In this next article of the S&C for Gaelic Games Athletes blog series I am going to introduce you to the principle of "regeneration phase". The few weeks before off-season starts is best used letting your body to recover, regenerate and exercise for movement correction and technique improvement.
What is Regeneration?
Regeneration is a crucial period nearly always overlooked by players and often coaches also, particularly players without an S&C support system. This period can last between 2 & 4 weeks depending on the season you have just have had and when you need to be back in "Off-Season Training".
What happens in the regeneration phase?
The regeneration period may still involve some of the passive pursuits you would have been taking in during the Total Break Period. This could also involve walks (which I think are of value year-round), golf, swimming, light cycling etc. However, in the regeneration period I would be getting back into the gym at least twice a week.
In this period, there is a chance to get the body some way straightened out again before you start some harder development training in the Off-Season Period. In a Regeneration Session the main aim is of a corrective nature and the aim is to address some imbalances and Asymmetries.
How to workout in regeneration?
You are bound to be bent out of shape in some fashion from the season. Realigning the shoulders, hips & ankles would be a priority. Depending on your injury history and training history I would probably avoid any major kind of squatting or knee dominant work and give your knees that extra time to recover with just very simple squat exercises and lunges in warm ups and probably only for one set. This is not a Strength Phase and shouldn't be treated as such. Below there is an example of a Regeneration Session.
Regeneration Circuit x1-3 times w/2 min break in between
Cool Down w/Yoga and/or Foam Roll.
Specific Ankle, Hip or Shoulder Programs may also be valuable and needed.
An example of a Local Muscular Endurance Circuit for the Hips:
Similar suitable circuits can be created for Shoulders and Hips depending on your anatomical issues or previous injuries.
Exercises to include
Something like the above will help with sorting out imbalances without over taxing your body. You may also have other corrective exercises to get in there from injuries or given to you by a Physio or other therapist and these would fit in there as well, probably in the warm up.
The Loaded Carries may be new to some people or may be something you only saw on strong man events; however they have endless carry over for athletes and the general population. All my clients carry. Depending on your goal you can go heavy for a real metabolic effect or lighter and longer for Postural and Symmetrical Development. They are great exercises for everyday life, stability and conditioning. They are great for weight loss as well and I am seeing serious results with these as part of an overall program.
It must be remembered though that this type of approach suits players who have been training for a year or two under a structured program. For beginners I would suggest getting screened by an S&C Coach or similar therapist to see how you move and what corrective process you may need or where your stability, strength & mobility weaknesses are.
And unless you are like the 1% of freakish athletes out there that possess superb natural mechanics and movement abilities then you will need some correcting. For a beginner, the above program may in fact resemble at least one day of your program starting out with a lot of concentration on the movement part of the warm up which often becomes the main part of the session for newbies. But more of that down the road.
When and where else is recommended to focus on regeneration?
I would also use these workouts periodically throughout the year. After a busy schedule or after a championship match, the pressures of exams, a lot of driving, study etc. The pressures of life can sometimes be forgotten, and we become slaves to the program. If you are a Sales Rep or an Office worker who spends a lot of time in a car or at a desk you have different needs to others like a tradesman.
End of year for Accountants is a busy time and there are many other examples. Be sensible, a heavy weights session is great for your development, but they can be also neurologically fatiguing and add to other stresses in life. Sometimes having an easier but productive session is the best answer. Just because someone like me writes something down on paper and puts it in a plan does not mean we have to stick rigidly to the same program all of the time. This is where clever coaches identify a player’s stresses and adjust accordingly.
Communication around these issues is of huge importance, the more a coach knows the more flexible he or she can be. While a manager sometimes cannot be totally flexible due to trying to get a team on the field or having the best players available, the S&C coach certainly can be more flexible.
This all brings us to the Off-Season.