You will commit a mistake if you too are addressing the off-season period as free time. Sure you have gone through a long playing season and your body has suffered a lot of wear and tear. But, that will not provide you with an excuse to take an off from workout for long.
You must have heard that famous saying from the football arena that ” Seasons are won in the off-season “. It is a common phenomenon observing college football athletes and teams giving little importance to off-season workout. Let me tell you with each day you don’t exercise in the off-season, you are compromising with a far greater part of your playing season.
Today we have gathered some tips that will guide you for a workout in the best possible manner during the rest season.
We will address the questions like-
- The routine to be followed that will allow your body to recover?
- The best way for a football player to improve his performance and add to his skill in the off-season? At what time you must switch to weight workout?
- Which exercises to focus on? The intensity of those exercises?
We know you must have plenty of doubts raging in your mind, do not worry we have your back.
Things to focus on while planning an off-season workout routine:
Have definite and realistic goals:
Goals provide you with a purpose, a motive to strive for. It will serve as the perfect motivation and will guide you towards your goal which is being a top football player in our case, in your tough times.
Your efforts are hard to result in some real takeaway unless they are backed by short term goals and long term ultimate goals.
It is advisable to set tailor-made goals for yourself as you cannot imitate someone. But let me remind you, the setting of goals is just the beginning and not even 5% of your ultimate objective. Goals should be achievable and realistic and not something you cannot achieve.
Always have a backup plan, in case you do not realize a particular short term goal. This can be on account of some forced sudden events that could not be predicted. You should be able to modify your plan quickly and on the run.
Focus on recovery:
Recovery is not only for those who have suffered injuries in the playing season but for each and every athlete. Even if you were lucky enough to get away with some minor niggles and weren’t exposed to any major injury. You still have to cater to muscle recovery.
A player is expected to encounter muscle imbalances and joint alignment problems after playing a full season of football. These small issues must be addressed before they turn up into serious injuries and haunt you during the next season or workout.
For this, you need to start off your off-season workout with less extensive stretching and joint-friendly exercises. This might not be the most extensive workout routine but it is necessary to start off a painless workout schedule.
Watch this video to get insights on exercises related to joint mobility.
Continue working on Speed and Agility:
Football takes much more than raw strength. Speed and agility will always find a fair share of talking when talking about the basics of the game. The best athlete spends a maximum of their time in weight training and neglects the speed training. They must be mindful of the fact that giving equal importance to improving linear speed along with adapting to changing directions in a jiffy is also required. Explosive speed and ability to change directions in a fraction of second gives you a real-time edge over your opponent.
To master speed training and making swift movements, you must learn how to apply greater force, in less time, in the right direction with the proper movement of body parts. Speed can be increased with time, it will take constant efforts but it can be improved.
Work on your Functional Range of Motion:
Now when we have discussed speed and ability to change directions in quick successions, we must focus on the body parts to focus on. For improving your functional range of motion, you must emphasize on the hip and mid-back region. As a college football athlete, you must add mobility to the hip and mid-back region of your body.
For this very purpose, yoga can be of great help. Try adding some specific yoga postures to your off-season workout routine. Mid-back twisting, deep lunges, straddles are some yoga exercises that can be resorted to coupled with a proper warm-up in between.
Lean muscle ” the power source“:
Lean muscle is the source that facilitates the flow of energy to perform speedy and quick movements. For an athlete at the college level, it is observed that they aren’t backed with enough lean muscles. So it becomes critically important to add some lean muscles to your body.
Exercise is the ultimate way of gaining lean muscles but following the following steps might help you achieve them conveniently and in a much-streamlined way.
- Protein consumption must be emphasized upon, and taking protein consumption timing is the key. As a thumb rule, a gram of protein is sufficient for each pound of body weight. Take protein during the workout and possibly consume a protein shake before going to bed.
- Recovery time must be provided to your muscles, don’t exhaust them to their last bit of energy, especially in the offseason. Don’t follow a 7-day workout routine, allow some time to tour muscles to recover.
- Continuity must not be broken while exercising if you have taken an extra day off. You must compensate for it in the upcoming days.
Work on Explosiveness and Position-Specific:
Movements depending upon the position you play:
On the playing field what matters is the skill base you possess and your ability to drive your team forward on the back of your performance. A football player must recognize the specific movements associated with the position he plays and improves upon them to achieve explosiveness on the field.
Incorporate exercises in your workout routine that ask for maximum or near-maximum power generation in the shortest possible time frame.
Explosive exercises that focus on broad muscles are heavy ball throws, jumping squats, power cleans, vertical jumps either with or without weights. While those which focus on smaller muscles are pushups and bench press.
The box jump is another exercise that is a game-changer when it comes to explosiveness.
For sure off-season is not meant to hit the field or training location with the same intensity as during the playing season. But this doesn’t give you any excuses for exercise. Your constant efforts in the offseason will enable you to have a successful playing season. You will be less prone to injuries and will hit the field after replenishing your stock of energy.