Although this information is not necessarily new, it reinforces the fact that a good strength and conditioning program should incorporate variety of exercise selection; and be periodized and progressive, in order to ensure the athlete’s physical growth and development.
Training periodization is a program design strategy in which the strength and conditioning professional incorporates variations in training specificity, intensity, and volume organized in planned periods or cycles within an overall program, to promote long-term training and performance improvements.
An example of a practical application of training periodization to an athlete’s sport season would be to adapt his or her training to address the relative demands of the sport — over an entire year — including the off-season, pre-season, in-season, and post-season phases.
Obviously, the goal of a periodized training strategy is to help the athlete achieve and maintain optimal strength and power during his or her competition period (in-season phase). Typically, this requires further increases in training intensity with additional decreases in training volume.
As the athlete adapts to the training stimulus, the strength and conditioning professional must have a strategy of advancing the exercise loads so that improvements will continue over time. This is referred to as training progression.
A conservative method that can be used to increase an athlete’s training load is called the 2-for-2 rule. If the athlete can perform two or more repetitions over his or her assigned repetition goal in the last set in two consecutive workouts for a certain exercise, weight should be added to that exercise for the next training session. (Baechle, T. and Earle, R.; Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)
It’s worthwhile to note that post-exercise muscle soreness is related to training variety more than intensity or volume. For this reason, strength and conditioning professionals should be careful about adding excessive, novel training movements during the athlete’s in-season phase.
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