Purpose: To determine the prevalence and predictors of preseason conditioning among high school athletes.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 451 high school athletes participating on girls and boys track and boys soccer teams in five public high schools in Seattle, WA, spring 2005. Questions were modified from validated surveys of physical activity for adolescents. The main outcome measure was meeting criteria for adequate preseason conditioning, which specify a combination of aerobic conditioning (vigorous exercise for at least 300 min·wk−1) and stretching and strengthening exercises (at least three times a week for any duration). Log-binomial regression was performed to examine factors associated with preseason conditioning.
Results: The majority of athletes met the criteria for each of the components (59% for aerobic conditioning, 62% for stretching, 63% for strengthening). As defined by meeting the criteria for all three components, 33% of the athletes had adequate preseason conditioning. Of those athletes meeting criteria for all three components, the majority reported at least 1 month of conditioning to prepare for the season. Varsity athletes were more likely to meet the preseason conditioning criteria compared with junior varsity athletes (38 vs 25%, prevalence ratio 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.1). Athletes who reported help with conditioning from a coach were twice as likely to have adequate preseason conditioning compared with those who did not receive help from a coach (45 vs 23%, prevalence ratio 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.4).
Conclusion: The majority of athletes in this study did meet criteria for each individual conditioning component (aerobic, stretching, strengthening), but only a minority met all three criteria. These findings highlight the need for school- or coach-sponsored involvement to ensure that all athletes engage in comprehensive preseason conditioning programs.