Managing Volume and Intensity in Off-Season Workouts – Chad Longworth Velo Shop

Managing Volume and Intensity in Off-Season Workouts

A question I get fairly often involves managing the volume and intensity of off-season workouts. At our facility, we’re just getting underway with the off-season training workouts in our semi-private training groups. Our main group consists of a few younger baseball players, one college-bound baseball player, and a former baseball player turned track-and-field athlete. They all have different programming, of course – one of the younger baseball players has had private pitching lessons with me, while the other two have not, the college-bound player has been training with me for years, and the track and field athlete has been training with me for a year but his programming is radically different now for obvious reasons.

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Since none of them have the same training history, age, skill level, or goals, the volume and intensity of their workouts will vary greatly. Everyone begs me for a workout program example (as I noted in What’s a good workout, Kyle?), so I’ll share a workout cycle that we finished with our track and field athlete. This program that I will list was his initial modification from baseball training to field athletics training, and we’ve since changed quite a bit of his exercise selection due to his progression in various lifts (his bench is stalling while his Olympic lifts continue to go up at a rapid pace) – so it’s not current, but it is a decent example of what a reasonably strong high school athlete was doing for 6 weeks.

(all notation is Sets x Reps)

Tuesday – Pressing Strength + Power

  • Bench Press – 3 x 5
  • Overhead Press -3 x 5
  • Power Snatch – 6 x 2
  • Power Clean – 5 x 3

Wednesday – Lower Body Strength

  • Front Squat – 5 x 3
  • Pallof Press – 2 x 5 each side (5 sec hold)
  • Depth Shock Jumps – 5 x 3
  • Single-Leg DB Lunge – 2 x 5 each side

Friday – Mixed Strength + Power

  • Overhead Press – 3 x 5
  • Power Snatch – 6 x 2
  • Power Clean – 5 x 3
  • Deadlift – 2 x 3

Sunday – Lower Body Strength + Mixed Dynamic Effort

  • Back Squat – 3 x 5
  • Speed Deadlift w/ Bands – 8 x 2 on the minute
  • Speed Bench Press – 8 x 3 on the minute, varied grips
  • Depth Rebound Jump – 5 x 3

All Days:

  • Mobility/Flexibility program (bands/foam rolling/stretches)
  • Conditioning: Weight sled push/pull
  • Medicine ball work (overhead slams, rotational throws, etc)
  • Chin-Ups / Pull-Ups sporadically throughout the day in a Grease the Groove fashion

This example program was designed for someone who had an already good back squat and bench press, but little exposure to overhead pressing and Olympic lifting. We’ve since added more assistance exercises for his bench press and added more back squatting variants (dynamic effort speed box squats) in his program while changing many other things as his tolerance for volume has gone up. He went from a predominantly strength-based program to a mixed strength/power program, and people who typically make this change can tolerate more volume due to lesser total eccentric loading overall. (Going from back squatting for max effort three times per week and having two deadlift variants per week to a program with less squatting and more cleaning/snatching will definitely make you feel a lot less beat up!)

As clients progress by adding weight to the bar, adding velocity to their fastballs, and cutting their sprint times, they also increase the ability to tolerate more volume and intensity (both in-season and off-season) in their workout. Knowing when a client can take more work on is important – just as it is important to know when they need a deload or they approach intermediate status in their training stages, increasing the need for more assistance exercise to properly modulate the intensity of their program.

Hope this answers a few questions!

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