We use cookies so we can provide you with the best online experience. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue. Accept and close

Shopping Basket 0
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.



Implementation of a strength training regimen

Tudor O. Bompa and G. Gregory Haff

1. Determine the Training Goal: The most important step in establishing a periodized strength training regimen is to determine the goal of the training program. In this step, the coach and athlete determine the points during the competitive season at which the athlete needs to give her best performance.

2. Determine the Phases of Training: Like any other periodized training plan, a strength training program has preparatory, competitive, and transition phases of training. Each phase is essential to maximize training outcomes. This concept can be considered phase potentiation (86, 151), which suggests that activities of the general preparatory phase facilitate the athlete’s development in the specific preparatory phase (86) and the competition phase. Thus, the coach must structure the phases of training so the athlete develops the appropriate biomotor abilities.

3. Determine the Athlete’s Needs: The coach needs to perform a needs analysis in which she determines the types of strength needed by the sport, the types of movement patterns, prime movers associated with the sport, bioenergetic demands of the sport, and any deficit or area of concern (50). The coach must understand the physiological demands of the sporting activity to establish a reference point from which to design the strength training plan.

4. Consider the Characteristics of All Components of the Training Plan: A resistance training plan must not be implemented randomly. For the resistance training plan to be effective, all training factors must be integrated (187). Therefore, in team sports, for example, the coach must consider the strength training regimen, the conditioning program, the agility component, and the tactical training activities as an overall unit of training. If these factors are not considered as a whole, the potential for overtraining is substantially increased and the optimization of performance is left up to chance.

5. Select the Exercises to Be Used in the Training Plan: The training exercises selected must be related to the requirements of the sport. When examining a sport during the needs analysis, the coach can determine the muscles that act as prime movers and match exercises to these activities. For example, watching a 100 m sprinter shows that lower-body strength is essential for optimal performance outcomes. Thus, the coach may select exercises such as back squats and power cleans in an attempt to target the prime movers of this activity. Support for this idea can be seen in several studies suggesting that maximal strength capacity in the back squat and power clean is significantly related to running performance (18, 26, 37).


An additional consideration when selecting exercises is the phase of training. Certain exercises are best used at specific times during the periodized plan (86, 151, 187). For example, early in the general preparation phase of training it may be warranted to use fewer technical lifts because fatigue may impair technical performance, which can increase the injury risk and decrease performance gains. As the athlete moves toward the specific preparation and competitive phase of training, more technical lifts can be used because the reduction in training volume will reduce accumulative fatigue. Another way to look at this is that exercises that target conditioning are central to the goals of the general preparation phase, whereas exercises that target strength and power development are appropriate during the specific preparation and competition phases.

6. Test Performance: After selecting the exercises that are needed to develop the performance attributes needed by the athlete, the coach must test the athlete’s maximal strength. Knowledge of the athlete’s 1RM capabilities in at least the primary or dominant exercises will allow the coach to establish the training loads. The 1RM will continually change as the athlete adapts to the physiological stressors of the training regime. Therefore, the athlete must be tested periodically to individualize the loading parameters.

Many coaches wrongly believe that performing a 1RM test is dangerous and will increase the athlete’s risk of injury (28, 122, 127, 155). In fact, 1RM testing is very safe for most populations (159, 170) and is considered the gold standard in the assessment of muscular strength (101). Some authors suggest that testing strength with multiple repetition tests is a better way to establish the training intensity (27, 28, 47, 127), but it has been consistently shown that many of the prediction equations misrepresent the 1RM (127). This is a major problem because using an estimate of 1RM capabilities that is too high may increase injury risk during training or induce high-intensity overtraining from consistently training at high intensities (56). Conversely, training with an intensity that is underpredicted will result in inadequate strength development because the athlete will train using suboptimal loads.

7. Develop the Resistance Training Program: After establishing the athlete’s physical performance capabilities, the coach can establish the number of exercises, sets, repetitions, and loading (percentage of 1RM) that will be used during the microcycles and macrocycle. Throughout the training plan the coach probably will need to alter volume, intensity, and the exercises selected to allow for continued physiological adaptations that will lead to increases in muscular strength. As muscular strength increases across the macrocycle, the coach will need to periodically retest the 1RM to optimize the training load. It is essential for the coach to test the 1RM before each new macrocycle.


This is an excerpt from Periodization, Fifth Edition.




8. Record the Training Plan: The coach must record the exercises, number of sets, number of repetitions, and training load (table 10.14). The load, number of repetitions, and sets usually are noted as follows:

% of 1RM / number of repetitions

Noting the load as a percentage of 1RM is useful when working with many athletes, because this allows the coach to calculate the load for every athlete. By using a percentage notation, the coach can individualize the program for each athlete and athletes will use their own 1RM to establish their training loads.

9. Create a Training Log: One of the most important steps is to record what was done in the training sessions. If the coach and athlete keep detailed records, they will be able to evaluate the athlete’s progress and chart her performance. Things to record in the training log include the exercise, the number of repetitions completed, the number of sets performed, the load lifted in kilograms, and the duration of the training session (figure 10.9). This record will allow the coach to calculate the volume load, metric tons, and training intensity (volume load divided by total repetitions performed). By using a spreadsheet software program such as Excel, the coach can easily calculate the volume load, metric tons, and training intensity and create figures depicting the volume and intensity of training. If the training log is accurate and inclusive, it provides an excellent tool for monitoring training (187).


This is an excerpt from Periodization, Fifth Edition.


Facebook Reddit LinkedIn Twitter

Get the latest news, special offers, and updates on authors and products. SIGN UP NOW!

Human Kinetics Rewards

About Our Products

Book Excerpts


News and Articles

About Us

Career Opportunities


Business to Business

Author Center

HK Today Newsletter


Exam/Desk Copies

Language rights translation

Association Management

Associate Program

Rights and Permissions





Certifying Organizations

Continuing Education Policies

Connect with Us

YouTube Tumblr Pinterest

Terms & Conditions


Privacy Policy


Safe Harbor