Written by Marisa Inda
If you’ve ever competed, you know the feeling that comes after a meet: the pressure is gone, the excitement of meeting or exceeding goals has waned, and the hoopla has passed. But now what? If you don’t have any future meet plans, you enter a phase some people hate – the dreaded off-season. It’s easy to get lackadaisical during this time because you have no big day approaching. However, this is probably the most important element of your training. Here are a few things I have to remind myself of during this time:
Have a plan
Hopefully you took some time to reflect on your last meet and figure out a plan of attack for your off-season programming. Whether you met your goals or failed miserably, you still need a solid strategy to get better. If you blindly go into the gym, how are you going to get better at the things you suck at? This is where you have to take a really good look at yourself and pinpoint your weaknesses. If you can’t do this for yourself, find a coach who can, and sit down and map out your approach.
Don’t get out of control
It’s easy to hit the all-you-can-eat buffet line at every meal, especially if you had a tough diet regiment to make weight for your meet, but I highly suggest keeping yourself in check. Depending on your goals, if you have same-day weigh-ins versus 24-hour weigh-ins, find that sweet spot for your body. For me, this is no more than 5 pounds over my weight class in the off-season. This not only makes a weight cut very easy and predictable, but I also don’t feel like I go from being strong to super weak cutting an extreme amount of weight in a short period of time.
Staying consistent in the off-season was instrumental for Marisa to take the USAPL American Record in the Bench and Total in her most recent meet.
Work on technique
Off-season programming can be boring to say the least. I mean, how many likes will that low weight, higher rep squat get on Instagram, because that’s all that really matters, right?! We all want to get better and push more weight come meet time, so this is the best time to focus on and dial in your technique. What may seem like boring and tedious training can make a huge difference where a PR matters: on the platform. Plus, it’s nice when that heavy weight looks physically effortless because your technique is on point.
When you’re training for a meet, you don’t miss the gym. Even when you’re sick, you push yourself to get it in. It’s so much easier to push training off until the next day in the off-season because there’s no real sense of urgency. Keep in mind that every rep you do adds to that total at the end of the week. If you miss two squats sessions, that could be more than 50 reps you miss out on in a week, which means you missed out on 50 reps worth of practice being speedy out of the hole, screwdriving those feet into the ground, and basically becoming a better squatter. Remember, the next meet is around the corner, and the groundwork you lay in the off-season is going to carry over into your meet training block.
When you think you’re training for nothing, remember off-season training is foundation-building and repairing, and I think we can all agree that a strong foundation leads to an amazing structure.
Marisa Inda is a mother of 2, personal trainer, powerlifter, figure competitor and calisthenics competitor based in Southern California. Competing in the USAPL/IPF, Marisa owns PRs of 303/187/363 and a 854 total in the 114 pound class, raw. Learn more from Marisa on her Facebook and at BodyStrut.com