Does off-season mean we hibernate and curl up in a comatose state on the couch with a bag of chips? Maybe not. Off-season provides an invaluable opportunity to give yourself a mental and physical hall pass from single sport focus and structure. It is the time to step back and enjoy the opportunity of mental and physical variety. Wake up and do that movement of choice that sounds fun vs feeling obligated to a structured run or ride.
Take a Fall Hike
As an athlete and coach, I have realized that off-season provides a valuable opportunity to improve endurance-related metabolism and movement. It is the time of year to prioritize improving the body’s ability to utilize existing energy stores (ie fats). It is also the ideal time of year to improve functional movement and strength. With this foundation in place we ride and run with more unthinking fluid, efficiency and power.
Metabolic Efficiency Testing to capture the individual’s optimal fat burning zone
Off season is the optimal time to couple endurance base training with a more carb restrictive diet to extend the body’s ability to more efficiently metabolize existing fat stores, and train this metabolic efficiency at higher intensities. During endurance events, its not possible to replace calories expending with calories taken in. But we can train our body to better utilize its nearly limitless energy store of fat.
Movement Prep to activate the nervous system
We can also capitalize on the off-season to improve our ability to better control and coordinate our movements as well as boost functional strength. This change of mental focus from single-sport specific structure to a more activation-mobility-stability and strength focus, provides invaluable mental and physical variety. But it’s not variety for the sake of variety – this off-season investment is a key ingredient to in-seasonperformance.
Activation exercises held statically at the end of range
The first-step in developing improved movement and functional strength is improved brain to muscle communication. This is achieved with a series of research derived and lab tested activation exercises. We need to find and feel the muscles, before we can strengthen and recruit the muscle in a movement. These exercises focus on activating the under-utilized glute muscles. If we get the most powerful muscles in the body generating more power – that is improved performance. Improving glute-recruitment is also key to injury prevention – properly firing glutes, provide stability above and below and bio-mechanical alignment.
Stretching consistently included in stability-strength circuits
During off-season we can take a breath and dedicate more time to improving global mobility (not fixating on a single troublesome body part, ie tight hamstring) to move our body as a precisely-firing unit. Mobility provides appropriate sensory feedback, and coupled with stability equates to bio-mechanical alignment and efficiency.
Learn to move well
Improved mobility for improved alignment is just one piece, we also need to ensure proper recruitment and strength from the stabilizers. By investing time in the off-season with an effective stability-focused program, you will develop muscles that create a foundation and stable platform for the prime movers to direct the force and power in the intended direction.
We have the tools to help you capitalize on and maximize your off-season. It is this off-season investment that will reap in-season rewards.