Can you get stronger during your sport’s season? Bill Starr says yes and tells you how to do it.
Strength training currently plays a critical role at every level of athletics, from junior high schools to the professional ranks. Yet, some of us who have been associated with strength training for some time recall all too vividly that this was not always the case.
As recently as the late ’60s, some coaches forbade their athletes from even touching a barbell or dumbbell. When I started working with the Baltimore Colts in 1969, one of the assistant coaches would walk into the small area that I had set up in the basement of Memorial Stadium for those who were taking advantage of having someone instruct them on what to do during the season. The coach would proceed to tell the athletes who were lifting that they were wasting their time and running a risk of getting injured by training in season. Thankfully, no one listened to him, primarily because he was carrying about 70 lb. of extra body weight—all of it fat.
Now, many years later, and with a mile-high pile of research to back them up, athletes and coaches alike know that if a strength program is designed properly, only good things happen when sensible training is done systematically. However, the belief in the value of lifting weights does not always carry over to in-season periods.
I understand all their concerns, and I’ve had to deal with them on many occasions at three universities and three professional football teams. The bottom line is if an athlete ceases to do any strength training during the season, he will lose all the hard-gained strength he acquired from his off-season routine.