In part one we discussed the theory of General Adaptation Syndrome and how an athlete’s skill level in relation to their absolute ability determines optimal strength programming parameters. In part two we will discuss the large number of variables that can be adjusted to create an effective strength program. We will briefly discuss specificity, periodization, volume, intensity, frequency, movement selection, order, repetitions, sets, rest periods, indicators of progress, and rate of progression.
The Goal: Before designing or adjusting our strength program we must first determine the goal that we are looking to achieve. A program for an olympic distance triathlete will look very different from a strongman competitor. A program designed for hypertrophy of a strength athlete will look very different then actualizing strength prior to a competition for the same athlete. The goal, the movements, and the parameters must match the needs of the desired outcome. For the focus of this article we will primarily discuss strength athletics.
After establishing the goals, the athlete’s ability in relation to potential must be assessed and identified. As discussed, what is optimal to the novice athlete is not appropriate for the advanced athlete and vice versa. With the goal and relative ability established, the proper periodization can be utilized.
Periodization is the systematic planning of physical training. This is the organization of training into periods of time and the loading strategies across those periods of time:
Periods of time
1. Microcycle – The period of time required for the athlete to adapt to the program.
2. Mesocycle – The period of time spent emphasizing certain physical adaptations; for example strength, hypertrophy, and/or speed.
3. Macrocycle – The broader overall training plan.
1. Linear – Increases of training stress of particular qualities in a simple progressive fashion.
2. Undulation – Patterned changing of the volume and intensity of stress throughout a given micro or macrocycle.
3. Conjugation – Regular changing of the type of stressor with the intent of training different physical characteristics.
4. Other – There are many other types of loading strategies and often the selection is a blend of multiple types.