Apr 5, 2018
Five Phases

Whether a first-year coach or a veteran, the strength and conditioning program that you put together will look a little bit different year after year as your teams and athletes change. But that doesn’t mean you have to start completely from scratch every time. In a blog for BridgeAthletic, Performance Specialist Juan Pablo Reggiardo, NSCA-CSCS, NASM-PES & CES, describes five key phases for coaches to follow when creating their program.

Before beginning the phases, however, Reggiardo explains that a coach must take a look at a few specific factors. These factors include the number of athletes you will be training at one time, their training age and experience, the available space/equipment for each session, injuries that the athletes might have, and the practice and competition schedule for the season.

Once you have taken these elements into consideration, Reggiardo warns against starting off too complicated. Coaches have a lot that they want to teach to and build within their athletes, but they only have a short amount of time to do it. However, Reggiardo recommends choosing a few movements that are the most common or necessary for your athletes to master and working on them until your team is comfortable.

“The less exercises you start with, the more time you have to teach the proper technique,” writes Reggiardo, who has trained athletes from the middle school level to Olympic hopefuls. “Do not rush this! Remember that, depending on your situation, you will hopefully be training these athletes for a few years. If you teach it right the first time, then you won’t have to teach it again later on.”

The next step is putting together your strength and conditioning plan. While every plan is going to look a little different, Reggiardo’s five phases can be used as a starting point. The first phase is the Hypertrophy/General Preparation phase and occurs during the off-season. The goal of this phase, according to Reggiardo, is to teach the movements that you deemed to be important for your lifting program such as the squat, front squat, deadlift, and bench press. This is also the time to evaluate injuries and allow athletes to recover from the previous season.

“Work in this phase is very general in nature and geared towards reconditioning the body, increasing lean body mass, and increasing short-term endurance,” writes Reggiardo. “Reps in this phase are generally higher, in the 8-15 range, for 2-4 sets, with the weight being lighter…this first phase can last as little as 2 weeks or as long as six week. As a generally rule, most phases will last 3-4 weeks.”

The second phase is called the Basic Strength phase. Athletes should be engaging in about 3-5 sets of 5 reps. Reggiardo explains that this phase is used for building up the strength of your athletes so they are ready for future power/high intensity exercises. Phase three is called the Strength-Power phase.

“In this phase, the athlete trains using 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps in the main lifts of their program,” writes Reggiardo. “In this phase, generally due to the increased strength the athlete has experienced but also the decreased fatigue because of the lower volume, the athlete can display greater power.”

Phase four is called the Peaking phase, and it occurs during the final weeks before a major competition. During this phase, athletes should be working at a high intensity, and should be engaging in 1-3 sets of 1-3 reps. However, Reggiardo also explains the importance of not wearing down the athletes during this phase. The final phase takes place after the season has ended, and should include 1-2 weeks of rest.

“After an initial week of complete rest, the athlete can begin some very light training with very low volume of work and very low intensities,” writes Reggiardo. “The goal here is to complete recovery from the season.”

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