Elite Football Combine Prep – Strength Periodization Continued

After week 4 of draft prep training, most athletes will be due for a downloaded lift in the weightroom.  With this basic download lift week, the focus is to bring the volume down for upper and lower body days.  Depending on the athlete, downloading the lower body and uploading the upper body may be appropriate.  During this time of the year athletes will be invited to play in collegiate bowl games.  If an athlete attends this week-long game he will not lift for that week and therefore, that counts as his download week.  The low volume and/or no lift, allows the body to actively recover from the previous weeks of conjugate dynamic.  Upon completion of this week, the athlete will be ready to increase the strength plateau by advancing into the next strength/power and power/strength phases.


The strength/power phase focuses on a big increase in intensity with emphasis on strength slightly more than power development.  The first upper body day 1, with “clusters,” increases pressing strength dramatically.   Pulling and elbow extensor volume is increase for more upper body strength, power, and endurance.  The lower body days are designed to potentiate power output.  Many resisted jumps paired with free jumps are effective in this phase.  This jumping power will also transfer to the sprint training, which is preparing the athletes to peak in a few weeks.


The following power/strength phase focuses more on power output than strength gains.  The previous weeks have prepared the muscles for massive gains in hypertrophy and strength, leading the athlete to peak performance for maximum power.  Upper body days emphasize pushing power and realizing new plateaus for the 225lb bench press rep test. The lower body resisted jumps and clean pulls are light to focus on potentiating power through faster movements.  Then, realizing the new plateaus for the broad and vertical jumps.


The final strength phase is the max/taper phase, which focuses on upper max strength through heavy weight with a power component by adding chains.  Most of the pushing is fast and pulls are reflexive.  The inverted row holds are designed to isometrically strengthen the muscles that are contracted at the bottom of the bench.   This isometric strength will produce a more powerful stretch reflex on a 225lb bench press rep test.  The 225lb bench holds are designed to isometrically strengthen the muscles involved in keeping the bench press body position base and elbow extensors that are keeping the arms straight.  This strength will allow the athlete to have a temporary regrouping moment to make sure the body is properly positioned to perform single repetitions under fatigue during the end of an actual 225lb bench press test.


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