Sports take a toll on the body that is often overlooked and ignored, while in reality your body is what allows you to do what you love. Understanding your body, what’s it capable of, what it needs, and how it works is the only way to be at the top of your game. Ignore your body and you’re bound to crash. If you’re looking to be your best in-season, follow these guidelines of how to structure your strength training to be better and feel better than you’ve ever been before.
Periodization: The Four Phases
In reference to a specific sports competition season, you can break the year down as follows: Preparation, Transition, Competition, and Transition 2. When you look at your training this way, you can see that one sport can last year-round. So what does this means in terms of your strength training?
We broke the year down into 4 phases; each phase should focus on a different aspect of your strength training. Let’s identify what each phase should focus on.
- Preparation: This phase is divided in two segments: Hypertrophy followed by Basic Strength. During the hypertrophy period of the preparation, your main goal is to increase your lean body mass. When it’s time to focus on your basic strength, you’re goal is to make your established lean body mass as strong as possible.
- Transition: The focus of this phase leading up to competition is on Strength and Power. The goal is to increase the capacity of the energy system that fuels explosive and power movements (ATP-PCr system).
- Competition: In regards to strength training, this is the phase where you Peak or Maintain your strength. It doesn’t mean that you stop progressing, rather you should continually be increasing your capabilities.
- Transition 2: During this phase you can take it easy with Active Rest; this is a means of removing the stress on you body without a complete cessation in activity.
The Specifics of Structuring Your Training
The intensity is measured by the percentage of a 1 repetition maximum. For work that is low intensity, it would fall around 10 reps at 60-80% of your 1RM. When the intensity increases, the reps and sets should decrease.
- Hypertrophy: low intensity, high volume
- Basic Strength: high intensity, moderate to high volume
- Strength and Power: high intensity, low volume
- Peaking or Maintenance: very high to low intensity, very low volume
- Active Rest: -
The key to staying on top of your game is periodization. Structure your strength training at the gym or on your home gym equipment with these guidelines, and when it’s time to compete you’ll be at your peak.