Training Phases 1&2 with S&C Coach Mark Roper

August 14, 2016

In the first article I talked about what testing systems I like to use for pre season training. Hopefully you tried some of these systems and you have now a starting point of where your body is at both in terms of performance and condition.

In this article I will go through the first two phases of weight training that I would recommend for getting the athletes body ready for the forthcoming season.

Phase 1 - Structural Balance Hypertrophy

This phase is all about trying to build as much muscle as possible, drop excess body fat and fix any imbalances that may have developed in the body throughout the season.

Fixing these imbalances is what's called structural balance. This is paramount in the body, as it will decrease the risk of injury to the athlete.

The routine follows almost a bodybuilding style rep range but with the majority of exercise being unilateral.

The unilateral nature of the exercises allows the body to improve structural balance as you are training one side at a time.

This should allow for a greater range of movement through the joint, which should reap greater Hypertrophy and flexibility, also improving any discrepancies from one side to the other.

The relatively high reps and short rest periods will produce high levels of lactate acid, which in turn should improve Growth Hormone levels.

GH productivity in the body is one of the quickest ways to increase lean mass and decrease body fat.

The higher reps also allow the body to reset new movements patterns, as it can adapt to the movement through the repeated stimulus.

On the program description there may be a few areas that aren't clear. For those that aren't aware of tempo prescription I write it as four numbers, for example 4010.

- The 4 would dictate you to lower the weight for four seconds
- The 0 would be a zero second pause at the bottom
- The 1 is one second to lift the weight
- Then 0 second pause at the top.

So with that each repetition should last 5 seconds. If the athlete is doing 10 reps then that should equal a 50 second set. 40-70 seconds is the optimum time under tension (TUT) for building lean muscle mass.

The program outline is described with the A exercises then the B exercises. With this you do the A1 exercise, rest and continue onto A2. You repeat this until the 4 sets are completed, then do the same process for the B exercises.

Realistically the athlete will be doing 2 preseason 'field' sessions on top of these 2 workouts.

You have the option to add in a third workout, which would consist of arms and shoulders.

However the four sessions per week should allow for optimal recovery, for some five sessions may prove too much for the body to recover.

Phase 1 - Accumulation

Lower Body        
A1. Dumbbell Split Squat 8-10 4 4010 60
A2. Lyging One Leg Hamstring Curl (foot neutral) 8-10 4 4010 60
B1. Dumbbell Russian Step Up (step at knee height) 10-12 4 2011 60
B2. 45 Degree Back Extension (Hold plate on Chest) 10-12 4 2011 60
Upper Body        
A1. 60 Degree Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 8-10 4 4010 60
A2. Brace 1 Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow high) 8-10 4 4010 60
B1. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press 10-12 4 3010 60
B2. High Cable 1 Arm pull Down 10-12 4 3010 60

I'd recommend staying on this program for 3-4 weeks.There are a few factors that can determine how long an athlete stays on a program.The more advanced the athlete (in terms of weight training age) the shorter the training cycle normally is.

Often with top-level athletes I get them doing 2 week phases of training. How long the athlete has for preseason will determine this also.For example if they had 12 weeks then 4 phases lasting 3 week each would be optimal.

Or another option would be to do 3 phases lasting 4 weeks each.On completion of this phase the athlete should have higher levels of lean mass, lower body fat and increased levels of conditioning.
The second phase is going to be focusing more on building Functional Hypertrophy.

In the first article I discussed the merits of having high levels of functional Hypertrophy for rugby. This type of muscle mass has a greater crossover from the weights room to the pitch, and the athlete should develop much higher levels of strength in this phase.This program would be classed as the 'Intensification' phase.This basically means it will be a greater load than the first program, which would be the 'Accumulation', or higher volume phase.

The Intensification builds the base structure of the body, Bone density, ligament and tendon strength will be improved.Having this strong base allows you to build the shell of the body. Stronger bone, ligament and tendon health will allow for more Hypertrophy of the muscle to take place.

The 6 Rep Max tests I prescribed in the first article should help you dictate the weights you should use for this. Notice as well as the reps and sets, the tempo and rest has been altered also. This is to generate new stimulus in the body, to allow it go grow and become stronger.

Lower Body        
A. Barbell Dead Lifts 5-7 5 3110 120
B1. Barbell Alternating Lunges    7-9 each leg  4 2010  75 
B2. Eccentric Nordic partner Hamstring Curl 7-9 4 3910 75
Upper Body         
A1. Neutral Grip Chin Ups  5-7  5  3110 90 
A2. 30 degree Barbell Bench Press 5-7 5 3110 90
B1. Low Cable Row to belly button   7-9  4  3011  75
B2. 45 Degree 1 1/4 at the bottom Dumbbell Bench Press 7-9 4 3011 75

The lower reps and longer rest will allow you to lift a greater weight, building strength but still adding lean mass.With this method of training there will be less lactic acid produce bit there will be a greater stress placed on the nervous system.This should allow the body to build more testosterone receptors and for you to grow the all-important Type II fibres which play the role in building strength and speed.If possible at the end of each phase it would be beneficial to have your body fat and weight tested as I discussed in the first article. This will give you an idea of how you are responding to each program.

In the next article I will cover nutritional strategies to improve sporting performance! 

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