What’s up Gronk Fitness,
We’ve covered how to train and what to demand of your body during the off-season but we’ve never really covered what to expect through the actual season. What is the optimal training to maintain peak performance year-round while also preventing injuries or rehabilitating them faster?
Well, we have 4 PRO TIPS that you can start following TODAY in order to increase your performance and suffer less injuries.
Tip #1 – Mobility, Mobility, Mobility
There’s really no way around this! During the entire football season, you have to be working on your mobility. Contrary to what most people believe, mobility does not mean flexibility. Being more flexible will do NOTHING for you when it comes to injury prevention.
Instead, think of mobility as strength training for your joints. You can also think of mobility as movement exploration or improving your capacity for movement. The more movement capacity you own, the less injuries you are going to suffer and if you do suffer one, you will be able to recover faster because all the tissues surrounding the injury will be more functional, strong and healthy to begin with.
The most important joints to work on are your hips and spine. Of course, you want to include a couple of knee, ankle, shoulder and full body movements into your mobility drills but your sole focus as a football player and an athlete should be hips and spine.
More specifically, you need to work on your adductors and abductors, your hip flexors and your glutes. As for your spine, the main area of concern is the T-spine or thoracic spine. If you can get more extension through there, every other joint in the adjacent area will become instantly more healthy, including your shoulders. Besides, most shoulder injuries are caused by poor T-spine mobility.
Tip #2 – Manage The Intensity & Volume Of Your Workouts
As a football athlete, of course you are going to have to lift some weight during the season. At the same time though, you have actual football practice sessions as well as a bunch of games that you have to be physically and mentally ready for.
So, with that in mind, you need to effectively reduce the volume of your workouts and perhaps increase the intensity. In simple terms, we’re talking about doing more stuff in less time. Get in the gym, do your warm-ups, hit your workout and get out of there. 30 minutes TOPS.
If you are in the gym for 1 or 2 hours, on top of football practice, on top of actual games, your body will not be able to cope and your mindset will suffer as well. Understand your limits and respect them.
Tip #3 – Perform The Right Kind Of Workouts
What is your main goal as a football athlete during the season? Simply put, it’s to maintain your muscle size, strength and performance. Can you do that while following a dumbbell and barbell workout? Sure. Sure, you can!
BUT…you need to understand that dumbbells and barbells will put a lot of stress on your joints, especially combined with practice drills and football games. Your joints can only take so much abuse and this is where you must draw the line and be smart about your training.
ESPECIALLY since there are much better alternatives that will help you not only maintain your performance but also save your joints from injuries and overtraining. For example, training with bands is a very smart move that more and more athletes are adopting. Bands will be placing ZERO risk on your joints while making your muscles work hard. This is exactly what you need. Another option would be bodyweight training.
Bodyweight training translates very well to the field or court and it’s not stressful on your joints at all. In fact, a smart workout program for a football athlete would have you combine bodyweight and band exercises while keeping intensity up (heart rate up) and overall volume down.
Tip #4 – Get Your Mind Right
What if you suffer an actual injury? Is it the end of the world?
Absolutely not! In fact, the better your mindset, the faster you’ll be able to recover. Athletes that get discouraged or demotivated usually need a lot longer to return to where they were before the injury, compared to those who understand that injuries are a part of life.
So, now it’s YOUR turn to understand that injuries are going to happen. We are not baking cookies here, we are playing football and sometimes it can get ugly out there. You might even get injured during practice. It happens to the best of us.
The best thing to do immediately after your injury is sit down, eliminate those negative thoughts and start believing in your recovery. Focus on becoming better and work your ass off on every rehab session.
“When it comes to injuries, I have had my fair share of them. Did I experience despair or loss motivation? Sure. But I immediately managed to control my mindset and that’s how I got over most of them in zero time” – Rob Gronkowski