T Nation

Staying fit during the off-season or Not

CT ? Hows things? Congratulations on the football coaching success this year, well done.
Here is a question I have been dying to ask you.
During the off-season should an athlete (football player) take time to worry about fitness (conditioning level) while trying put on size, strength & power.

Take the two cases below ? which would be better?

  1. a football player gets pretty fit (conditioned) at pre-season and during the season from game time. Once the football season has finished he then takes a break from the fitness side and bulks up with both fat and muscle while building up his strength through weights. He does no cardio, gpp or sprints. He then gets back to his previous conditioning level when the next pre-season starts.

This case he gets bigger and stronger and gives his body a break from fitness, but loses his conditioning level


  1. the football player maintains his conditioning level in the off-season by incorporating gpp, cardio and sprints with his weight training.

This case he gets bigger and stronger (probably not as much as the first case), but still maintains a good level of conditioning for the upcoming season.

What are your thoughts on this?

I do include a short period of GPP/conditioning work during the first month of the off-season program, nothing too fancy though. During the rest of the off-season conditioning work is not really necessary if your athletes lift and sprint (plus agility drills). I simply gradually decrease the rest interval between sets. I find this to be much more specific to football. However once a week we will do slad drag and the shoulder glidder.