Many times, the number one way of preparing athletes and active individuals alike for specific tasks is through strength training. This is not a terrible approach, but if getting people stronger in the weight room is the priority, you will see subpar results.
Strength is just one piece of the puzzle. Many athletes tend to neglect conditioning in speed and endurance progressively. They may be considered aerobically fit for the sport, but the modes and methods of training that got them there may need to be more helpful. When preparing in the offseason, athletes may reach the intensity of work required for their sport, but not at a progressively increasing volume. The preseason often has high demands on the athlete to be prepared for the season, but the volume of work is also a significant spike compared to what they trained in the offseason. The large spike in volume may be sustainable for approximately a week. Still, eventually, the body's tissues do not have the tolerance to meet this new shock to the system, causing fatigue and other cascading effects to injury.
When preparing, athletes should meet the preseason volumes in the offseason in a very progressive manner, so they peak before starting. Then they can ramp down before camp to be ready to ramp up again. This exposes them to the demands, gives their bodies time to acclimate to them, and then be better suited to repeat the effort. If they only start to progress shortly before the camp time, they will be doing too much, too soon, causing the likelihood of an injury.
The same is true for the weekend warrior. They may exercise very easily during the week but then play a pickup game of basketball or compete at a high level for the day, setting them up for a massive spike in intensity that they needed more time to be ready for. This may be sustainable for a couple of weeks, but eventually, it can catch up to them.
Poor mechanics and lack of test and retest measures can also contribute as you have nothing to ensure the body is moving and behaving as it should. If repetitive stress is created over time that stresses the tissues inefficiently, eventually, something will go. Even if you are physically strong, the body can only compensate so much, which can be individually and genetically driven. When speed and interaction with different surfaces come into play, you can be sure that those factors play a role in adaptation.
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Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.