Preseason “Hell Week” of Conditioning Can be Deadly
By CEO Robert Forster, PTThe common practice of conducting an early season “hell week” of high intensity workouts in the preparation for the high school and college football season begins, runs contrary to all exercise science.
The first law of fitness development is that fitness is always pushed from low to high. This means the most productive workouts are just slightly more difficult than an athletes current fitness.
Although an athlete may perform a “killer workout” it does not mean they are now in “killer shape.” In fact, when athletes are exposed high intensity exercise before they have developed a sound fitness base, it is not only counterproductive for their fitness progression, it is dangerous for their health as well.
Subjecting young athletes to extreme training before establishing the requisite strength and flexibility needed to protect their joints, results in the highest injury rates of the entire season. It seems the prevalent use of performance enhancing drugs over the last three decades has skewed the perspective of Strength and Conditioning Coaches in terms of the appropriate work load that young athletes can tolerate and their ability to recover.
This year a high school sophomore was killed when a 400 lbs log fell on his head during an extreme team building drill. In addition to the physical cost of ill advised high intensity training; there are hormonal damages as well that create an overtrained state, lasting the whole season. Add in the extreme temperatures, and the common practice of withholding hydration breaks; and “hell week” has too many times resulted in heat and stress illnesses and deaths.
There has been 27 non traumatic deaths in college football preseason training since 2000.
Early season training should be designed to build a fitness base for the competitive season, not expose athletes to unnecessary injury and death.
At PHASE IV The Student Fitness Academy is designed to build strength, flexibility, and conditioning through periodized training. This has proven to be the best training model; and exactly why our elite athletes have captured over 60 Olympic medals, Grandslam, NBA, MMA, and World Championship titles.