Sample Program

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The following is a sample macrocycle of a 17 year old female volleyball player. This athlete will typically have an off-season from December 1 until August 1, and be in-season from August 1 until December 1. This example will assume very little formal training has been performed prior to this structured workout.

First Preparatory Mesocycle (Off-Season)

Transition Period Dec. 1 - 31

This period is comprised of active rest with no formal structured workouts. Recreational games and fitness activities should be strongly encouraged. This can include swimming, jogging, circuit weight training (low volume and intensity), basketball, racquetball, and informal volleyball.

Preparatory Period: 17 weeks

  • Monday:           Strength training - heavy load
  • Tuesday:          Endurance training
  • Wednesday:    Strength training - moderate load
  • Thursday:         Endurance training
  • Friday:              Strength Training - moderate to light load

    Early Strength Phase (Weeks 1-6)

Strength training is performed three days per week, completing 3 to 5 sets of 8 to 12 reps (3 - 5 x 8 - 12) at 75% to 90% of a 10 rep max (RM). Wednesday's load is 90% of Monday's load and Friday's load is 80% - 90% of Wednesday's load. That is, if the athlete is lifting 100 pounds on Monday, Wednesday's lift will be 90 pounds, and Friday's lift will be between 80 - 90 pounds.  As the weeks progress, the percentage of the 10RM load is gradually increased.

    Unloading Week (Week 7)

Week 7 is an unloading week.  This is included to prepare the body for the shift to the next phase. Both volumes and load are significantly reduced, i.e. 1 - 3 x 2 - 4 @ 85% of 10RM. A 5RM is obtained for each lift.

    Strength Phase (Week 8 - 11)

This period is characterized by a change in volume and load to prevent maladaptation. The volume should be changed to 3 - 5 x 5 - 6 @ 85% (of the new max) on Mondays. Wednesday's and Friday's load should be 95% and 85% of Monday's load, respectively.

    Unloading Week (Week 12)

This week should follow the same parameters as week 7.  A new 2 - 4RM is obtained for each lift.

    Power Phase (Week 13 - 15)

This phase of the mesocycle is designed for power. Heavier loads with less volume are used to accomplish the desired effects. More warm-up lifts may be desirable during this phase. The volume should be adjusted to 2 - 4 x 3 - 5 of a 2RM to 4RM on  Mondays; Wednesday would be the same volume with a load of 75%.

   Unloading Week (Week 16) 

This is the final unloading week in this mesocycle.  This  week is used to determine a new max lift. This new max should have increased 5% to 15% over the previous max. This increase in strength is due initially to increased neuromuscular education and later to the addition of muscle bulk.

Second Preparatory Mesocycle (Off-Season)

The second cycle steps up the intensity in all areas. It is shorter  than the first mesocycle. The athlete should begin sport-specific activities at this time, including sport specific drills and plyometric drills that incorporate more intense jumping and bounding. During this phase the load for multiple joint activities should be altered. For example, Mondays should be a heavy day for cleans, pulls, and push jerks, and a moderate day for squats, while Fridays would be the reverse.  Changing training routines is mandatory to prevent maladaptation.

Preparatory Period (Weeks 1 - 9)

  • Monday:        Strength Training - Heavy Load
  • Tuesday:       Endurance Training, Intervals, Agility Drills
  • Wednesday: Strength Training - Light Load, and VB Drills
  • Thursday:      Endurance Training, Intervals, Agility Drills
  • Friday:           Strength Training - Moderate Load

    Hypertrophy Period (Weeks 1 - 2)

This phase is characterized by heavy loads of 3 - 5 x 8 - 12 @ 70% 1RM on Mondays, 50% 1RM on Wednesday, and 60% 1RM on Friday.  Each week 5% of the 1RM is added to heavy days and 10% to the moderate and light days.

    Strength Phase (weeks 3 - 4)

During this two week span the workout becomes 3 - 5 x 5 - 6@ 85% on heavy days, 80% on moderate days, and 70% on light days. 

    Unloading Week (Week 5)

Performed the same as the first and second unloading week above.\

    Power Phase (Week 6 - 9)

The intensity during these weeks increases again. Lifting is performed at 3 - 5 x 2 - 4 each day. The load also increases to 90% (heavy), 80% (moderate), and 70% (light) of 1RM.

Third Preparatory Mesocycle

The final cycle of the preseason should begin after a two week transition period. This also marks the beginning of the preseason. This cycle has an abrupt drop in volume with a maintenance of the load. Volleyball drills and practices dramatically increase. Endurance and plyometric drills are reduced to two times weekly, and the weight training sessions are modified and reduced to two times weekly. A mew 1RM is obtained.

  • Monday:        Heavy weight work and light volleyball practice
  • Tuesday:       VB practice followed by intense endurance work
  • Wednesday: Volleyball practice
  • Thursday:      VB practice followed by moderate weight work
  • Friday:           Plyometric drills for 15 min. and moderate VB workout. 

    Phase 1 (Week 1)

1 - 3 x 5 - 6 @ 70% 1RM

    Phase 2 (Week 2 - 3) 

1 - 3 x 5 - 6 @ 80% on Monday and 70% on Thursday

    Phase 3 (Week 4 - 6)

  1. 1 - 3 x 2 - 4 @ 90% on Monday and 80% on Thursdays.
  2. 1 - 3 x 4 - 5 @ 95% on Monday and 80% on Thursdays.
  3. 1 - 3 x 1 @ 105% on Monday and 100% on Thursdays.

This should bring the athlete into the season with optimum strength and endurance. This program is only a suggestion and should be modified to reflect the individual abilities of the athletes.

The information  for this  program was adapted from Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, Published by The National Strength and Conditioning Association.



2000 - 2009 David Edell

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Last Update for 10/24/2009 12:09:35 AM