Updated: Jan 16
I love the 'Ask Me A Question' feature on Instagram. Like you may imagine, I get a lot of the same Q's that pop up every single day. And whilst Instagram stories are good for engaging, it is difficult to do a question its full justice in such a little space. One of the more common questions is 'how do I structure the training week?'.
How should I structure my off-season week?
How should I structure my pre-season week?
How should I structure my game day week?
Well, let's see if I can shed some light on the topic and set your week up for the win.
First Things First, Why?
Hopefully you understand the importance of planning and programming. It ensures you are heading in the right direction. It ensures you eliminate any noise within your sessions that can interfere with your end goal. It means you get from A to B more efficiently and effectively.
But, what you do during your off-season will be extremely different to your in-season work. Off-season and pre-season means theres no/little interference from game day. On the other hand, during the in-season the week is built around one objective; winning.
Therefore, the way you structure your week, in-season especially, can either leave you feeling fresh and prepared or fatigued and sluggish.
The Off and Pre-Season Weeks
When it comes to setting up your week it isn't as easy as just thinking about your training, it is important to approach this from an holistic point of view.
What is your goal?
How many days a week can you train?
How many weeks do you WANT to train?
What days do you have training for your sport?
Do you have other commitments you need to consider?
Here's the thing. I see a lot of individuals who set up their week to train 6 times with a rest on a Sunday. Firstly, you'll probably be surprised with how little you need to train to positively influence your physical performance. Secondly, it automatically sets you up for failure. One missed session gives you the right to miss the next, and then next, and so on and so on.
I cannot tell you how many days you should train in the pre-season, as it's goal specific, individual specific, amongst other influencing factors. Just take into consideration the points I made above, remember that minimalism is the winner here, avoid overtraining, and listen to your body.
Time For The Main Event, Structuring Your Training In-Season
I think this is the area most people struggle with. How can we:
A. Ensure we are prepared for a game at the weekend
B. Continue to make sure we are heading in the right direction with our physical performance
The answer? Not as complicated as you may think.
Undulating your daily training load means that you can optimally prepare and recover for a weekend game. This means a mixture of easy, medium, and hard training days at different stages of the week. It is the approach professional teams and athletes use all over the world. It is also the approach I use with all of my athletes and teams. There is good research supporting strength and power gains with the use of daily undulating periodisation, however more research is needed within competition environments.
So what does that week look like?
Monday - Low
Examples: Uppers sessions, off-feet conditioning, etc.
Tuesday - High
This is the best opportunity for you to put some decent load through your body. It is +3 days game day and still -4 days prior to the following Saturday. With my athletes I like to double up on this day and put them through an intense strength based session with some conditioning work (alongside training)
Wednesday - Off
Thursday - Medium
This is the opportunity to get the CNS firing for the weekend game. Potentiation sessions have been found to improve game day performance qualities. This is an opportunity to put your body through some power and speed work
Friday - Off
Saturday - GAME DAY
Sunday - Off
It is important to stay 'fluid' with your planning. By this I mean you need to be able to adapt your training weeks to the current competitive situation.
No game week? There's an opportunity to put your body through some higher training loads.
Big game week? Back off with the overall training load to ensure you are 'fresh' for the Saturday (or whenever your game day is).
Hope that helps!
Danny Speirs MSc BSc (Hons)
Danny is a strength and conditioning coach who works with athlete worldwide through The Parfournen Academy and 1-2-1 in the UK. Want to work with him? Learn more here