Preventing Sports Injuries During the Preseason

August 5th, 2019

The fall sports season is approaching, which means training is in full effect. Strength and conditioning during preseason is essential to ensure your body is prepared and equipped to handle long practices and games, as well as to increase flexibility in the body to prevent tears in ligaments and muscles. This is also the time that athletes fine-tune their sport-specific skills, build muscle and gain strength. 

Preseason training allows athletes to strengthen muscles surrounding joints to reduce joint injury. The Journal of Sports Medicine reports that strength and conditioning training reduces sports injuries to less than one third and overuse injuries decreased by almost 50%. 

It’s common for athletes to get injured during the offseason months, which in some cases, leaves them out for the rest of the season. Before stepping onto the field for preseason, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help you stay healthy. 


It seems redundant to condition for preseason, but it’ll benefit your body and your game to do some light training in the weeks leading up. When you go straight into working out hard after several months of minimal activity, your body is prone to injury. Your muscles aren’t in the shape to deal with strenuous activity which could lead to pain. Conditioning will help with injury prevention and prepare your body for the taxing season ahead.

When considering your own conditioning program, make sure it’s specific to your sport. For example, if you’ll be running a lot, your conditioning program should be heavily focused on running, whether that means long distances or short, quick sprints. If your sport has you utilizing a specific set of muscles such as your arms, make sure to train those muscles.


Building a foundation off of strength will allow you to improve your skills, and enhance your fitness overall. Focus on strengthening your muscles to better your performance and be ready for the season when the first game rolls around. 

Incorporating lower-body strengthening exercises is beneficial for any sport that involves running. These exercises will help tone up your leg muscles so you can be a stronger runner. A few strengthening exercises for the lower body include:

  • Body weight exercises

    • Squat

    • Jump squat

    • Lunge

    • Side lunge

  • Leg Press

  • Dead Lifts

If you’re involved in a sport that requires upper body strength such as football, lacrosse, or tennis, strengthening the arm muscles will allow you to more easily and accurately throw a football, handle a lacrosse stick or tennis racquet, etc. A few strengthening exercises for the upper body include: 

  • Body Weight Exercises

    • Push ups

    • Pull ups

  • Lift Weights

    • Bicep curl

    • Chest press

    • Tricep kick backs

Keep in mind to take it easy during strengthening exercises and don’t overdo it at first with too many reps or sets. Every few days, increase reps and sets to keep your muscles working harder.


Many exercise-related injuries can be prevented by stretching. Muscle strains, ligament and tendon tears, and overuse injuries may all be avoided with proper stretching. Combining both Static Stretching and Dynamic Mobility Stretching and incorporating them into your warm up will improve your flexibility and prepare your muscles for exercise.

  • Static Stretching

    • Begin your warm up with static stretching. This is when you stretch a muscle or group of muscles by holding the stretch for a period of time. Typically, you’ll hold a stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeat at least twice.

  • Dynamic Mobility Stretching 

    • Directly following Static Stretching, perform your Dynamic Mobility Stretching. During this type of stretching, you’ll perform sport-specific movements to move the limbs through greater range of motion. These whole-body movements will pass through the joint and range of motion without holding the movement at the end of the motion. This motion is usually repeated around 10-12 times.

There are many additional benefits of stretching besides injury prevention, including flexibility, range of motion, and reduction of onset muscle soreness.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Don’t skimp on the warm up. Warming the body up before beginning an exercise is necessary before beginning a workout, practice, or any form of exercise. This is especially true after being inactive for a few weeks or months. The warm up portion of your work out can prevent muscle strain and other injuries. Getting the muscles moving slowly prepares them for more intense activity. 

Cooling down after your workout is just as important as warming up. This crucial step allows your heart rate and breathing to return to normal and also prevents dizziness or fainting. It also removes the lactic acid that builds up within your muscles during exercise.

The best way to cool down after a workout is to lower the intensity of exercise for the final ten minutes of your session. Follow this lower intensity with walking for another five to ten minutes. If you’re pressed for time, don’t skip this step altogether. Instead, cut it down to as many minutes as you have.

Set Realistic Goals

As an athlete, you’re excited to get back in the action and begin another season of your sport. There may be goals you’ve been waiting to accomplish for this season; work slowly toward these goals. It’s dangerous to set unrealistic goals and to push your body further than it’s ready to go. Work with your doctor or your coach when setting up a workout regime for preseason. Do a little bit at a time and work your way up to longer, more intense sessions.

When you’re in a game during the regular season, you’ll push yourself to beat your opponent, make the winning goal, finish the game strong - but this is not the time. If your body feels tired and weak, take a break. Getting back in shape and becoming active again takes easing into, so start with a little bit at a time. Your bones and muscles need time to adjust to the stresses of the exercises. 

Dr. Kevin Freedman, Sports Medicine Surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedic advises,  “You’ll feel tired while training as you get back into the swing of things, but extreme fatigue is cause for concern. Slow down and take a break. You don’t want to suffer from an injury before you even begin. Pay attention to the signs your body is giving you.” He also warns to pay attention to joint aches. “Muscles aching after a long day is a sign you’ve worked hard, but joint pain is not normal. This is a sign you need to cut back.” 

Keep these tips in mind during your training to make the most of your preseason, stay healthy, and have a strong season. Learn more Sports Medicine tips here. 

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