elitefts™ Sunday Edition

Preparation Phase 1, Anatomical Adaptation: Early Off-Season

As a strength and conditioning staff, our objective for you, as the athlete is to:

  1. Develop, reestablish, and increase your work capacity.
  2. Reintroduce yourself to the fundamentals of strength development and dynamic functional flexibility.
  3. Start eliminating structural weaknesses developed over the course of a season.
  4. Provide a Functional background on which to commence hypertrophy and strength training.
  5. Using lower intensities will provide a means of active restoration.
  6. Start eliminating unwanted body fat.

Training System

For the first two training blocks, we will utilize a form of traditional circuit training (TCT) known as mixed circuit training (MCT). This method of combined development will employ traditional strength training, dynamic flexibility, and cardiovascular training with active rest intervals.

The Principals of Mixed Circuit Training

Intensity of Exercise

  • Strength training with approximately 50-80% of one’s 1RM
  • Aerobic training between 40-60% of one’s maximal performance ability over a long distance or 70-80% of one’s maximal capability with short, frequent rest intervals

Density of Exercise or Work to Rest ratio

  • Strength: varying from 60 seconds to 3 minutes
  • Aerobic: none at low intensities or 30-90 seconds at higher intensities

Volume of Exercise

  • Strength: large volume of total weight lifted using a higher number of repetitions
  • Aerobic: covering longer distances with low intensities or shorter distances at a higher intensity

Duration of Exercise

  • Strength: 10-30 seconds
  • Aerobic: distance dependent

Physiological Effect & Training Effect

  • Strength: muscular and power endurance, work capacity, muscle cross-section area, energy potential, and basic motor coordination
  • Aerobic: cardiovascular efficiency, capillarization, oxygen uptake, aerobic capacity, and work capacity

Educational & Psychological Effect

  • Strength & Aerobic: development of staying power, determination, foundation of self-confidence, physical ability to mobilize oneself to do hard work, and the ability to resist fatigue

Training Instructions for Training Blocks I & II

  • General Warm-Up [Active, Dynamic, and Prehabilitation] (15-20 minutes)—make sure that your upper or lower body is thoroughly warmed up before beginning the MCT program. You should be exhibiting a mild to medium sweat throughout the body parts that you are preparing to train.
  • Upon completion of your warm-up, take a 5-minute break to mentally prepare and set up or locate your exercise stations.
  • Perform prescribed workout but do not alter the order of the exercises or change exercises within the training block. Prior to starting, make the needed modifications (choice of exercise when an Option is given), and then stick with it through the extent of the training block. Not doing so will make it impossible to measure the onset of fatigue and systematic improvement. You should all understand what you limitations are, so pick wisely.
  • As you will notice, these exercises are arranged or paired via lower body/upper body or an agonist (muscles acting)/antagonistic (muscles opposing) fashion. Therefore, when one muscle group is working or under contraction (upper body or chest), it’s paired or opposing muscle group (lower body or back) is relaxing. This acts as a means of active rest.
  • The same letter followed by an exercise number designates a pair. As an example: A1 & A2 are trained together, followed by B1 & B2, then C1 & C2, etc.
  • Also, when pairing exercises, you must complete all sets and reps given for that pair before proceeding to the next pair. For example: complete A1 & A2 before moving on to B1 & B2, and so forth.
  • Consequently, pay particular attention to the rest intervals. These have been chosen for a specific reason. If you do not have a stopwatch, clock, or watch, judge as close as you can. For example: Training Block I, Exercise A1 (Single Leg Press, 2x20) & A2 (Dumbbell BP, 2x15) with a 2-minute rest interval. Warm-Up, perform set 1 of A1, rest 2 minutes, perform set 1 of A2, rest 2 minutes, perform set 2 of A1, rest 2 minutes, perform set 2 of A2. This will give you a total of 4 minutes rest (plus the time of training the paired exercise) before performing the subsequent set.
  • The main lower body and upper body exercise should, if possible, be performed unilaterally (single limb) or with dumbbells. This is to correct any imbalances that have occurred during the season.
  • It is imperative that you pick a weight that you can handle for all the sets designated! Use the highest repetition number for each exercise as the baseline number (even though you might not have to perform that rep scheme on that particular day). As a general rule of thumb, after the 1st set of 15 you should be able to perform an additional 4-6 reps, and after the 2nd set 2-3 reps. For example: Upper Body highest set x rep scheme is 2x15

Be intelligent and use our guidelines on determining your training weight. Warm-up gradually and base your decision off of it. If you cannot complete the assigned reps, you are training too heavy. Make the adjustment since no one knows your body better than you do.

  • You will perform three total body workouts over the period of a week. The training days are alternated in a Medium-Low-High or High-Medium-Low intensity fashion. It is imperative that you stick with the weight that you have previously chosen in the high repetition day for the subsequent Medium and Low intensity days! Again, this acts as a means of active rest.

For example:

  • Again, please notice that your first upper body day is at Medium intensity (3x12), but base your chosen weight off the prescribed reps on the High intensity day (2x15). Your first leg day is at high intensity (2x20) so all-subsequent workouts for that training block should be based off your chosen weight. Don’t guess! Make an educated decision based off your warm-up and current state of trainability.
  • SLOW COOK IT- We understand that the weight you have chosen remains constant. But you must understand that muscles adapt quicker than tendons and ligaments. Therefore, you must resist the temptation to increase your loading on the Medium and Low intensity days. Do not, I repeat, do not train to failure!!!
  • Maintain perfect exercise technique. If you cannot, the chosen load is too heavy!
  • At the conclusion of every strength training session, you will be asked to perform aerobic conditioning at a medium intensity of your own pace—and not truly pushing yourself for 20-30 minutes! Preferably the stair master, elliptical, or arc trainer. For variation, utilize the bike for spinning or the treadmill for conversational jogging.
  • Cool down (5-10 minutes). This can consist of any type of static stretching, yoga, green band stretching, hang off of a glute/ham, easy body weight exercises throughout the full range of motion, duck under and step over (a barbell positioned in a rack or imaginary hurdles), and the quadruped series on all 4’s.
  • Remember, there is no justice in this world, so you must create your own!

