Lets be honest, everyone is thinking about summer right now. Sure, school is technically still going on. However, we all know that while you’re squirming around in your desk pretending to be taking notes on simple squamous epithelium, your brain is fully committed to Tommy Bahama beach chairs, farmer’s tans, Yeti coolers, bon fires, wireless speakers and yard games.

With all that brain power going towards your summer festivities, let me help steer your summer training down the right path so you’re not waking up on August 10 realizing you’ve got one week to get yourself in some sort of shape for double sessions.

So put on your sunscreen and life jacket (water shoes are optional), because this ship is headed off towards 5 major dos, and far away from 5 major don’ts for your summer training.

Sports Performance for Athletes

Summer Training for High School Athletes

The Dos & Don’ts to Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

Do: Develop Your Aerobic Base

High intensity training, intervals and other anaerobic training methods are all the craze. Although those methods have their place, developing a reliable aerobic base by doing some steady state cardio – get out and run! – will have the most positive influence on your overall conditioning. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but make this priority number one when it comes to your conditioning work.

Don’t: Over Invest in GNC & Vitamin World

If you spend an hour picking out supplements in GNC when your average workout is 30 push-ups, 50 crunches and few bathroom breaks, you’re putting time and stock in the wrong places. There is no supplement to replace consistent training.

Summer Training for Athletes

Got that? If you train twice a week, having two extra protein shakes does not equal 4 training days. With that said, next time you’re in GNC, grab you and your squad some matching superhero blender bottles. You can thank me later.

Do: Use a Simple Program Structure

If you need a graphing calculator to figure out what rep scheme your following each week, you’re breaking one of life’s major rules. Keep it SIMPLE. Here are two very simple examples of how you can structure your summer training.

Example 1- Best for beginners
  • Weeks 1-4: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Weeks 5-7: 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Weeks 8-10: 4 sets of 6 reps
Example 2 – Best for those with some training experience
  • Weeks 1-4: 5 sets of 8 reps
  • Weeks 5-7: 5 sets of 6 reps
  • Weeks 8-10: 5 sets of 4 reps

Summer Training Dos and Donts

Don’t: Over-Book Yourself

If you want to get better, you need to put hard work in. Schedule your training sessions at a time you know you’ll be consistent. If you’re #grinding and #socializing to the point where you can never make your training sessions maybe you need some balance. Be realistic, plan your training times strategically, and don’t forget to make sleep a priority.

Do: More Pull-Ups

Seriously, do pull-ups everyday. Pull-ups are the king of upper body strengtheners out there. Add in the little nugget of grip development you get as a side effect of pull-ups and it’s totally possible that pull-ups beat out any pressing variation for the crown.

Rather than doing as many pull-ups as you can, try cutting your reps down where you end your set right BEFORE your technique breaks down (for example once you start to kick your feet a little). Then add more sets through your day. This will result in both higher volume and higher quality.

Don’t: Always Gravitate Towards the Barbell

If you’ve never practiced squats and deadlifts before, it’s not the greatest idea to try and learn these exercises on the barbell.

I get that you’re super strong and you made varsity as a sophomore, but jumping right to the barbell without mastering the basics is sort of like trying to learn how to ride a horse during the Kentucky Derby. I’m not saying it can’t be done successfully for someone out there, but your awesome free-throw percentage doesn’t mean you’ll be able to stabilize your spine when you squat.

Sure, if you hire a good coach or register for a sports performance training program you can use your extra time this summer to learn how to use a barbell effectively. However, remember you’ll get a lot of mileage out of the basics too, with things like substituting split squats for barbell squats and single leg hip lifts for deadlifts.

Do: Practice Your Sport

Remember to keep the goal, the goal. If you’re training this summer to get better at soccer, don’t neglect your soccer skills. Becoming a stronger, more conditioned athlete will have a positive impact on your performance, but if you cannot dribble with your left foot or make clean passes to your teammates, you need to practice those skills as much as your strength and conditioning.

Practice Your Sport

Don’t: Rack the Bar like A Dingus

This is the last time I should have to say this to you. It’s that important. When you are sliding the weight onto the barbell, the numbers absolutely MUST face inward! This locks in all of the positive energy that you transfer into the bar. When the numbers face outward, the seal is broken, resulting in a much weaker lift and all-around chaos in the gym. No, you cannot ask questions and there are no exceptions to this rule. 😉

Do: Get a Notebook

Okay, seriously. Get a notebook. Make sure you have a way to write down your workouts each day and track your progress. Hell, if you want to discuss your feelings in there too, I’m not here to judge you. Either way, write down your workouts every single time. I’m always surprised at how few athletes take the time to record their training. Your training log can become a great resource to see trends, recall weight selection and even keep you disciplined.

Don’t: Wear Someone Else’s Shoes

If your go-to source for training education is your news feed on Instagram, keep in mind that you are not Steph Curry or Tom Brady. It’s neat to see what professional athletes do for training as long as you remember the best way for you to make sustainable progress in your training is by mastering the basics and developing an unbreakable foundation. Down the road this foundation is what will support your more advanced, and even Instagram-worthy, training routines.

Get Started!

When it comes to your summer training, use the guidelines in this article to make sure you are steering towards the things that will make a positive impact on your training, and steering away from training mistakes that can become destructive.

Some other noteworthy do’s include, buy compression shorts, use lots of chalk and fill your training playlist with Gary Clark Jr. If you can’t nail ‘em all, the top 5 summer training for athletes tips above will at least get you swimming in the right direction!

Check out our recent Sports Performance Training video to see some of our athletes in action or read more about how we train our athletes here at Skill of Strength.