Stiffness at the Wrong Time


ELIMINATING STIFFNESS – One of the reasons we don’t want to change exercises frequently in-season is due to stiffness. Adding in an unfamiliar exercises during the in-season period results in increased musculo-tendon stiffness. Increased soreness and stiffness can create altered movement patterns. Altered movement patterns may increase joint stress from compensations.

Be conscious of exercises that create increased soreness such as heavy RDL’s, Single Leg RDL’s, and Bulgarian squats as an example. There’s nothing wrong with these exercises but a strength coach should be aware that these often cause increased soreness.  If your athletes perform them regularly in your program then that’s fine, but it’s probably not a great idea to add to your program as a variation 6 weeks into the season.  Don’t throw something at an athlete that they haven’t prepared for.  Too much too soon or something too new will always cause a disruption in an athlete and create soreness.

Developing our athletes in-season can still be a priority.  Creating adaptation in the human body requires stimuli.  Once they adapt to that stimuli we are no longer adapting.  Yes change is required but small changes can serve the same purpose.  Bondarchuk has talked extensively about using less variation will bring athletes into peak form faster. While this may be true we still don’t want athletes fighting to adapt to the weight room during an already stress filled inseason period. We would prefer smaller variations in training so adaptation energy can be spent where it matters most….on the field.

  1. Change tempo’s – Alter tempo’s while keeping movement patterns throughout
  2. Change set/rep schemes
  3. Lateralization – Change the exercise without changing the movement pattern.  A DB Row may change to a DB Birddog Row.  Or a DB Bench Press may change to a DB Floor Press variation.  The movement pattern stays virtually the same but we alter the exercise.

Keeping variation to a minimum will keep soreness at bay while still providing a stimulus for development.

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