In today’s article I’ve highlighted a few weekly training templates and a couple of ideas behind their structure. Whilst training is a dynamic process that can be forever modified hopefully this article gives you a bit of in-sight into how to structure an effective training week for your given situation. I am not going into detail about specific exercises or volume or anything specific like that, just simple weekly structures, and obviously there could be a whole heap more!
Most of you guys would have heard this from me before. High frequency full body movements! The higher frequency of big, basic, fundamental exercises such as Squats, Deadlifts, Presses and Rows will allow for a quicker rate of learning, leading to improved motor control and movement efficiency. Key elements of strength.
Again a high frequency of big basics with added conditioning on the alternate days. Whilst this is effective, each session will have an impact on the next and it’s easy to limit yourself because of what is planned for the next day, or possibly the exact opposite.
For me, this is a very common way to structure things when looking at a general strength/fitness plan for the average gym goer; setting aside time for 3 sessions per week is easily manageable for people willing to stick to a plan. Whilst each session will be more fatiguing than #1, the day off in between should allow for adequate recovery and motivation for the next session whilst also allowing you to rip in and earn that rest day.
This is the bread and butter powerlifting or strength focused split. Basically you are splitting up the training week to have the maximum time between sessions of similar body parts. This way you can handle higher intensities each session whilst minimising the fatiguing effects of previous sessions. So, with a lower body session on a Monday and Thursday there are 2 days off then 3 days off before the next training week begins. Upper body works similarly just flipped, 3 days off between Tuesday and Saturday then 2 days of between Saturday and the Tuesday of week 2. This 4 day split of 2 lower and 2 upper body sessions is typical of a lot of well know programs such as Jim Wendler’s 531, Joe Defranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards, Brandon Lilly’s Cube method, and Westside Barbells entire structure.
In many sports, the off-season is typically used to improve desired qualities for a given sport or to simply improve general preparation. In many cases strength is the main focus. This weekly structure attempts to limit the effect that conditioning could potentially have on lower body lifting sessions by placing conditioning 2 and 3 days prior to lower body sessions. There could be a case for doing conditioning on the same day as lower body weights session, after the weights session, that could potentially however limit the quality of that conditioning session. At times, there could also be a case for not doing conditioning at all during the Off-season.
The above structure of two team training sessions and competition on a Saturday is common amongst a lot of sports, especially at amateur level. Obviously, the week can be easily restructured when competition falls on a different day. In many instances, the athletes conditioning training will come from team training and game day so I have not factored that into this training week. So, in order to maximise strength throughout the season without creating fatigue for game day I would suggest two whole body lifting sessions; one focused on maximal strength completed at the start of the week to limit fatigue for the upcoming game, the second session focused on explosive strength and power output.
In this weekly plan, I’ve simply split up the whole-body weights sessions into upper and lower, this might be more indicative of semi-pro or professional level sport where athletes have more time allocated to training. Note that at the professional level there would typically be added skills and strategic sessions, these are not included here due to the high variability between sports and level of athlete.