Off Season Program

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Ash,
I’m a tight forward and have really got into Olympic lifts, squat options, power work this season after reading your articles, your advice has been a great help. I’ve been performing 2 workouts a week during the season, a full body strength and power. The strength was Olympic, squat, lower back/hamstring, upper body push and upper body pull. The sets and reps were rotated, wk 1 – 4×6, wk 2 – 2×5, 3×3, wk 3 – 6×3. Power was squat, Olympic movement and upper body push at a 3×5, 5×3 alternate weeks.

I really want to push on this off season and was wondering if you had any off season programs, hints or tips? I’ve downloaded Defranco’s WS4SB as a good place to start. The problem I have is the gym has limited equipment, I’m looking to buy a set of bands and hopefully knock together a sled to freshen things up. I’m especially looking to add lower body strength and size. Any help you could give would be great.
Lloyd.

Hey Lloyd, glad to be of help, the DeFranco series is a great place to start he really makes it all so easy to understand and to put into practice, as for a few new ideas, you could possibly go to a 4 day split if you had the time and include less exercises but do more sets on each for example; instead of following a 3 week rotation of straight sets as you have mentioned you could stay with a style of training for 3 weeks and then go onto a variation from there, say the 5-4-3-2-1 method where you use a weight equivalent to 80% and follow the rep scheme resting 15 seconds between each, here are some more for you to look at, also in your power work you can add some contrast work in there as well, we have done a lot of jump training in conjunction with our olympic work and squats, we have had 3 guys now jump from a standing start onto a 125 cms box. All the best, ash Some of these methods are:

Loading Methods and Examples

1. Rest pause style 5 – 4- 3 – 2- 1 extended set. 15 seconds rest between each set start with a weight which is approximately 80% of maximum and stay with the same weight through the set, perform 3 – 5 sets with a 2-3 minute rest between extended sets.

2. Drop set breakdown style. 6 – 12 – 25 extended set. Minimal rest between each set start with a load of approximately 75% and decrease by 10 – 15% each set, perform 2 – 3 sets with a 2-3 minute rest between extended sets.

3. Wave Loading style. Near maximal weights used , perform 3 sets with a 60 – 90 seconds rest between each set in a 3, 2, 1 fashion loading approximately 90%, 95%, 97.5% then after a 2 – 3 minute rest repeat procedure with a 2.5- 5% loading increase, this can be done for 2 – 3 waves.

4. Wave Loading style. Near maximal weights used , perform 3 sets with a 60 – 90 seconds rest between each set in a 5, 3, 1 fashion loading approximately 80%, 90%, 97.5% then after a 2 – 3 minute rest repeat procedure with a 2.5- 5% loading increase, this can be done for 2 – 3 waves.

5. Wave Loading style. Sub maximal weights used , perform 3 sets with a 60 – 90 seconds rest between each set in a 7, 5, 3 fashion loading approximately 70%, 80%, 90% then after a 2 – 3 minute rest repeat procedure with a 2.5- 5% loading increase, this can be done for 2 waves.

6. Contrast loading style. 6/1, 6/1, 6/1. Perform 3 groups each with a 90 second rest between each set, around 80% for 6 reps then above 95% for 1 rep repeating the procedure 3 times and increasing the load by 2.5 – 5% each set.

7. Compound + Plyometric style. Perform a set with a specific loading above 80% then with minimal rest perform a plyometric exercise for the same group of muscles, for example, Band Bench Press for 5 reps then clap chest push ups for 5 reps, then rest 90 seconds before next set.

8. Straight sets loading style. Perform all sets for a given exercise before moving onto the next exercise, for example Box Squat – 6 @ 100kg, then 5 @ 120kg then 4 @ 140kg. This can be done over a 3 week block where the subsequent weeks take the loading down to a heavy double or single, for example;

Week 1 – 6,5,4

Week 2 – 5,4,3

Week 3 – 4,3,2

9. Complex style. Using the beastly complex as an example; 6 exercises performed without putting the bar down between any of the movements for the duration of the complex set, perform 6 reps on each of the 6 movements and perform 6 rotations through with a set rest decreasing over time between each complex.

Beastly Complex 666 example

Power Snatch from floor

Over Head Squat

Push Press Behind Neck

Combo Good Morning

Jump Squats

Romanian Dead Lift

10. Strength drop sets style. 2 – 3 RM loading rest 15 seconds drop weight by 5% perform as many reps as you can keep dropping load and perform 1 rep until 6 total reps are performed.

11. Cluster sets style. Using 85% – 100% sets of 2 – 6 reps using an intra set rest period of 15 seconds perform the required number of reps for each set, can use up to 8 sets, with a 2 minute rest between sets.

