Jul 26, 2018Armed & Ready, Part 3
Part 1 of this article can be found here.
Part 2 of this article can be found here.
In past weeks, we’ve introduced the Texas Tech University baseball team’s off-season training program and detailed Block One. This week, we’ll take a look at Block Two.
This second phase lasts seven weeks from October to mid-November. During this block, we endorse the triphasic training philosophy that Cal Dietz, MEd, CSCS, Head Olympic Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Minnesota, and Ben Peterson, PhD, CSCS, Director of Sports Science for the Philadelphia Flyers, authored in the book Triphasic Training: A Systematic Approach to Elite Speed and Explosive Strength Performance.
Triphasic training allows us to slow lifts down tempo-wise and give instant coaching feedback on exercise techniques. Many of our athletes play summer ball and don’t lift much during that time, so we must develop base strength first in Block 1 before we incorporate tempo in triphasic training.
We use triphasic principles on only one core lift per day in Block 2. Two weeks each are spent focusing on the eccentric, isometric, and concentric phases of the movement. The intensities and percentages used are based on week five theoretical 3RM from Block 1. At this point, it is very important to have training maxes in place because Blocks 2, 3, and 4 are all written off of assigned training max percentages.
The compound exercises not following the triphasic pattern in Block 2 undulate between repetitions of eight and repetitions of three to five. This repeats every two weeks when a new triphasic muscle contraction is started. The Olympic lifts follow simple linear progression during Block 2, and the secondary exercises use high reps.
All of our conditioning in Block 2 is speed- and power-based. We aim to target the adenosine triphosphate-phosphocreatine energy system with high-quality sprints lasting 10 seconds or less and allowing full recovery after each rep. Acceleration, drive phase, and top-end speed mechanics with high intensity/low volume are worked on Mondays. Reaction, change of direction, and short shuttles are done on Wednesdays, and resisted sprinting with sleds, a ramp, stairs, or hills finishes our week on Fridays. We continue to follow this conditioning structure, adjusting intensities and volumes around fall practices and scrimmages as needed, through Block 3 until Block 4 begins.
Here’s a week-by-week breakdown of our programming in Block 2:
Week 6: Eccentric, 60 to 70 percent load at five-second descent, up fast. 4×3 on major core lift, 3×8 on compound lifts, 3×5 on Olympic lifts.
Week 7: Eccentric, 70 to 80 percent load at five-second descent, up fast. 5×2 on major core lift, 4×5 on compound lifts, 3×5 on Olympic lifts.
Week 8: Isometric, 60 to 70 percent load with three-second hold at bottom of movement, up fast. 4×3 on major core lift, 3×8 on compound lifts, 4×3 on Olympic lifts.
Week 9: Isometric, 70 to 80 percent load with three-second hold at bottom of movement, up fast. 5×2 on major core lift, 4×4 on compound lifts, 4×3 on Olympic lifts.
Week 10: Concentric, 60 to 70 percent load, as fast as possible down and up. 4×3 on major core lift, 3×8 on compound lifts, 5×2 on Olympic lifts.
Week 11: Concentric, 70 to 80 percent load, as fast as possible down and up. 5×2 on major core lift, 5×3 on compound lifts, 5×2 on Olympic lifts.
Before we start Block 3, we deload for about a week (Week 12). This allows us to back off the intensity and overall volume of training to give players’ bodies a much-needed break. I plan this deload to coincide with our Fall World Series, where two captains draft teams and play against each other in a best-of-seven series.