Hey, Jeff Reinardy Winona State University strength and conditioning coach. Now here we are it’s 2020 so this is to be expected but, we’ve been on again off again. Two weeks ago, we had no sports in the fall throughout the upper Midwest and now here we are right back again. As soon as I put a video on how to use this, fall as a true offseason, suddenly, we’re back in season again. So I guess this is about par for the course. Now that we’re back, most of us at least, we’re going to have some form of fall sports that might be football, it might be volleyball, might be soccer, whatever it might be, but also now trying to make sure that we’ll get back in the weight room.
Safety Is Key
First thing I want to say is we need to be really careful. Okay, coaches, we get excited, we get wound up, we want to get back going 100%, you know, hit the ground running like crazy. we have to remember, most of our athletes had been off for five or six months – haven’t been in the weight room have done minimal running, minimal preparation. As you get them back onto the field, because you get the word, “go” and boom, now we can start our practices right away. We also want to get back to the weight room again, take those things slowly. progress, slowly, be smart about that and you’re going to really help reduce the number of injuries that you might see some of this quick overview style injuries, and just reduce overall injuries and increase their performance at the same time.
Back to Basics
A couple of things you might want to think about start with technique, Okay, first you want to do is go back to basics, right, make sure that they get a good tutorial and your technique. At the high school levels, you’re going to have some more seniors or juniors who have might have been through many years of history already so it’s going to be quick for them. But again, take the time, you’re going to have some new people, now’s a good time to walk through that a lot of this can be active recovery, particularly if they’re in the type of practicing where we’re doing a lot of it and hitting it hard. Again, bodies are sore, delayed onset muscle soreness is setting it, we can use that technique time as really an active recovery time and help work through that. So again, walk through the technique.
Modifications are Key
The other things you might want to think about, instead of throwing a bar across the back and say, hey, let’s get squatting right off the bat, you might want to think about some other avenues, we might kettlebell squat, which would be here, you could squat, we could goblet squat with a dumbbell right here and you’re squatting down. I love the front squat, I think that’s a great movement puts you in a great position where I like to start, I’ll turn sideways, I like my arms out and like the bar across my shoulders, make sure the arm stays straight to begin with, okay, then you’re squatting down, standing up, forces them to stay in a great athletic position usually puts them in a great position overall. So that’s a great learning technique, and overall strength technique. So you start there with the front squats. And then obviously, you could change to the receiving position or high with your good hand position. Before I might even move to the back squat. But again, progress those things very slowly.
Also, when you’re trying to program things, you got to find the right rep to right percentage base, okay, we don’t want to jump in and start hitting you know, 70-80-90, nearly 100% right off the bat, we got to take it slow. Okay, walk in, you got to learn to kind of crawl again, then walk before we start sprinting once again. And again, we’re in season. So a lot of jumping, running, football – banging each other all those things are occurring at the same time. So we’ve got to be smart about how we’re using our weight room time. What I like to do when we’re either in season or our fall, or excuse me, our what we consider our spring football season is I really like to hang around that 60 to 70, maybe 75% rep or percentage range. And the reps I like to use, I like to keep the middle of the road, I like to between three and upwards of six ish reps. I don’t like to get real high, 8-9-10-12 reps, particularly for movements such as our front back squats, even some of our pressing movements, I don’t like to get too high with whenever I’m doing anything explosive, I always keep those reps relatively low, typically five and less on almost everything and really focus on that technique. So again, when you’re designing that program, make sure your rep ranges are where they need to be.
For some of my really strong athletes for some of those who might be back squatting for us at a collegiate level in the five to 600 pound range, which is you know, pretty heavy overall – when they’re in season if they’re a starter and they’re hitting it really hard and doing a lot of reps at their, during their sport, particularly looking at football. You know, for us, we’ll play a game on Saturday and Sunday, we’re already brought back in the weight room kind of work in that sorting this out, but it’s also the greatest distance for me as a strength coach from my next game. So I need to also try to get our heavy type movements in we might clean a little bit heavier, we might back squat a little bit heavier. But again, I’m really using those percentages to make the adjustments and some of our big guys, even their 70% is pretty heavy, you know, it’s getting to that 400 pound range, that’s pretty heavy. For some of those guys, I might actually start to back it off just a little bit as well kind of go to the side, speak with them and say, hey, look, I know that, you know, whenever you’re throwing 400 pounds on your back, particularly if you’ve just got done doing, you know, 40 to 60 reps at a game, that that might be quite a bit and you know, with a 24 hour rest period, so we’ll talk to them be smart about how they’re doing their type of thing. But again, really adjust those percentages as you’re programming that will really help a, again, alleviate some of those services.
Preventing Muscle Soreness
When we do our Sunday workouts, guys come in, they’re stiff, they’re sore, obviously, we take a lot of time in our warm ups, we do what we call row flow, which is a type of yoga, and that’s prior to getting into the weight room. Those types of things get their body ready to hit the weight room, when we’re done with the weight room, guys generally will walk out and say they feel a lot better, kind of already worked through that soreness. Some programs wait till Monday. But we’ve generally found through the years that a guy who’s sore on Sunday is just as sore on Monday. So we’re happy and they feel actually better. If literally, we’re off of a bus coming back from a game that might be six, eight hours away, we could be getting off the bus at midnight, one two in the morning. And by one o’clock in the afternoon. You know, 12 hours later, we got them in the weight room, they’re going through some things and actually feeling better.
So again, overall, when we’re getting back, because we’re in a condense situation with our time schedule, with our playing dates, all those. We can’t just come screaming hard miles an hour in the weight room got to be smart. We got to progress it slowly. We got to relearn those techniques one more time. It’ll help us with that injury prevention. It’ll help with that muscle soreness. It’ll help us with that act of recovery. So be smart. take those steps progressively. Take them slow and stay safe. Thank you.
The 2009 Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year, Jeff is in his 16th year at Winona State University as Strength and Conditioning/ Director of Fitness. He is responsible for 10 Division II teams. Previously he was the head strength and conditioning coach for Olympic sports at Iowa State University, an assistant at the University of Memphis, and an assistant at the US Olympic training center in Colorado. Reinardy was part of two men’s basketball national championships in three appearances, numerous conference championships, and several individual national champions at both the Division I and II levels. He also holds club coach and sports performance certifications through USA Weightlifting, and is the former ADFPA American Squat record holder in the 148 weight class and four Minnesota state ADFPA championships.