As we move into the preseason training block there are certain changes that need to be made in order to prepare for the grind of the season.
From a strength standpoint, most of the same exercises remain, but HOW (and WHY to some degree) we implement them will be different.
Today I want to focus on 3 different variables and explain how and why to implement them –
1. Contrasting Plyometrics with heavy compound movements to build POWER
2. Using bands to improve upper and lower body SPEED
3. Functional/strongman exercises to build work capacity – and more specifically grip endurance
So let’s talk about contrasting Plyos. The first thing to understand is that we are using Plyometrics to develop explosive power – which means the volume should be low, rest between rounds/sets should be relatively high and they should never be done to fatigue. Doing high rep sets of box jumps turns the exercise into a conditioning modality – not bad if that’s what your goal for the session is – but will do very little to improve speed or power. Think of it as slow jogging vs sprinting.
Now that you understand that, why are we pairing plyometrics with heavy compound movements? Think of the compound movement as “priming the pump” and recruiting all of the motor units online to be ready to fire. Run with a parachute on your back or a partner holding a band for resistance and then take it off and you will run faster. Pull a heavy barbell off the floor then you should be able to broad jump further.But it’s crucial to make sure the compound movement and Plyos use similar firing patterns or at the very least the same prime movers.
Some of the Power Contrasts we will use this preseason (and that I will break down in video form later):
- Deadlifts (concentric only) paired with Broad Jumps
- Goblet Squat paired with weighted Box Jump
- DB Lunges with light Sled Sprints
- Close Grip Bench paired with Med Ball Pass
- Weighted Chins paired with prone Med Ball Pullover throw
Alright, let’s move on to band work for speed. In the off season we primarily add bands to compound lifts to focus on Strength-Speed and train the athlete to strain through the accommodating resistance. Now that we are in the preseason we want to focus on Speed-Strength, so it’s crucial to use a light enough weight (40-50% 1RM) to move as fast as possible thru the range of motion (powerlifters refer to this as dynamic or speed work).
Check this video to see how to use bands for Chin Ups, Rows and Split Squats
During the off season we use strongman movements to build STRENGTH. Pre/in-season there is still a strength element to this type of training but the key difference is we won’t go quite as heavy (less focus on absolute strength) and do more of these exercises for time. For example, In august I may have a 160lb athlete use very heavy (100-120lb DBs) for farmers carries for a short distance. In the preseason they may use weight equivalent or lighter than their bodyweight (70-80lb DBS) and do farmers carries for a long distance, for time, or for a moderate distance after doing another exercise that taxes their grip like rope climbs. Most of the strongman exercises this preseason will be familiar to you but they will be done with more moderate weight for longer durations, or with a focus on speed.
Next week begins the pre-season training block and I’m pumped to share these workouts with you!
Weekly workouts will include video break down of the X’s and O’s, FormCheck videos to make sure you understand how to do every movement, and tracking sheets.
I will also be scheduling Zoom Q&As for mid-month in September, October, and November to make sure things are going smooth for your team and address any concerns you may have.
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