Watering down your Strength and Conditioning Programme?
Here’s the thing, athletes don’t like to focus on more than a few things in each ‘strength’ session! When I say athletes I can only talk about my own athletes but I’m thinking (hoping) that its a situation where one person asks a question and many more seem to have that very same question in their head?
So here’s a theoretical example: If you’ve got an hour with your athletes, and try to put in static stretching, foam rolling, mobility and corrective work, power, strength, and finish with some conditioning, not only is that session pretty damn light on each of these components, the athletes aren’t going to know what they are really focusing on! What is the focus of that session if each component is only 5-10 minutes long? Can even a beginner get any significant adaptation as a result of it? Sure it’s varied, but is it productive?
Athletes just want to get in and get the session done, especially around competition periods or around lectures, work etc. that most tend to have to deal with in their lives. Our brains can only focus for a certain amount of time so trying to get them to concentrate on fancy theraband exercises and postural cues before you go into your power training might be a bad idea when the power and strength work also has some significant CNS demands.
How about sticking to 3 major physical qualities per session as a maximum? This is the message I tried to get across to the coaches on the 3 Day accelerated programme in June. Don’t water it down too much. Break up your week to get stretching sessions in there if you need them. I ran a recovery session last year which was all about mobility and developmental stretching work. The athletes hated it but it was a good session.
From a periodisation perspective, look to programme 3 main qualities at any one time. Have one major focus and maybe 2 other physical goals. Then split up and portion your time up accordingly. If you only have 30 minutes twice per week your session might be as simple as doing 5 sets of squats with some push-ups as a superset then finishing with a set of pull-ups to failure!
If you’ve got an hour you’re better off dong a good mobility based warm-up for 10 minutes, keeping it pretty simple and brainless and working on quality movement patterns for the session ahead. Then going into some explosive strength work before moving to some basic or maximal strength work. 10 minutes at the end you might do a density circuit focusing on some supplementary exercises. Just an example.
Spending time on the stuff that the athletes really need to do is the way to go. I’m not discounting prehab and mobility work one bit, in fact you can see from my previous articles that I’m a big fan of it and at certain times of the year mobility can be a primary focus.I like to have a separate mobility/corrective session in which the education process takes place then the warm-ups should reinforce this work but the goal is on preparing for the session ahead.
Just a thought for the day, you may disagree? You might agree? I’d love to know why either of these is the case though so leave me a comment below 🙂
PS If you have a good article you think would go well on this site then drop me a line with it, I’d love to see it 🙂