Ever wonder if all that strength training you did in the off season is still paying off? Perhaps it's so long ago that you've lost all of it by now anyway. I've come to a conclusion on this based on this past ski season. Around this time last year I began whitewater kayaking (a new sport to me), weight lifting and swimming (prep for tri's). It was all too much for one of my rotator cuffs and it was really sore. I kept up the swimming and kayaking, but stopped doing upper body weights and did a fair bit of stretching. Usually this would be enough to quell the pain, but it persisted until January.
I knew I had to get serious about this so I began a series of dumbell strengthening exercises. Being during the ski race season time was short so I soon just worked out the offending limb. In a matter of 3 weeks all the pain was gone. A good enough lesson here...use strength development to prevent and cure injured areas; however another lesson emerged months later.
In May when I decided to do pre-emptive strengthening of those shoulders before the injury happens, I noticed how much stronger the past injured limb was. The one I'd worked exclusively for only 3 weeks. Here it was 3-4 months later and with only 3 weeks of training only that limb it was significantly stronger that the non-worked out shoulder.
The lesson I take away from this is that we may not lose as much strength as we think when we taper off intentional strength building in favor of racing in our chosen aerobic sport. Maintainace workouts are a good idea, but we may be retaining more of that hard earned fitness than we realize.