample Off-Season Workout
Give your opponents more than they can handle this season by following this or a similar routine, three times a week. Train hard, and never stop trying to increase resistance.
Four-Way Neck Machine (forward, back, right, left) 1×12-15 each direction
Squats or Leg Press 2-3×10-15
Leg Extensions 1-2×10-15
Leg Curls 1-2×10-15
Calf Raises 1×15-20
Stiff leg Deadlift 1×20-25
Inclined Sit-Up 1×20-25
Bench Press 2-3×6-8
Seated Rows 2-3×8-10
D.B Shoulder Press 2-3×8-10
Chin-Ups 3xmax effort
Dips 3xmax effort
DB Hammer Curl 1×10-15
Hand Gripper 1×10-15
Hand Roller 1×3-5
Customize your own summer workout with our Off-Season Training guide.