Strength & Conditioning Part 1: Organization

I will break this Strength and Conditioning down into smaller parts.  This first part will be solely about the organization of a Strength and Conditioning program.  No lifts or technique, merely how to plan the calendar for the entire year of lifting.
  • Linear
  • Conjugate
Linear is pretty simple, you pretty much linearly progress through your program, gradually increasing the weight and intensity by reducing the repetitions.
Conjugate periodization is adjusting your workout cycles but in a non linear way.  Each has its merits but I feel linear periodization is easier to manipulate as a coach and the kids buy into it because your going bigger and harder at the most important times.
I learned much of what I know about S&C from 2 teachers of mine who were the former S&C coaches for the US Olympic Hockey Team… I go back to them each off season for more knowledge and they still prefer Linear because of its simplicity.
I break up the entire year into 3 phases or seasons.
  • Off Season: January to June (When we go to a week long camp 1st week of Summer)
  • Pre Season: June (when we return from camp) to very end of August (when school starts)
  • In Season: First day of School (very end of August for us) through the end of our season
So when we begin in January we will start off with our strength lifts, doing a higher number of reps, usually 10-12 on most lifts, and a high volume on each lift.  As we progress through the winter and into spring we begin reducing the volume, increasing the weight used and therefore increasing strength.  I usually break up the off season into 4-6 week cycles.  I adjust how long we remain in each cycle depending on how well I feel the kids are doing and if they are starting to get stale.
We go heaviest the cycle right before we go to our beginning of summer camp, we are trying to peak out here for camp.
We might have a week off after camp for rest and then we hit it hard for our Pre Season phase.
Because the Pre Season phase is much shorter in length than the off season we use micro cycles, usually only 2-3 weeks per cycle instead of 4-6.
In season are very short, intense workouts.  We were very blessed this year to get an athletic period the final period of the day; we had about 75% of the JV and Varsity teams in it.  We didn’t utilize it very well this year but I will be sure to improve our efficiency with it next year.  For in season I want just a handful of lifts to be done at very high intensity.  My in season philosophy is get in and get out.  I want the relative volume to be low because we are doing so much out at football each day their bodies take enough of a pounding. 
My basic formula for an In season lifting day is 1 Push, 1 Pull, 1 Lower body movement. Occasionally I will add on a little more auxiliary stuff than that but that is the core of what we do in season.  Work multi joint movements to hit the bigger muscles, hit them heavy, hard, and quick.
The benefit of the athletic period is we get extra time with the kids, but the drawback is that I have 50 kids in a tiny weight room, so if I asked them to do 8 exercises in the 40 minutes I have them for this 7th period class… we wouldn’t get it done.
Part 2 is coming very shortly, in which I will discuss the actual lifts that make up the core of my program, why I choose these lifts, and how I plan out each workout.


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