The season is over and now it is time to look back and reflect on the year past. What was right what was wrong , what we can do better next year.
Really as athletes or coaches for years you probably already know what you need to work on.
Everyone in sports these days has some type of annual plan they work from. This time right after the season is usually call the “Transition Phase” defined as a time to let the body relax after a long season of Competition, traveling and training.
When you look in the textbooks this is the standard definition of the “Transition Phase”: This phase is used to facilitate psychological rest, relaxation and biological regeneration as well as to maintain an acceptable level of general physical preparation. This phase lasts 3–4 weeks (perhaps longer) but should not exceed five weeks under normal conditions and may be sports specific. It allows the body to fully regenerate so that it is prepared for the next discipline.
Which really means a month to relax do as little as possible and goof off. We all know it even it we don’t want to admit it this can have serious negative effects on the upcoming season.
Tudor Bompa the father of modern periodization defined the “Transition Phase” a little different.
Transition is smart planning. As the last phase and review period of the annual plan, it leads smoothly into next year’s program. Through active rest, the athlete renews energies as well as rehabilitates muscles, tendons and joints. Every athletic technique relies primarily on the use of the major muscle groups. However, other subsidiary muscles are required to perfectly perform. These “stabilizer muscles” can be a weak link in an athlete’s ability. During transition they are developed for peak performance. This phase is an important part of the program in order to strengthen the movements needed for continued development during the next year.
What is different about this definition is the part about the “stabilizer muscles”. These are the muscles around the shoulders, (scapula) and hips (pelvic) that stabilize the technique movements involved in the sport by the larger muscles.
That is what I will talk about “Strength Training for the Stabilizer Muscles”
The scapula is the bone that your arm is attached to and then attaches to you ribs. All the little muscles hold the arm bone and scapula in place so all your main movements with the arms come from here. If the arm and scapula are not held in place by these “stabilizer muscles” and one of these little muscles give out then your arms cannot use the big muscles, like the lats, to properly perform the technique required for good form.
The same hold true for the stabilizer muscles that hold hips and legs so your body can do the powerful movements it must do for the proper technique.
Why not train them another time of year you might ask. The answer is, trying to train these little muscles during the strength phases for the main muscles just becomes too many muscles to train. A weakness in any of these muscles would limit the amount of work the main muscles could do later in the year. What makes it unique that Bompa saw this as he told” The importance of these muscles in technique sports is obvious, and having athletes do this during this “Transition Period” gives them a real purpose to go into the gym, but since they are such small muscle they still allow the athlete to get a good month of recovery.
When I first saw the results from just this short period of training I was shocked. It also led to one of the major discovers of my career and also backs up the statement how important long term planning it.
Athletes and coaches all talk about the falling off of technique at the end of a long season. For power sports it was the discovery of “maintenance of strength” during the season changed this.
When you see the test results from the athlete on “stabilizer muscles” at the end of a season you may get some idea of why technique drops. Notice how the strength in the stabilizer muscles fell off dramatically. All my athletes in the future will have “maintenance of stabilizer muscles” during the season.. in the future.
Starting the “transition Phase” for strength:
Take a test of all your related strength exercises at the end of the season before the athletes disappear for the off season.
This will give you an idea from year to year what you need to work on. How to take that test is talked about later in the article.
Now I will go through some of those stabilizers, what muscles they work and show you more results of just how effective this one month can be.
Let me explain one thing before we start this section.Analyzing results sheets. As a strength coach I supply the coach or athlete with a result sheet that has the weak links and gains made in the “stabilizer muscles”. From this I have been told that a coach can better judge why an athlete may have a failure in some part of their technique or even have an injury someplace. One coach said that weakness in these muscles was called “leaking energy” meaning if there was a weak link between the ground and the leg drive or arm drive could cause technique issues which I thought was kind of a cool way to put it. I do not try and tell a coach or athlete how this effects their technique. That is not my job.
Here are some pictures of the exercises used and the muscles targeted.
Sit-ups with ab mat and weight
Norwegian Lower back extensions
If you check out this video on how to test these exercises and send me your or your teams test results I will send you the excel spread sheet to plug all the tests in that give you all the sets and reps for your full month. Try this phase for yourself.
If you actually got this far in this article then you are a serious coach or athlete and should be proud that you are open to new ideas. Congratulations….My door is open to you to help you however I can. Just send me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.