So you’ve put in a lot of time and preparation getting ready for that big competition. The competition has come and gone and hopefully you accomplished what you were shooting for. What next, well after all that work hopefully you gave yourself a few days to a week to relax and unwind before hitting the gym again. After that, this is where today’s post come’s in. Today’s topic: volume, boring I know but some things need to be said.
1. Building A Solid Foundation
The beginning of a training phase can also be known as General Physical Preparedness, or GPP. In the GPP phase, athletes work on general conditioning to improve strength, speed, endurance, flexibility, structure and skill. GPP is generally performed in the off-season, with a lower level of GPP-maintenance during the season, when you are trying to build and develop the specific skills required for the competition you are training for. GPP helps prevent imbalances and boredom with both specific and non-specific exercises by conditioning the body to work. In order for your body to be able to function at it’s highest level your entire body needs to be balanced and every muscle up to snuff. Let’s use the biceps as an example. A strongman competitor doesn’t need to have a well sculpted bicep like a bodybuilder. but he muscle needs to be strong and able to withstand the rigors of training. Otherwise it can be strained, pulled, or even tore and hinder your training. Bottom line, you need to balance the body out and take this time to work on your weaknesses.
At the start of any training cycle, doesn’t matter if it’s football, weightlifting, soccer, etc., there is always going to be a high volume phase to kick things off. The main and biggest reason for this is to build yourself the biggest base possible. If you do not take the time to build yourself a solid base your training will be worthless and you will not accomplish your goals, that is a fact. Check with any strength coach or programmer with a legit backing ( not some weekend class that says you can program ) and they will say the same thing.
2. Get Your Swole On
This training phase is also where most of your size and strength are developed. This phase usually contains multiple sets of high reps, complex movements, back off sets, and more conditioning work than usual. For me, my training will include lots of sets of 5, 3 and 2, barbell complexes. and extra accessory and mobility work at the end of training. Each sport is slightly different the goal of this phase is the same.
3. Be Realistic With Yourself
But trying to find a balance to all of this is key. It takes a great coach to know when to push things and when to tell there athletes to stop being dupas. As the athlete you also need to know what is working well for you and what makes you feel like absolute dog crap. If you are consistently missing lifts from day to day do you really think it is smart to get in a few extra sets of curls or rows after training? Here’s a clue…NO! Keep in mind I’m not talking about one session of misses, let’s be serious here, it’s going to happen. If you don’t think so and it will be all sunshine and rainbows every time you step foot in the gym, then I believe you took the class I mentioned earlier.
4. Nutrition Is Key
This also brings me to my next point: adequate fuel. During this phase YOU NEED TO EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. Your body needs all the nutrients it can get in order to repair your muscles and allow for growth and development throughout this training phase. During this there is no need to be picky on what you eat. Obviously protien needs to still be king and an adequate amount of fruit and vegetables are still needed. But during this time my carbs will significantly increase and I may stray a bit from my normal diet. You are not competing for a while so a little junk and extra food won’t hurt. Keep an eye on your weight as to not bulk out of your weight class (if you have one), but an increase in volume means a needed increase in food consumption so stock that pantry up.
5. Recovery/Mobility Needs To Be Happen…Often
You also need to get on your recovery during this time. Whatever your drug of choice is, do it and do it often. Even on those few (random and weird all at the same time) days during this phase where you are feeling good you should do something for recovery. You need to stay ahead of any nicks and bumps and that can develop into something more and derail your training. If you are injured and unable to train there is no base building going on.
So In The End
In order to create a masterpiece you need all the parts to work right and function together. Building your foundation is the biggest part of that finished work so train smart, know your limits and listen to the body, eat like it’s your last meal, and stay on top of your recovery. You cannot build up without a solid foundation, so get to it.