The thought of going to the gym the day before a big game / race may be a big no no for a lot of people. However, research has suggested that, if programmed sensibly, a gym session could actually improve your performance. While the research is limited, the use of resistance training 24-48 hours before competition may well help. Take a read of this post and you can decide for yourself whether a priming session may be worth it.


Priming Session Research

A recent study looked into different forms of resistance training in 17 national level team sport players. The study focused on their ability to a squat to 90 degrees, CMJ, drop jump and an isometric leg press.

Performing a specific resistance training session both 24 and 48hrs, before retesting, resulted in improvements to CMJ. However, only RT 24hrs prior to testing improved reactive strength index (drop jump). In contrast, time to max contraction in the leg press was not affected by either training session.

Finally, rate of force development was significantly greater when RT was performed 24hrs before testing. It is safe to say that RT both 24 and 48hrs before a competition can improve performance.


Session Type Is Important!

It should go without saying that the type of RT performed is pretty important! I’m not suggesting you go and do 10×10 back squats the day before a game.

In the study mentioned above, the training sessions were low volume and high in power output. Because of this you can see why the explosive exercises lead to an improvement in RFD, RSI and Jump performance. Therefore, you may want to implement high velocity movements at a low weight and volume in your priming session.

If your sport involves high velocity movements, such as sprinting, jumping and change of direction. The following exercises, sets and reps may be appropriate:

Jump Squats, medicine ball throws, sprinting, throwing and all things you can do quickly and explosively. Rep and set wise – you are probably looking at 1-4 sets and 4-6 reps at a light load. Rest should be high to facilitate recovery and get the most from your priming session.

If you are looking to improve your performance, our Expert Personal Trainers in Surrey can help you maximise your potential. Allow us to breakdown your training and focus on what is most important. Building foundations and preparing the body competition are at the core of everything we do! If you’re interested in more sports science research, we suggest you check out Science For Sport.