Institute 3E In-Season Training Ideology for Older Athletes

There's no question that in-season and off-season training styles should be different. First of all, in-season the goal is to perform your sport optimally and to keep that high tempo through the season. Along with performing optimally it should be a goal to maintain the strength and size gained in the off-season.

If in-season the goal is to play your sport at your peak and you took the same training methodology we use in our off-season training it would do harm than good. The body wouldn't be able to repair and recover in time to perform optimally every time you were on the ice; you world more than likely inhibit growth. This being said there are a few training variations we implicate with our older athletes for their in-season training.

  1. Frequency - we recommend for older athletes to lift twice a week. This is an ideal amount to maintain muscle without frying the nervous system and leaving an athlete lethargic or sore for the majority of the week.
  2. Compound movements - every in-season lift we perform focuses on a compound movement as the first exercise. For example, a squat, deadlift, Olympic lift or bench/overhead press will be the initial focus. The compound movements are how we gain the most muscle, when in-season they're also how we maintain the most muscle. Along with this they're a great sign for checking and maintaining one's strength levels.
  3. Work : Rest ratio - a good in-season lift will have emphasis on the rest an athlete is getting in-between sets. If reps are lower, rest is higher to allow optimal performance and to avoid burnout.
  4. Volume - lifts are made to be shorter and to hit a majority of muscles, when skating 4+ times a week a 2-hour lift can severely deplete the body.
  5. Intensity - in-season intensity of lifts are dictated by the volume (reps). This means let the reps dictate the weight, constantly missing reps and going as heavy as possible will impede proper maintenance/growth.

An example of an in-season (functional hypertrophy, maintain size) lift would look like this....

  • A. Back squat, 5-7 reps, 40X0 tempo, 4 sets, 2 minute rest
  • B1. Chin-up, 6-8 reps, 30X0 tempo, 4 sets, 90 second rest
  • B2. Incline DB Bench Press, 6-8 reps, 30X0 tempo, 4 sets, 90 second rest
  • C. GHD, 8-10 reps, 30X0 tempo, 3 sets, 90 second rest

The main concern of this lift is to perform the back squat to the same caliber you did in the off-season. If you can, then it's a good sign that your strength and size is being maintained. The remaining lifts are for maintenance of other facets of strength, usually focusing on multiple body parts since frequency of lift days are kept lower.