Rest is an integral part of the off-season training plan for any athlete. Especially in the case of high-impact sports, the body must have time to decompress and heal itself when the playing season ends. 

An effective off-season training plan incorporates rest and then a strength training program that is tailored to the athlete. 

This will culminate in returning to limited sport-specific training as the athlete nears the beginning of the playing season. 

Tailored off-season plans not only maximize the athlete's chance of performing well at the beginning of the season but also minimize the chance of injury.

Rest Period

Many experts encourage athletes to take at least 2-3 weeks to rest at the end of a season. This doesn't mean that the athlete engages in no activity at all. Indeed, some type of mild activity is essential, whether it be brisk walking, biking, or swimming. 

Swimming is a fabulous off-season activity and many athletes utilize professionals like Blue Haven Pools Montgomery to install pools in their backyard. Swimming is a low-impact sport and therefore is a popular activity for those recovering from any type of injury.

The rest period is also essential as it gives athletes a mental break from the sport. While engaging in less stressful activities, athletes can allow their brains to rest from the constant stress and strategizing that goes on during the season. 

During the off-season, many athletes choose to even leave town and rest and recover in a different location. This truly gives the brain a rest as it minimizes the chance of encountering stressful triggers.

Strength Training

It's important to maintain strength and flexibility in the off-season. Once the rest period is over, athletes are encouraged to begin a strength training routine. 

During the regular season, the strength training routine is usually what gets skipped. However, to maintain good balance and flexibility, lifting weights is important. 

In addition to helping to improve balance and flexibility, strength training is essential for injury prevention

During the season, many athletes are focused on cardio and expect their limbs and joints to perform day in and day out at a high level of performance. 

Individuals need strong muscles to support these joints and therefore prevent injury. Utilizing compound lifts is a great way to strengthen multiple muscles at once.

Return to Sport

As the beginning of the season approaches, athletes should gradually work themselves back into playing their sport of choice. 

However, the emphasis here is that the transition back to the sport should be gradual. A great option is to engage in organized scrimmages a few days a week for just a few hours. 

Athletes should be sure that everyone they are playing with is on the same page and knows that scrimmages will be relaxed at first. For contact sports, utilizing the non-contact form of scrimmage is a great way to ease back in and minimize injury.

As athletes return to sport, they should be very cognizant of their bodies and what their bodies are telling them. 

The emphasis should be on taking it slow and if the body doesn't seem ready for this final step, return to strength training and low-impact activities until it does. 

Nothing is more discouraging than an injury during the break delaying the start of the season.


Each athlete has his or her strategy for training during the off-season. Everyone's body recovers differently and some may spend more time in the first rest period while others will quickly be ready to engage in some type of organized sport. 

The important thing is to not be influenced by what others are doing. An athlete's training plan should be dictated by his or her body, its history with injury, and how much rest it requires before returning to any type of organized sport. 

For those wanting to return to the season as ready as possible, utilizing an off-season training plan that incorporates rest, strength training and a gradual return to sport is an effective strategy.


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