PAB Newsletter #16 – Basketball Player’s Body Composition and Fitness: the importance of the transitional period

Aug 16, 2022 | Home News, Media, News, Performance

Authors: Julio Calleja-González, Francesco Cuzzolin, Igor Jukic, Jaime Sampaio, Mar Rovira, Baris Kocaoglu, Sergej M. Ostojic

What is the transitional period?

The transitional period in the summer is a cycle preceding the next competitive event of the new season. This period can be carried out at the end of the season to recover from previous competitive season and to prepare objectives for the next one. It can be extended for some weeks to allow a rise to a transitional mesocycle, which could be the second most concrete cycle of the planning. Although the transitional period varies from country to country, it generally lasts 4-6 weeks (Vassilis et al. 2019).

Transitional period objectives

In this period, the physical, social and mental regeneration of the player is sought, allowing him the margin to do what he likes and feels like doing during this moment. Engaging in a variety of light and low volume activities during the off-season will help a player feel more comfortable doing different tasks that are carried out during the in-season.

Body changes

Unfortunately, except an old research by Ghosh et al. in 1987, for the best of the author’s knowledge, the is no evidence about de-training in basketball for Euroleague players. However, based on scientific literature in other team sports (Renato Silva et. al 2016), the transition period elicits small to moderate negative changes:

Figure 1. Body Changes


In particular, significant decreases in training volume, intensity and frequency during the transitional period can lead to detraining and have potential detrimental effects on performance and body composition (Suarez-Arrones et al. 2019; Requena et al. 2017).


For the reasons mentioned above, it is important to note, that professional players must 1) regenerate mentally, physically and socially; 2) take care of their body with specific treatments and exercises, with an ideal timing and overload that is not possible during the competitive season; 3) develop strength, dynamic strength and capacity that usually cannot be developed but only maintained during the competitive season.

For this period of time, the programs describe the next concepts (Renato Silva et. al 2016):

  • The ‘minimum effective dose’ to maintain or at least attenuate the decay of endurance.
  • Restore an adequate strength profile (reduce muscle strength imbalances) and neuromuscular-related performance parameters.
  • Maintain Body composition (body mass and % fat).
  • Avoid risky sports which increase the possibility of injuries.

Figure 2. Activities proposal.


The periodization strategy could improve the player’s capacity to cope with the elevated training demands of pre-season practices and thus reduce the injury risk. Besides, this strategy will favor a more efficient development of other relevant tasks of performance during the in-season.

The final message

Until recently, the transitional period was a time for players to rest and take a break from training. In contrast, nowadays this period has become an excellent moment for an active rest, to stay in shape and to improve personal deficits.

In addition, it is important for players to maintain their body mass, to conduct a complete body composition assessment in the middle of the summer (if possible), to always stay hydrated and to regularly monitor their body fat (not just the subcutaneous percentage). Following these tips will help players present themselves for the training camp in an ideal condition to face the new season.



Vassilis S, Yiannis M, Athanasios M, Dimitrios M, Ioannis G, Thomas M. Effect of a 4-week detraining period followed by a 4-week strength program on isokinetic strength in elite youth soccer players. J Exerc Rehabil, 2019; 15:67–73.

Ghosh A.K, Paliwal R,  Sam MJ, Ahuja A. Effect of 4 weeks detraining on aerobic & anaerobic capacity of basketball players & their restoration. Indian J Med Res, 1987 Oct;86:522-7.

Silva JR,  Brito J, Akenhead R Nassis GP. The Transition Period in Soccer: A Window of Opportunity. Sports Medicine, 2016 Mar;46(3):305-13. 

Suarez-Arrones L, Lara-López P, Maldonado R, Torreno N, De Hoyo M, Yuzo Nakamura F, et al. The effects of detraining and retraining periods on fat-mass and fat-free mass in elite male soccer players. Peer J, 2019; 7: e7466.

Requena B, García I, Suárez-Arrones L, De Villarreal ES, Naranjo Orellana J, Santalla A. Of-season effects on functional performance, body composition, and blood parameters in top-level professional soccer players. J Strength Cond Res, 2017; 31:939–46.


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