Off Season Training
This for me and more than likely always will be the most important phase of training that there is. This is where you build the foundation (or base as its most commonly known) for whats to come, that dictates how high you can peak.
I remember hearing Brandon Lilly saying this along time ago and it stuck with me, “A pyramid can only be as high as its base” meaning that the bigger they make the pyramids foundation the higher they can go with the peak off it. The exact same rule applies to getting the most out of your lifts!!
This is the time for you to bring up all weak-points and spend time improving technique where its needed, if its needed. Taking full advantage of this will make your competition prep far easier and far more enjoyable.
Far to often I see people being lazy with there off-season efforts and being half arsed with there training or worse again not training at all.
So what to do in your off-season ?
Well if your technique is poor or your not happy with it take yourself back to part 1 and sort that $#!t out…
If your happy with technique and its just a matter of building a base here’s what we would do. As I do nearly all year round I would have most people stick with 2 pressing days.
On one of those days we would work on some of the stuff we let lag a bit throughout the competitive strongman season for example the bench press, supplemental and accessory work on this day would be picked based upon building a bigger bench press.
On the second press day we would work on whatever other weak press variation or weak pressing muscles we need to work on such as a standing military press/ seated dumbbell press to build weak delts or close grip bench press to build weak triceps.
Over the course of lets say 8 weeks of training you will aim to build a massive base and bring up any weak points you have by doing tons and tons of total volume.
At the end of the 8 weeks we would aim to hit a 5 rep max on our bench press. Starting the cycle with high volume and reducing that volume while increasing the weight until we get to week 8 where we go for the 5rm. It might look something like this;
- week 1: 60-65% 4×8-10
- week 2: 65-70% 3×8-10
- week 3: 70-75% 3×6-8
- week 4: 60% 3×5 (Deload)
- week 5: 75-80% 3×5
- week 6: 70-75% 4×6
- week 7: 80-85% 3×3
- week 8: 5 rep max
There will be no testing at the end of this cycle for day 2, we will simply do tons of volume to add lots of muscle and strength that will later be utilised to peak our overhead press. Lets say well be doing seated military press, it might look something like this;
- week 1: 60-65% 3×8
- week 2: 60-65% 4×10
- week 3: 65-70% 4×8
- week 4: 60% 3×5 (Deload)
- week 5: 65-70% 3×10
- week 6: 70-75% 3×8
- week 7: 75-80% 4×5
- week 8: 65% 3×5 (Deload)
*Remember day 1 and 2 needs to be followed up with supplemental and accessory work
Now sometimes people are caught for time living a busy lifestyle and have a hard time getting all there days in. So in the off-season they might drop back to 3 training days a week to put some more time into some other aspect of there lives that’s lifting related.
If you are one of these people then I would recommend you drop the bench press day. Although building a bigger bench press will help build a bigger overhead press it wont do as much for your overhead press as day 2 will for it because its that bit more specific to what moves weight overhead and it will help you build a lot bigger of a foundation to let you build a bigger peak come competition time.
If you have any follow on questions please feel free to send us a message!