The Holiday season is a fun time around our facility as many of our college athletes return home. Most of them will come in 3-4 days a week over the break to stay in shape for the grind that will ensue as they return back to campus for their Spring training program. Over the years, our college females have expressed concern over the strength program that are required to participate in during the off-season. Their primary concerns usually pertain to body image issues such as “my legs get big” ,”my jeans don’t fit right” , or the clincher “we do a bunch of football stuff.” In talking with several of our females (some all-conference soccer or softball players) about this trend, it was virtually unanimous – most if not ALL had encountered the same problem at some point in their college careers. So I began to think……why does this happen? Then it hit me – all of these programs are based on conventional strength & conditioning…and deep rooted in PERIODIZATION!
Before you begin throwing Bompa & Verkoshankyisms at me, please hear me out. When and where did the “periodization model” originate? Eastern Europe and Russia during the 1960s. What else was prevalent in Eastern Europe and Russia during that time? Performance enhancing supplements (and we’re not talking about Vitamin-C and protein powder) Even the females who strength trained in these parts of the world at this time took drugs. So basically, the periodization model (as we know it today) was tested on men and supermen. In turn, all modern female team S&C programs that follow this model expose it to a population for whom it was never intended. Furthermore, the “one size fits all” approach hinges on the belief that men and women should be trained exactly the same way.
WHY? The answer lies in a question – What is our primary goal as a S&C coach/professional? Make them a better athlete…and thereby a better player! Athletes can be improved in several manners:
Out of these four, the physiological is the only one that would be improved through a traditional hypertrophic phase during the introduction of a periodization program. The other three (neurological, psychological, and psych-social) are neglected at best during this time of the training cycle in women’s sports.
At AthleteFIT, we believe in maximizing the abilities of ALL athletes thereby providing them with a positive physical, mental, and social experience through fitness & sports.