• Pre-Season Training | Why you shouldn’t go in soft

  • Winter sports is approaching and we’ve got to ask the question of what state your body is in and if is up to the task? The summer is time to relax and enjoy the sun, it is time to let the body recover after a long and tough winter season – with that though comes the all too common reality of deconditioning. And that can mean we go in not quite ready for the harsh realities of the sport. 

    It’s a bit like when you use a hand tool in the garden that you aren’t used to or a pair of shoes and you develop blisters – If you had kept using that tool or shoes regularly, your skin would be hardened up and callused but if not, well, you go in soft and blisters can form.  That metaphor goes for your muscles, bones and tendons as well and to help reduce overuse injuries and up the ability of our tissues to handle knocks, we want to have them toughened up and kept that way and you simply cannot gain that within a couple of week.

    Luckily, Jace, one of our great Physios here at Physiosteps is here to give you key ingredients to your training program that you should really be working on already…

    Deconditioning is a loss of physical performance such as cardio fitness, strength and speed due to a complex process of physiological changes during a period of inactivity. What this means is that our body is always adapting and if you spend weeks or months doing less, you’re body adapts to that. Our body is always turning over and adapting to what we are doing and what we have been doing for the previous few weeks and months.

    When planning our pre-season, or even just trying to get back into shape, we can think about the principles of training:

    • Overload: stress the muscle enough to invoke change!
    • Reversibility: loss in performance can occur if we don’t perform overload consistently.
    • Progression: gradually increase load/training as you get stronger.
    • Individualization: One training programme does not fit all so consider your current level and base weight/distance on that.
    • Periodization: Have a set training programme with rest days to avoid overtraining/burnout.
    • Specificity: Practice the sport you are training for – get on the field/court and do some shuttle runs, put some shots up or do some kicking.

    These are all concepts to consider during your planning stage – take some time to reflect on your programme and see if you can tick each principle off. For more info about each principle check out the link. (1)

    Pre-season training is important as it reduces the risk of injury, increases your aerobic/anaerobic fitness, and allows the body to be ready when you need it to be by effectively hardening it up. 

    A study performed in 2017 aimed to see if pre-season training can reduce the risk of injury in rugby league players. They found that if participated in the pre-season training sessions, a reduction in the odds of injury by 17% and also can be associated by missing fewer games in the season due to injury. (2)


    If you try to jump straight back into sport you may find that the fitness may not all be there, so start a structured programme and gradually build your performance. You cannot rush this and if you find that you aren’t prepared once the competition starts, make sure to keep gradually building you training and playing load.

    “The best ability is availability” – Brian Dawkins

    Written by Jace Donnelly