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Preseason conditioning is essential to an athlete’s success, because it helps prevent injury and physically prepares an athlete for his/her upcoming season. Athletes who disregard training in the weeks prior to the season put a great deal of strain on their bodies. It is because of this that most injuries occur during the first few weeks of play and can be a result of inadequate preseason strength training and conditioning.

“I recommend that athletes start participating in strength and conditioning exercises at least 6-8 weeks prior to the beginning of the season,” states Dr. Rajesh B. Makim, sports medicinespecialist at Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron. “By doing so, athletes are able to reach an optimal level of performance while decreasing the risk of injury.”

To help prepare your athletes to reach his/her potential by the beginning of the season, workouts could include any or all of the following:

  • Weight training
  • Plyometrics
  • Jump training
  • Balance exercises
  • Stretching

These exercises can help reduce the chance of injuries such as tendinitis, muscle sprains, and ACL tears. Additionally, STOP Sports Injuries recommends that athletes keep the “10 percent rule” in mind while participating in preseason conditioning to avoid the chance of overtraining at the start of the season. Athletes should not increase weight training activity, mileage, or pace by more than 10 percent a week. This will help allow athletes’ bodies to recover properly.