6 Strength Training Exercises for the Offseason

6 Strength Exercises From Dave Scott

Exercise #1: Stretch Cord Row 

Grab a stretch cord; wrap one end around a pole (or a partner) and anchor it in front of you at the base of your ribs. Hold both handles, stand tall, tuck your scapula, and keep your elbows in tight and your thumbs up. Make a rowing motion: bring your elbows in to 90 degrees and pull the inside of your wrists to the outside of your ribs. As you release tension on the cord in a forward motion, only go to 150 degrees with your elbows. 

Do 3 sets of 12; every fourth rep do a few pulses where you squeeze your shoulder blades together.

In the offseason you want to avoid doing the same exercises with the same pattern each time, so to change the recruitment you can either change the load or change the angle. 

Variation A: rotate your hands during the exercise. Start with your thumbs up at extension; finish with palms up at ribs. 8-12 reps; pulse every fourth.

Variation B: Keep your ribs high and your back flat but hinge at hips to about 60 degrees. Same as above; start with thumbs up at extension, finish with palms up at ribs. This engages the spinal muscles, all the way down to the low back.

Exercise #2: Fly With Elbow Drop

Using a stretch cord, start with your hands together, your thumbs up, and a 150-degree bend in your elbows. Swing your arms up and out to the sides. The height of your hands should be at ear level and your elbows will close to about 130 degrees. Your hands, shoulders, elbows and ears should all be in the same line. If you are weak or have too much tension your hands will try to drift forward.

Once you're in that fly position you want to draw your elbows down to your sides and bring your wrists in toward your shoulders. Let your arms come back up to the fly position, then relax for one rep.

Exercise #3 and #4: Stretch Cord Hip Extension and Abduction

Extension: Stand on an elevated platform (2-4 inches) with a stretch cord anchored around your right ankle (the other end should be around a pole or partner).  For the hip extension, it should look like you're getting ready to kick a ball.  Your support leg (the left leg) should be slightly bent. Bring your right leg back about 12 to 18 inches; then bring it back to alignment with your left foot.

Do 12 reps; pulse six times in the back position on every fourth rep.

You're going to feel this in your right leg (the stretch cord leg) but it's really all about stabilizing your balance on the other leg as it works to hold your body in alignment.

Abduction: Step off block, turn your body 90 degrees and step your left foot over the stretch cord so that the cord is at your Achilles. Swing your right leg out to the side and back. Don't let it come down to ground.

Do 12 reps; pulse six times in the back position on every fourth rep.

This is the single best exercise for your glutes and the rotator muscles in your glutes. Again, you will feel this in your stretch cord leg but it will also have a huge overload in that stabilizing glute.

More: Stretch Cords: The Key to Offseason Swim Training

Exercise #5: Romanian Deadlift

Stand tall; keep your back flat, your head in a neutral position and your hips high. Hinge at hips. Grab onto a barbell or weight bar. As you stand, your weight will shift back to your heels. Lift the weight keeping your arms straight.

As you lower your upper body, keep a slight bend in knees. Avoid rounding your back as you hinge forward; then come back up.   

The reason I really like this exercise in the offseason is that it helps to lengthen the hamstrings, and endurance athletes typically have tight hamstrings.

More: How to Do a Deadlift Safely

Exercise #6: Squat Curl Press

Take two dumbbells in your hands. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart and your toes turned slightly out. Stand tall; keep your back square and your ribs high. Curl the weights up and put them on your shoulders: Keep your thumbs down, pinkies up and palms facing your ears. Your elbows should be pointing straight ahead.

From there, do a squat keeping your elbows high. If you drop your elbows, your shoulders will round. As you stand up out of squat use your core to drive the weights straight up over your head.  As you raise the weights, rotate your palms forward. Lower the weight down, squat, and then repeat.

More: 20-Minute Strength Training Workout

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