Atlanta United is partnering with Piedmont in an offseason series hosted by Ryan Alexander, the club’s Director of Sports Science. In each episode of the four-part series, Alexander walks through a different area of offseason recovery. The focus of episode one is gym and strength training.
When designing an offseason program for Atlanta United, the goal for Alexander and his team is to help each player keep fit no matter what the athlete's offseason environment looks like.
“We acknowledge that this environment can look different for every player,” Alexander said. “The season is over, and players are motivated to try to disconnect, spend time with family, go on vacation, relax and unwind from what has been a long and consistent time period of keeping their bodies in peak form to compete.”
During the first week of the offseason, Alexander communicates with players. Together, they review whatever travel plans and desired destinations the players have for their time away from the Training Ground. Alexander and his team use that information to modify the workout program. They consider what resources the player has available during the offseason, whether that’s free weights, an array of machines or simply a set of dumbbells.
“Most important is that we meet the player with a solution that offers convenience based on some of our key exercises that will allow us to improve strength and promote recovery during the offseason,” Alexander said.
The workouts are balanced across two formats. First is the warm-up, which can consist of preventative exercises. Alexander collaborates with the medical staff to provide movements that address any lingering weaknesses or limitations that resulted from the long season.
“Our goal with these exercises is to promote freedom in range of motion without any unnecessary discomfort or strain,” Alexander said.
An example of a set of warm-up exercises includes:
- Hip kickbacks
- Fire hydrants
- PVC overhead squats
- Walking lunges
Following the warm-up are strength exercises. This portion of the workout is designed in “supersets,” a term that describes a group of complimentary exercises that focus on a different part of the body. Grouping exercises together this way increases the heart rate and keeps it elevated so the overall intensity of the workout is high.
“By complimenting workouts that do not contradict each other we can increase the efficiency of the workout without sacrificing the quality of any one exercise,” Alexander said.
Here are a couple of examples of a superset:
Superset No. 1:
- Incline chest press
- Side plank
Superset no. 2:
- Leg press or Kettlebell squat, or BB squat
- Keiser pulldown
- Front plank
Whatever the workout, the most important aspect is addressing the needs of each individual player.
“We want to be mindful that we are trying to promote the players to disconnect a little to help them be more fresh and ready to work come the preseason,” Alexander said.
With a workout tailored to their physical needs and external environment, players can maintain their strength and quality as they take some personal time this offseason.
Watch the video to see Alexander demonstrate all the movements: