Break week should be a break. With the increased focus schools now have on students and their mental health, schools schedule break weeks throughout the year to decrease stress levels and allow students to recuperate mentally before returning to the classroom. I have never understood the teacher who assigns a project for their students to complete during break week, undermining the very purpose of the week.
The same thinking applies to student-athletes and their athletic performance training. Well planned and executed exercise programs intentionally stress muscle groups and individual muscles in order to stimulate recovery and growth. Regularly scheduled breaks in a strength training regimen are good for recovery and ultimately, mental and physical health. The law of reversibility, during a detraining period of only one week, will not come into play. The athlete who worked so hard for the past 6 weeks to get his deadlift 3 rep max to 385 will still be able to perform that lift after a one-week break. Just like the math student who solved the algebraic equation correctly during his midterm prior to break can still solve the problem after break week.
We think of our athletic performance training schedule as a football game. From the time we return from Holiday break until Winter break is the 1st quarter. From Winter to Spring break is the 2nd quarter. Spring break to graduation is the 3rd quarter and Summer is the 4th quarter. After each quarter of a football game there is a break. A time for players to catch their breath, to hydrate and to refocus. On several occasions we talked about the importance of “Half-time adjustments” and breaks from training give the body a similar opportunity to assess and adjust. No football coach would ever elect to go from the opening kickoff to the final play with no scheduled breaks. Players would burnout, performance levels would decline and goals would be harder to achieve. Take advantage of the breaks and come back as a stronger, more motivated student and athlete.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!