March 10, 2011 • Strength & Conditioning

Scripting Strategies For Progressive Overload

In last month’s Powerline, I wrote that one of the most blatant errors made in many strength-and-conditioning programs — especially those designed for adolescents — is an unrealistic progression rate. Now, here are some suggestions and troubleshooting directives for incorporating workable and appropriate progression models.

Progressive overload is one of the key constituents in successful strength training. Make no mistake; without it, your athletes will invariably hit one of those dreaded “training plateaus.” However, there is a fine line between overload and overtraining, and it is important not to cross it.

Understanding & Dealing With Physical Stress

As coaches, we can become so enthralled with evaluating our player’s work habits that it is easy to forget the importance of rest and recovery in overall growth and development. Our college football athletes will soon be headed out on a much needed, nine-day Spring Break. After seven weeks of intensive lifting, and five weeks of in our 4th Quarter Winter Conditioning Program, they are more than due for a little rest and relaxation.

When they return, they are thrown right back into the fire with a few more lifting and running sessions prior to the start of spring football practice in late March and continuing through most of April. This period encompasses a total of 15 non-consecutive practice days, interspersed with two to three non-consecutive lifting days per week.

As May approaches, built-in NCAA discretionary weeks dictate another respite prior to the start of our Bottom-Line Summer-Conditioning Program, which begins in June. Our normal procedure here is to train for four consecutive weeks, followed by a 10-day break, then return for three more consecutive weeks of training. Another eight- to 10-day break is then provided prior to the start of summer football camp. These training reprieves are inserted for the very definitive purposes of rest, recovery and growth.

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