Five Variables to Consider When Developing a Training Program
When setting up a training program for any sport, consider the following five factors:
Choice of Exercise: Select exercises that will help you achieve your training goals, whether you want to develop speed, strength, power or a combination. Your training facility and its equipment will of necessity influence your choices. Do you like bands or free weights? Will you use bodyweight movements?
Once you know what you want to do and what is feasible, perform the exercises that best fit your needs and your sport.
Order of Exercises: The right order is as important as the right exercises. It's best to start with dynamic movements, then move on to explosive exercises and those that require technique. Work your way through speed and agility training, then move on to strength exercises. Finish up with stretching.
Load or Intensity: The amount of weight you lift and the rest periods you employ determine the benefits of your workout. If you want to build strength, lift heavy with low reps. To work power, you need explosive, quick movements. Want to gain speed-strength or strength endurance? The intensity or percent of what you lift will affect your training outcomes.
Volume of Exercise: Volume is different from intensity, but it's a factor in measuring the intensity of a workout. Think of volume as the sum of all the exercises, sets, reps and rest periods that make up a training session. Changes in volume [and intensity] influence the length of your recovery period as well as your next training session. The higher the volume and intensity, the more time you need between workouts. During the season, many elite athletes do intense workouts, but they reduce their volume—lowering the number of exercises, sets and reps.
Inter-Set Rest Intervals: How many seconds or minutes did you rest between sets? Let's say you perform the Bench Press for three sets of 10 reps at 70 percent of your max with a two-minute break between sets. Now do the same drill resting only 15 seconds between sets. The intensity and volume stay the same, but your muscles work a lot harder. By adjusting your rest intervals, you can change the outcome of a training session—and compress your 90-minute workout down to an hour.
Adjustments in these five factors can have a huge impact on your training—and your workout results.