3 Tips for Pre-Season Conditioning

Today's post is a brain explosion from Goose Osorio:

It’s no big secret that most people HATE running; this goes for majority of athletes as well. However running is essential to most sports and may hinder performance if not trained properly or at all. Here are a couple of conditioning tips for athletes who may not be the most fond of running but need to stay in shape:

1. Prowler

WARNING: Prolonged use of the prowler may induce Prowler Flu!

Whether you do pushes or drags, the prowler is going to give you the most bang for your buck! It’s a versatile tool which can be used on almost any surface (road, track, grass, gravel, turf, and carpet). It can be used for speed development and work capacity improvement (conditioning). And as far as time efficiency goes, all you need is 10 minutes with a prowler to get a good workout. Here are a couple of ideas for prowler workouts:

-Push/Drag Every Minute on the Minute for 5-15 minutes

-Drag down, Push back for 15-30m

-High Handle Push to Low Handle Push

-Lightweight Drag/Push for Speed

-Heavy Drag/Push

2.  Hill/Bleachers

My coach used to call these workouts “speed work in disguise”, they’re great off season conditioning tools because they improve both cardiovascular and anaerobic capacity. Hill workouts are fantastic for practicing maintaining an appropriate stride length when you’re in a fatigued state. Also, bleachers are useful for working on maintaining stride frequency, that is, how fast your feet make contact with the ground, when fatigued. Both of these modalities require a higher amount of force production per step than sprints on a flat surface.  These are apt for athletes who don’t have a training facility, however they are dependent on weather conditions. I would advise against doing either an a rainy or snowy day.

**Also worth noting, when doing hill or bleacher workouts, take your time on the way down. The descent portion of these workouts can increase the risk for injury at both the ankle and the knees. Both joints are placed in vulnerable positions, especially when fatigued. Take your time on the way down and go wild on the way up.

3. ERG/Bike

Who said cycling would make your legs shrink???

If your back is against the wall on a snowy day and you desperately need to work out, cardio machines are a suitable option. The ability to control the intensity and monitor your power output (RPM) are rare qualities which make machines a viable option for anaerobic interval workouts. Take 10 to 15 minutes to warm up and used this time to feel out what your steady pace is, something you can maintain for long periods of time. This steady pace will be your rest pace. When doing interval workouts it’s important to keep an appropriate work to rest ratio. This means if you work really hard for 30 seconds you need at least the same amount of time if not longer in order to recover and go again. Here is a general guideline for these ratios:

-        1:1, ex. 30 sec ON/30 sec OFF. This should be used for longer moderate intensity workouts.

-        1:2, ex. 1 min ON/ 2 min OFF. This should be used for moderate to high intensity workouts.

-        1:3, ex. 15 sec ON/ 45 sec OFF. This is for high intensity/”all out” bursts

**”OFF” doesn’t mean stop and do nothing. It means go back to that steady pace and maintain it during your rest period.

All three of these options will get you in shape much faster than going on a long slow jog. Don’t overlook your aerobic conditioning but in the end you can’t get faster by running slowly all the time! If the goal is to move fast, then you have to train fast.