Background Information

  1. Traditional circuit training (TCT) performed with lighter weights (<40% of one’s 1RM) and higher repetitions (>25) with no rest intervals, and without aerobic conditioning, has been proposed as a highly successful system for developing all-around fitness. This claim is far from accurate. Instead, research has shown that TCT by itself is insufficient in developing strength and power and only modest at best in developing local muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and decreases in body fat. Limiting ourselves to just one form of exercise does not allow us to produce simultaneous maximum conditioning of strength, aerobic fitness, and flexibility.
  2. In actuality, TCT’s major limitation is imposed by its very attempt to introduce aerobic conditioning into conventional weight training. The elimination of rest intervals prevents one from using heavier weights and maintaining posture-perfect form throughout an exercise.  Only when rest intervals are reintroduced into mixed circuit training (MCT) can all-around conditioning become possible.
  3. Therefore, the concurrent development of many fitness factors must utilize many different means and methods. Incorporating both weight and endurance training (MCT) with active rest intervals produces superior results to TCT in terms of improvements in strength and cardiovascular stamina. This allows for a specific and the desired training effect for football.
  4. Question: Football is not an aerobic sport so why develop the cardiovascular system? Correct, but the aerobic pathway plays a vital role in human performance and is the foundation for all sports—if for no other reason than work capacity, recovery, and overall improvement of the cardio-pulmonary system. Randomized team sports involving continuous motion performed with varying bursts of power are required to have a properly developed aerobic system. This will allow you and our team to perform at a maximal intensity in the last half of the game and season.
  5. It is important that you realize that a new and stable level of general and specific fitness cannot be maintained if restricted to a short time frame. Granted, all the necessary abilities can be quickly gained from intensive training, but the resulting positive physiological processes are as quickly lost as they were gained. Therefore, the stability of a high level of fitness is proportionally related to the length of time it took to acquire it. In other words, start preparing for the upcoming season now.
  6. Dynamic flexibility is a must for joint health, especially in aging athletes. Movement about a joint creates changes in pressure in the joint capsule that drives nutrients from the synovial fluid (fluid a joint is encased in) toward the cartilage of the joint. Since cartilage lacks its own blood supply, the chondrocytes (the cells that produce cartilage) must depend on the diffusion of oxygen and nutrients directly from synovial fluid for survival. Appropriately, joint mobility correlates highly with joint health.

GENERAL WARM-UP for Training Blocks I & II

(Active + Dynamic + Prehabilitation)

*You must warm-up to train, not train to warm-up!

Active (5-10 minute) Warm-up: utilize any piece of conditioning equipment or jump rope

Dynamic Warm-Up: Calisthenics

    1. Jumping Jacks: x10
    2. Split Jacks: x10 (1 leg in front, 1 behind, arms same as JJ)
    3. Long Striders: x10 (same leg placement as SJ, pull the rope with arms)
    4. Neck Flexion & Extension: x5 each
    5. Lateral Flexion & Extension: x5 each (ear to shoulder)
    6. Shoulder rolls: x5 each (hands on hips)
    7. Long arm swings: x10
    8. Arm Circles: x5 each (small to big)
    9. Exaggerated Good Mornings: x5 each (trunk flexion & extension—toes to heels)
    10. Side Bends: x5 each (straight arms, hands touch knees)
    11. Staggered wide stance hip circles: x5 each
    12. Knee circles: x5 each
    13. Ankle plantar & dorsiflexion: x5 each
    14. Ankle inversion & eversion: x5 each
    15. Split Squats: x5 each (lunge position)
    16. TKE’s 2x20 – use bands, low box, or multi-hip unit

Dynamic Warm-Up: Hip Mobility

  1. Leg Swings: x5 each (side to side)
  2. Leg swings: x5 each (front to back)
  3. Quadruped (all fours) hip abduction (to side): x5 each
  4. Quadruped hurdlers forward: x5 each
  5. Quadruped hurdlers backward: x5 each
  6. Hurdle Mobility (place barbell in a rack, visualize imaginary hurdles, or use a stretch cord)—Duck under: x10
  7. Hurdle mobility—Step over: x10


  1. 4-way Neck
  2. Shrugs
  3. Rotator cuff/External & Internal Rotation



  1. Siff, M.C. and Verkhoshansky, Y.V. “Supertraining.” Supertraining International. Denver, USA. 1999. 4th edition.
  2. Kurz, T. “Science of Sports Training, How to Plan and Control Training for Peak Performance.” Stadion Publishing Company. Island Pond, VT. 2001.
  3. Scholich, M. “Circuit Training for All Sports, Methodology of Effective Fitness Training.” Sports Books Publisher. Toronto, Canada. 1990
  4. Tenke, Z. and Higgins, A. “Warm-Up and Preparation for Athletes of All Sports, a Complete Book of Warm-up and Flexibility Exercises.” Sports Books Publisher. Toronto, Canada. 1994.