Between beach outings, summer jobs, recreational sports leagues and family vacations, it's easy to delay your off-season summer conditioning for fall sports.
But if you wait too long to start conditioning sessions, you'll fall behind your teammates, and even worse, lag behind your divisional and conference rivals who will be training hard all summer.
Find the motivational spurs you need to head to the weight room first—before you hit the beach this summer.
Last Year's Lackluster Showing
Subpar performance on the field last season? An offseason strength and conditioning program is essential for enhancing your skills and improving your chances of cracking the starting lineup this fall. Identify the areas of your performance that need improvement. For instance, if you had trouble chasing opponents up and down the soccer field last season, that should motivate you to focus on speed training and aerobic conditioning (e.g., running bleachers, performing multi-directional sprints). Overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage by opposing linebackers last fall? Make strength training a priority this summer and set training goals each week to increase resistance in certain exercises. This should motivate you to become stronger and dominate the line this fall.
Strengthen Weak Muscles and Improve Flexibility
Weak muscles, strength imbalances and poor range of motion can trigger sports injuries such as strains, pulls and tears, which may have sidelined you last season. Prepare to stay healthy on the field this fall by performing core-strengthening and multi-joint exercises to build total-body strength. Incorporate lower-body, multi-joint exercises as well as pushing and pulling exercises into every workout. And always finish workouts with static stretches to promote flexibility and range of motion.
Lose or Gain Weight for Your Sport
Exercise, nutrition and sleep constitute the winning formula for either gaining or losing weight, building muscle or decreasing body fat. Increasing muscle size and gaining weight will require a weightlifting regimen and sufficient caloric intake to support muscle growth. Losing or maintaining weight generally involves a combination of weight training routines with moderate to lighter resistance and higher reps, interval training (e.g., sprints) and routine cardio work.
Make the Most of Your Final Year of Eligibility and Impress Coaches and Scouts
Entering your final year of high school or college sports this fall? Devoting extra time to training this summer and making an effort to get faster and improve your endurance are motives to make a big splash on the field by impressing college coaches on the recruiting trail this fall.
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