Off-Season Training Guidelines to Get More Out of Your Summer

Come back next year bigger, faster and stronger than ever by following our off-season training guidelines.

Summer is when most athletes kick their off-season workouts into high gear. Unfortunately, many athletes head to the gym without a plan. They push weights around and work through their favorite speed drills, hoping for the best. Get more out of your off-season training by working out with a plan. Customize your off-season with the following guidelines:

Remember Core Strength
Since you use your core as a foundation for most movements in your sport, much of your off-season should be devoted to strengthening it. Incorporate core strength training with exercises like:

  • Planks
  • Back Hyperextensions
  • Russian Twists
  • V-Ups
  • Crunches

Add variety to your workout with more core workouts.

Hit the Weight Room Three Times Per Week
Aim for three weight training sessions per week, avoiding consecutive days. In each workout, perform multi-joint exercises and include at least one of the following types of exercises: pushing, pulling, leg and core. Pushing exercises include Push-Ups, Bench Presses, Dips and Overhead Presses; and pulling exercises include Deadlifts, Pull-Ups and Rows. Strengthen your lower body with Squats, Lunges, Leg Presses and Step-Ups; and work on trunk rotation with Side Lunges and Medicine Ball Twists.

Don't Skip the Warm-Up
Before beginning any kind of training session, be sure to warm up. You don't want to lose valuable off-season training time with an injury that could have been avoided with a proper warm-up. For strength training, dynamic stretching movements such as Walking Lunges and Arm Circles are effective. Learn how to customize a warm-up for your workout.

Cool Down With Static Stretches
Upper-body static stretches should target the chest, shoulder and back muscles, while lower-body stretches should focus on the groin, glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds.

Build Endurance
Endurance is essential for performing at elite levels during lengthy practices and games. Improve your conditioning during the off-season through endurance drills like Mountain Climbers, Burpees, Uphill Sprints and Bleacher Runs. They will give you an edge late in games. Check out more conditioning workouts to build endurance.

Increase Agility
The off-season is a perfect time to improve quickness and agility. Include speed exercises like Tire Jumps, Speed Ladders and 40-Yard Sprints as well as balance exercises like Single-Leg Squats.

Improve Nutrition
Summer provides an opportunity to choose healthier foods and beverages. If you're seeking to gain weight and add muscle, you need to consume five to seven small meals per day, each one filled with protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Eat a meal every two to three hours, and get nutrients to your muscles quickly by drinking at least eight glasses of water per day.

Want to build muscle? Aim for 3,000 to 5,000 calories daily. Sample meals for building muscle and enhancing recovery include fruit with cheese and nuts; chocolate milk and a banana; eggs with whole grain cereal; a tuna fish sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato; and a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread.

Take advantage of your extra time this summer by making sleep a priority. It's necessary for achieving performance highs, muscle growth and recovery. Aim to get eight or nine hours of sleep every night.

Sample Off-Season Workouts

Workout 1: Strength and Power Day

1. Squats
2. Weighted Dips
3. Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows
4. Med Ball Russian Twists

Sets/Reps: 5x5 at 80-90 percent of 1 Rep Maximum (1RM), resting one to two minutes between sets

Workout 2: Hypertrophy Day

1. Leg Press
2. Bench Press
3. Deadlift
4. Weighted Crunches (holding a 25-lb. plate on chest)

Sets/Reps: 4x8-10 at 70-80 percent 1RM, resting one minute between sets

Workout 3: Endurance and Speed Training Day

1. Single-Leg Squats followed immediately by 40-Yard Multi-Direction Sprints (sprint forward after the first set, diagonally after Set 2, laterally after Set 3 and reverse after Set 4)
2. Push-Ups followed immediately by 12 Burpees
3. Pulldowns followed immediately by 45 seconds of Mountain Climbers
4. V-Ups followed by Hyperextensions

Sets/Reps: 4x12-15 at 60 percent 1RM, resting only 30-45 seconds between sets

Make the most of your summer with customizable workouts at the all-new STACK Performance Center.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock