Staying sport ready during isolation
4 things you should be doing to keep yourself ready for when winter sports season starts back.
The frustration and boredom is really setting in for those of you spend a large amount of their winter weekends playing or being involved in sport (rugby, AFL, netball, football etc).
This one is particularly for the athletes. Although there is no definitive time frame given as to when Winter sport might begin again the worst possible thing you could be doing is neglecting your fitness and conditioning.
Should we be fortunate enough to return to playing and enjoying what may be a shortened season one should consider the turnaround time between the announcement of the season beginning and the season actually beginning.
What am I getting at?
If the announcement is made, it is likely that the turnaround time will be rather short, two to three weeks maximum, to allow teams and clubs to prepare their athletes for the season.
Compare that to regular preparation time for sporting seasons and you're looking at a 6 to 8 week deficit.
Should that be the case the likeliness of soft tissue injury will be much higher as the physical demands of the sport will remain somewhat the same.
Below is a list of 4 things you should be doing to keep yourself as prepared as possible for a quick turnaround into the full swing of your winter sporting season .
1. Maintain a cardiovascular base fitness.
We've put this one first because it is one of the easiest ones to maintain without a gym access.
It's as simple as going for a long slow distance run or ride. If you are tracking your heart rate you are looking to maintain about 65% of your Max. If you consider the length of time that you play your given sport for (80min rugby game) you should aim to be able to consistently maintain this level of intensity for that duration.
As much as this might contraindicate high end strength and conditioning work, we will take what we can get and a long slow run requires very little equipment or support so it’s hard to make an excuse for not doing it.
2. Develop your speed and metabolic conditioning
Again similar to the long slow distance running, developing speed and metabolic conditioning doesn't require large amounts of equipment or support. All you need is a field and a stop watch and you can set yourself up for a quality session. Exposing yourself to repeated sprint efforts, high intensity running and body weight exercises exposes your body to the level of intensity that is required for your sport. By exposing yourself to this intensity your body is ability to handle the physical stress of your sport will be much higher when the season returns. The large cardiovascular system base that you are now capable of developing will help your assistance in recovery from the high intensity bouts involved in speed and metabolic conditioning.
3. Improve your movement mechanics and strength
Now before you give yourself the excuse that you don't have access to a gym and therefore cannot expose yourself to much strength training we suggest you broaden your definition of strength. Obviously being able to put yourself under large amounts of load in the gym is of extreme importance, however we often see people train within a square when it comes to developing strength.
We all know someone that loves to bench and squat not much else.
Training in isolation forces you out of the box and you have the choice of making an excuse or finding as many new areas to improve as possible. A lot of amateur and semi-professional athletes often carry large amount of movement deficits and niggling injuries. For example
that stiff ankle that you rolled three years ago should not still be stiff and there are a number of ways you can resolve that issue. It's as simple as finding someone and getting them to assist you.
If you've got nowhere to go make sure you get in contact with us and will happily sort you out.
4. Develop a new skill
This is an important one particularly when it comes to your nervous system and exposing your body to the variable environments of the sporting field.
We're talking about ball skills, hand eye coordination, peripheral vision and discipline. There is mountains of evidence suggesting that by developing a new skill it has a carryover effect into other skills.
A classic example of this is the ball skills of a basketball player come at a massive advantage on the rugby field (think offloading in contact, quick catch and pass).
Skills we suggest learning include juggling with your hands and feet crawling patterns and balanced based rules (both on your hands and feet). Not only will develop your new skill have a carryover and positive effect on your sport performance but it will give you the psychological kick that you might be missing in terms of failure and success albeit on a smaller scale. The discipline required to learn a new skill will complement the discipline required for an amateur athlete to perform at a high level (time, training and taking care of your body).
So instead of kicking your feet up and playing video games and watching Netflix and complaining about being bored and under stimulated get out of your training square and challenge yourself to come out of this better and more prepared than ever before.