Football season is still months away, but athletes are working hard in the weight room to get ready for the fall.
Sometimes, though, players work too hard or inefficiently, leading to injuries or other setbacks to the offseason.
Strength coach Tony Bonvechio recently shared 10 mistakes many high school athletes make in the weight room on Stack.com. Make sure you and your players are working out right.
- Skipping warm-ups. Stretching and warm-ups provides an opportunity to improve mobility and flexibility, decreasing the chance for injury. A proper warm-up also raises the body’s core temperature and mobilizes and stabilizes joints. Take 10 minutes to get loose.
- Too many isolation exercises. Football requires a wide variety of body movements, so why spend all your time on one body part at a time. Big arms look impressive, but pick multi-joint strength exercises such as squats, deadlifts, push-ups, jumps, sprints and throws to build explosiveness instead.
- Never deloading. Nothing leads to injury like pushing to the brink of exhaustion. Every once in a while, take a step back to take two steps forward. Take a week-long deload every four to eight weeks to recharge your mind and body.
- Training to failure. Workouts should build you up, not break you down. Leave one or two good reps in the tank at the end of each set to assist with recovery while still making progress.
- Wearing the wrong shoes. Do you wear running shoes to squat or deadlift? Those soles are designed to cushion impact while jogging. When lifting heavy weight, you want a solid heel to produce force into the ground. Squishy shoes reduce stability and limit force from the legs.
- Sacrificing form for weight. Big weights may impress your buddies, but it’s doing little to help you on the field. And maxing out often leads to shortcuts in form, which in turn leads to injury. Don’t lose your offseason to a bad back because of ego.
- Too much cardio. Football is about short sprints, so why spend hours running long distance? Cardiovascular endurance is important, but sport-specific endurance should take precedence and make up the bulk of conditioning.
- Not enough cardio. Avoiding cardio totally is also a bad idea. Cardio helps in recovery because it drives oxygen through your body, so whether you jog, bike or something else, get that heart rate going in balance with weight lifting.
- Neglecting unilateral exercises. Football is about sprinting, jumping, throwing, swinging and putting the body in unique positions that require limbs to act independently, so sue single-leg and single-arm exercises in the weight room. Lunches and rows can help with this.
- Constantly checking their phones. Coaches don’t let you bring your phone to the practice field, so don’t fidget with it in the weight room either. Distractions mean a lack of focus. Set your playlist, turn off the ringer and get to work.
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