Stronger Athletes

Projected Max, Cylcles, Periodization? Keep it Simple

June 3 "Heroes are made in the hour of defeat." - Mohandas Gandhi

For the summer, we have decided to reduce our frequency and post once or maybe twice a week. We will be very busy training our athletes and taking vacations. We will pick up the frequency again in the fall. We will continue responding to your e-mails regularly so please do not hesitate to send us your thoughts or comments about training. has seen many programs that have charts that the athletes have to look at to determine what weight load they must use next. Other charts have projected 1 rep max on lifts and training cycles or periodization in which the athletes change their training every 4 weeks or so. Many of these types of programs confuse the athletes and hinder their progress. We want a program that the athlete can use with complete understanding and gain strength.

A reason we do not like some set/rep programs is that if a workout calls for 5x5 then the athlete will stop at 5 and never reach muscular failure which limits their strength gains considerably. Periodization that occurs monthly is not a necessarily part of a good strength training program. We feel that the athlete should simply attempt and make it a goal to increase the reps and/or weight every workout on every exercise.

Some say that this type of training can lead to overtraining or aching joints if done year round. This is true due to the intensity of each and every set. So. to alleviate this problem, athletes should take layoffs 1-4 times per year.

Some coaches worry that the athlete will lose strength after 96 hours which is not true if the athlete understands and uses high levels of intensity. Others may may feel that if you use periodization then you can avoid these layoffs and make better gains. That is true too, however, believes that these layoffs are beneficial for athletes for many reasons. First, it rests the body physically and brings back an athletes motivation when returning to training because they are rested mentally. Secondly, a high school athlete just needs time away from strength training.

Another thing that coaches need to be aware of is what level each of their athletes are in training and adjust their frequency accordingly. Some athletes just need more time in-between workouts than others.

Also, coaches should use variety sparingly. We want to track progression of strength which can only be done with consistent movements. John Thomas, Penn State, uses variety in such a manner that he never substitutes his standard lifts and uses those to track progression. Remember, just because an exercise exists that doesn’t mean you have to do it. Just use some basic compound movements with maybe a single joint exercise or two and stick with it. That being said, if a coach chooses to add variety to their program then make sure that you keep a core of exercise that will always stay consistent in your program so your athletes can track progression. The other exercise can change after the core exercise have been completed.

Keep your training simple and don’t get caught up in % training, fancy periodization techniques, and excessive variety, and 1 rep max training. Keep it simple and your athletes will succeed.

Now we are not saying that our way is the best method and understand that teams have used periodization techniques and percent training etc... with success. It is important to understand the science behind training for the coach but the for the athlete, just keep it simple.

Coaching Resources

At the 2002 Strength & Science Seminar introduced our new resources for strength coaches and athletes. We now offer a video supplement to our Coach's Manual that explaines in detail some of the finer points of the Training Program.

I just got through reading my copy of Stronger Athlete's Coach's Manual. I recommend this manual to any Coach needing help in setting up a Strength Training Format for their team. It's easy to read and the advice works for a Free Weight Program as well as Better known Strength Training Machines such as Pendulum Fitness, Nautilus, MedX, and Hammer. Good solid information without boring you with unnecessary pseudo science. They have a video companion and although I haven't seen it, I would bet it's the same good quality. -Jim Bryan, Strength & Conditioning Coach

Also offered, is the Opposing Viewpoints: Traditional vs Non-Olympic Training video. For more information on these products please See Our New Products.

***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***

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