12. Rest Pause style. Can be a single, double or triple drop method to achieve the desired number of reps for the zone. Decide which zone you need to work in to achieve the desired results, select from one of the following zones:

Zone 1: 1 – 3 reps

Zone 2: 4 – 6 reps

Zone 3: 6 – 8 reps

Zone 4: 8 – 12 reps

Zone 5: 12 – 15 reps

Perform a set with set load then rest 15 seconds reduce weight by 10% – 25% and perform as many reps as you can to failure repeat process until you complete the required number of reps for the zone you are working in.

13. Super sets style. Two exercises for the same or opposite group of muscles performed with a minimal rest

14. Tri Set style. Where 3 exercises for the same body part are performed with minimal < 15 seconds rest between each exercise, for example 3 way DB Shoulder raise.

15. Specific number of Reps style. Usually performed with body weight exercises, perform the required number of reps on a given exercise in as few as sets of possible or in a set time, for example, 50 chins.

16. Westside Style.

17. Rule of 24 style. A method utilizing a combination of sets and reps equaling 24 total reps, selecting the desired result be it maximal strength, speed strength, size or endurance.

24 x 1

12 x 2

8 x 3

6 x 4

4 x 6

3 x 8

2 x 12

1 x 24

Plateau Load

3 x 10 @ 70%

Step Load

1 x 10 @ 60%, 1 x 10 @ 65%, 1 x 10 @ 70%

Traditional Pyramid

1 x 10 @ 70%, 1 x 8 @ 75%, 1 x 6 @ 80%, 1 x 8 @ 75%, 1 x 10 @ 70%

Reverse Pyramid

1 x 6 @ 80%, 1 x 8 @ 75%, 1 x 10 @ 70%, 1 x 8 @ 75%, 1 x 6 @ 80%

Ascending Half Pyramid – Light to Heavy

1 x 10 @ 70%, 1 x 8 @ 75%, 1 x 6 @ 80%

Descending Half Pyramid – Heavy to Light

1 x 6 @ 80%, 1 x 8 @ 75%, 1 x 10 @ 70%

Ascending Rep Pyramid

1 x 4 @ 70%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 1 x 6 @ 70%, 1 x 7 @ 70%, 1 x 8 @ 70%

Descending Rep Pyramid

1 x 10 @ 70%, 1 x 9 @ 70%, 1 x 8 @ 70%, 1 x 7 @ 70%, 1 x 6 @ 70%

Standard Set Wave

1 x 10 @ 60%, 1 x 10 @ 67.5%, 1 x 10 @ 65%, 1 x 10 @ 72.5%

Ascending Half Pyramid Wave – Light to Heavy

1st Wave: 1 x 10 @ 70%, 1 x 8 @ 75%, 1 x 6 @ 80%

2nd Wave: 1 x 10 @ 72.5%, 1 x 8 @ 77.5%, 1 x 6 @ 82.5%

Descending Half Pyramid Wave – Heavy to Light

1st Wave: 1 x 6 @ 80%, 1 x 8 @ 75%, 1 x 10 @ 70%

2nd Wave: 1 x 6 @ 82.5%, 1 x 8 @ 77.5%, 1 x 10 @ 72.5%

Alternating Light to Heavy

1 x 8 @ 70%, 1 x 6 @ 77.5%, 1 x 8 @ 76%, 1 x 6 @ 82.5% OR 1 x 6 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @ 90%, 1 x 6 @ 82.5%, 1 x 1 @ 97.5%

Alternating Heavy to Light

1 x 6 @ 77.5%, 1 x 8 @ 70%, 1 x 6 @ 82.5%, 1 x 8 @ 75% OR 1x 1 @ 90%, 1 x 6 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @ 97.5%, 1 x 6 @ 82.5%

Cluster Sets
4 –5 x 5 x 1 @ 3RM load with 15 seconds rest in between each rep

Eccentrics
3 x 3 – 5 @ 125+%1RM, 6 – 10 seconds eccentric

Contrast Exercise
Back Squat 2 – 5 reps @ 85+%1RM + Jump Squat 6 – 10 reps @ 45%1RM + Repeat Vertical Jumps with Body weight

Cumulative Set
50 chins in as few sets as possible with 1-minute rest in between each set

Static – Dynamic
Hold at specific position for 3 – 5 seconds then explode concentric

Accentuated Eccentrics
Band training almost a free fall eccentric then perform the concentric as quickly as possible without a bounce

Contrast Loading
Bands, Chains, Weight Releasers

Progressive Segmental
Decreasing range of motion with increasing loading with successive exercises e.g.; Power Snatch, Power Clean, Clean Pull, Clean Grip Dead lift

Check out the Crusaders 2007/2008 Pre Season Training Template
Ashley Jones

Q@A Off season program

Ashley Jones

Ashley Jones specialist in the physical preparation of rugby athletes. He has worked with professional sports teams that include Sydney Kings, Newcastle Knights, Parramatta Eels, Northern Eagles, Crusaders, New Zealand All Blacks, and Australian Wallabies. Irish by Ancestry, Australian by Birth, Japanese by Accident and a Kiwi by Choice.

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