I received an e mail recently from a multi sport athlete who competes in Football and Wrestling.
This is a tough stretch as Football begins mid August and rolls straight into Wrestling season which begins on Thanksgiving. Depending on how successful you are, Wrestling season can end anywhere from mid February to the first weekend in March.
All in all, we're looking at approx. 7 months of in season time.
Not only is this a long stretch of time but there are MANY other factors that I add up and take into account on these athletes.
Here is a short list and then a sample training program:
- High emotional stress from competing every weekend during Football Season and then 2 - 3 matches a week with wrestling plus anywhere from 2 - 5 tournaments and tri / quad meets for Wrestling. There is NO down time emotionally.
- The after school meal is skipped, reducing the chance to obtain quality calories for a span of 6 - 7 months. That 1 less meal per day adds up to 100 - 120 skipped meals.
- Parent Support OR Lack of Parent Support
- How Intense Is THAT Particular School In Practice (NOT All Athletes Have Tough Practices)
- How Motivated Is That Individual Athlete
- What Is Happening During Practice / Competition? Are there specific Overuse motions I must take into account?
- Is A Competition Tomorrow Or 3 - 4 days from Now?
All of these little nuances add up and change the way I look at training each athlete be it during the season or the off season.
The most successful athletes WILL train in season IF their parents support them and IF they are highly motivated.
That being said, this is from my perspective as an independent strength coach vs a college strength coach. During my time at Lehigh, we trained 2 x week unless the team had a meet on Saturday and Sunday. If that was the case, starters had Monday morning off but non starters were still in.
Things are different in the college setting vs the independent setting. For one, as an independent strength coach, even with contracts, agreements, etc parents will still STOP their child from training.
So, at ALL times, I am NEVER creating a training program for "maintenance". Heck, I would NEVER have such a defeatist attitude no matter where I am coaching.
The goal is to always make improvements in performance.
For the multi sport athlete, adding muscle is tougher due to:
- decreased intake of quality nutrients
- increase of overall stress from 6 days a week of practice, competing every week, scheduling, lack of social life, a variety of bumps and bruises to possible serious injuries ALL make it tougher to achieve results.
So, I encourage adjustments in nutrition AND training. We're constantly communicating with our athletes and their parents to maintain as much consistency in training and nutrition as possible.
I advise to keep up with some mini workouts at home, especially Grease The Groove style training.
I also advise packing their own lunch and increasing lunch time calories. Getting a snack in at school and even right after school, even if it's a protein bar, a cup of yogurt or trail mix. These ALL add up in a GOOD way that has a positive compound effect in improving overall performance.
Here's a Video Answer from an athlete who plays Football and competes in Wrestling on HOW to train to keep making gains.
Below are some Sample Workouts for A multi sport high school athlete.
I opt with full body workouts because I do NOT assume that they will make it to the gym 2x in one week.
Also, these are JUST sample workouts. Things change EVERY session due to the reasons mention above, such as injuries, current mental state, competition schedule, etc.
Also, warm ups are shorter in season BUT time spent on soft tissue work / mobility is often increased.
- Mobility, Abs, Band Exercises for Shoulder Health are sprinkled in throughout the workout.
Sample In Season Workout # 1
1A) Any Carry In Multiple Positions (Kettlebells, Kegs, Sandbags) 3 x 150 ft.
1B) Heavy Sleds 3 x 150 ft
2A) Speed Bench + Chains 4 x 3 reps
2B) Heavy Bag / Sandball Shouldering 4 x 2 / 2 reps each side
3A) 1 Arm Kettlebell Cleans 3 x 3 / 3 reps each side
3B) 1 Arm Kettlebell Row 3 x 3 reps each side
Sample In Season Workout # 2
1) Zercher Squats 4 x 4 reps
2A) Thick Bar Floor Press 4 x 6 - 8 reps
2B) Double Kettlebell Row 4 x 6 - 8 reps
3A) Back Extensions 2 x 10-15 reps
3B) Kettlebell Lying Triceps Extensions 2 x 10-15 reps
3C) Kettlebell Hammer Curls 2 x 6 - 8 reps
Sample In Season Workout # 3
- Box Squats x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps
2A) Kettlebell Bench 3 x 6 - 8 reps
2B) Any Carry (Kegs, Kettlebells) 3 x 100 ft.
3A) Ring Push Ups (Add Chains Around Neck) 3 x 8-12
3B) Any Bodyweight Pull / Row 3 x Max Reps
4) Sleds 3 x 150 ft
Sample In Season Workout # 4
1A) Double Kettlebell Squats 4 x 6
1B) Dumbbell Floor Press 4 x 6
2) Trap Bar Deadlift 4 x 3 reps
3A) Any Carry 3 x 150 ft
3B) Glute Ham Raise or Back Extensions 3 x 10-15 reps
Sample In Season Workout # 5
- Pause Squats 5 x 2
2A) Heavy Chain Push Ups 5 x 5
2B) Any Bodyweight Pull / Row (Add Weight if Possible) 5 x SubMax Reps (80-90%)
3) 1 Arm Kettlebell Cleans x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps each side
Grip and Abs are common finishers for our athletes as well as thorough time spent on a rumble roller or LAX Ball.
At my Manasquan Underground Strength Gym I have a 130 lb steel pipe for body tempering as taught by Donnie Thompson. The athletes LOVE it and we teach them how to help one another so they can improve recovery and reduce in season muscle soreness.
For abs we perform a lot of stability work on the rings as well using a variety of planks and pallof presses from various positions and angles.
Other variables are constantly brought into play on a daily basis, that is The Art of Coaching. Coaching is constantly evolving and changing as our athletes evolve and change.
Arm work is sometimes done as well. The key is to get the meat and potatoes of the workout done. From there, if the athlete has extra energy AND depending on the type of sport that athlete is in, we MIGHT do arm work, we MIGHT do added posterior work.....
The answer is always changing.
The workouts listed above are samples. To say this is EXACTLY what I do at The Underground Strength Gym can never happen because the best training system is one that is constantly improving, evolving and becoming better.
Feel free to leave your questions / comments on training multi sport athletes below.
Live The Code 365,