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How To Answer Program Design Questions

The recipe for a program design question usually involves an athlete, the season they’re in, and concludes by asking which training session is most appropriate. Each answer choice typically includes about five exercises, with their assigned intensities and volumes.



When it comes to answering these types of questions, I’ve found it most effective to focus on the athlete’s season over their sport. This is where it is vital to know Table 21.2 in the Essentials of Strength & Conditioning textbook, 4th ed. The information from this table will provide you all the necessary tools to answer these questions. But let’s go ahead work through our framework for each sport season:


  1. Off-season: should not have any power-based exercises (Olympic lifts/plyo’s). Primarily include traditional multi-joint and some single-joint exercises. Volume is moderate to high, with intensity moderate to low.

  2. Preseason: should have 1-2 power-based exercises (Olympic lifts/plyo’s), along with 1-2 strength/multi-joint exercises. Intensity will be high, with volume moderate to low.

  3. In-season: maintenance vs peaking

    1. Maintenance: should have 1-2 power-based exercises (Olympic lifts/plyo’s), along with 1-2 strength/multi-joint exercises. Intensity will be high, with volume moderate to low.

    2. Peaking: if a question ever mentions peaking, the first 1-2 exercises should be power-based, with an intensity between 90-93%, 1-3 sets, 1-3 reps


4. Postseason: no traditional weight lifting. This is typically presented as a series of body weight exercises, finished with cardio.


Still unsure on how to answer these types of questions? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


With gumption,

Dan

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