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It’s preseason of offseason training

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Monday, Mar 09, 2009
    By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com

    Later this month, the Chargers officially kickoff their offseason conditioning program, which means players are currently in the process of increasing their physical activity and getting ready to go to work.

    “There’s a preseason to the offseason program,” Chargers Strength & Conditioning Coach Jeff Hurd said. “After the players have taken time to let their bodies recover from the season, it’s important they start getting ready for our program.”

    As Hurd explained, the first two months of the NFL offseason involve a period of recovery and then rejuvenation. When the season ended, Hurd advised the players to take two to three weeks off with very limited physical activity.

    “I want them to keep track of their caloric intake and not put a bunch of weight on, but it’s extremely important for them to let their joints heal up,” Hurd said. “If they start really going hard too soon and they’re not healed up, they’re going to be behind all the team. Instead of that little injury being healed up, it’s going to nag them the whole offseason.”

    Knowing that they wouldn’t see the players until late March and early April, Hurd and Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach Vernon Stephens advised them that once their bodies recovered, to ease back into their workout routine.

    “Our recommendation to the players is the same as I would recommend to anyone just starting back into a regular workout program,” Hurd said. “They should start back doing cardio things, such as non-weight-bearing things like ellipticals, bikes, swimming. Then they start light lifting and increase it as they go to where they’re lifting three times a week but still keeping the reps high and the weight low. It’s a real high tempo so it becomes cardio too without putting a lot of heavy weight on their joints yet.”

    Several young players are set to begin the voluntary offseason conditioning program on March 23. Veterans will get going on March 30. That means that when they show up for the first time to join Hurd and Stephens at Chargers Park, they’re hopefully at the point where they can pick up the pace a little bit.

    “When we get started with the players, they’ll start doing things that are more specific for football,” Hurd said. “They’ll be doing half gassers, tempo runs and some change of direction drills. They do them at about 75 percent tempo so they don’t have to get totally sore when we get going. We can hit the ground running."

    Hurd and Stephens are set to lead their third offseason program since joining the Chargers in the spring of 2007. Through their tenure in San Diego, they’ve been pleased with the level of preparation the players have shown. They haven’t seen many players show up in late March out of shape and carrying excess weight.

    “Most of the guys do something (during the down time),” Hurd said. “They know what the offseason program is. The first week is our prep week and the second week we start picking it up fast. They need to be in some kind of condition before we start.”

    While Hurd fortunately doesn’t have to start from scratch with the players he works with, he does offer some helpful advice for anyone who is trying to get in shape after long periods of inactivity.

    “You don’t want to do something that is going to discourage you right away,” Hurd said. “My advice to people outside athletics is kind of the same thing I tell my players after they have just finished a season: work your way back into it. Set intermediate, short-term goals and build off of those. If you go from doing nothing to killing yourself, you’re going to feel defeated and say, ‘I can’t do this.’”

    Hurd suggests a few light exercises to help find a routine. Overexertion is a misstep he sees individuals make all too often.

    “I think that’s where people make the biggest mistake,” Hurd said. “You’re better off under training but being consistent than you are going too hard and getting defeated. Maybe it’s starting out by walking 20 to 30 minutes a day and doing some pushups and sit ups to get yourself going. Then you increase that daily, start a moderate weight training routine and increase the intensity of your cardio. That way you continue to build off of that little bit of soreness you will get. You’ll be able to work that soreness out and get a little sore again, but you’re not at the point where you can’t move or you injure yourself starting out. Consistency is the key.”
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