- "Volleyball & Basketball: Off-season Strength Training"
- "Lean for Summer: Training and Diet Tips"


This is a general off-season training program I have provided to the volleyball and basketball teams at McMaster University. It is based on 4 training sessions per week with additional conditioning work to be performed at the student's leisure. The "chest" workout represents an emphasis on pushing strength and the "back" workout trains for pulling strength and posture (upper back scapular stabilizers). There are 2 leg workouts, a resistance-training routine and a plyometric session. Schedule adequate recovery between training days.


* 1-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions


* 1-4 sets x 6 repetitions (*plus 2 warm-up sets)

Choose 1 exercise from each block of exercises.

Day 1 - CHEST                 Day 2 - LEGS           

-*Bench press                       -*Squat          

-*Flat DB press               -*Leg press

-*Incline DB press                  -*Lunge    

-*DB shoulder press                 -*Deadlift 

- Cable lateral raise               - Back extension                   

- Step-up        

- Ball twist crunch                 SPEED-AGILITY drills

                              -*10 min warm-up   

                              - choose 3-5 drills                      

                              - reps last 5-10s                     

                              - rest 1 min b/n reps

-Cable ab machine             QUICK-FEET agility drills

(kneeling OR standing)        - Box run                    

                              - Star run                   

                              - Zigzag run                       

                              - Positional runs                  

Day 3 - BACK                  Day 4 - PLYOS

-*Chin-up (palms-in)                -*10-min warm-up

-*Front pulldown              - Choose 3-6 drills

-*Pullover machine                  - Rest 1 min b/n sets

- Narrow-grip row             - Maximal vertical jumps

- Hammer strength row         - rest 2s b/n each maximal jump

- Wide-grip seated row        - 2 to 4 sets of 6 repetitions

- Cable twist crunch                - Single-leg hops

(kneeling OR standing)        - explode after each landing

                              - rest 30s and do other leg

- 2 to 4 sets of 8 reps

- Ball ab crunch              - Repeated vertical jumps

- no rest between jumps

- explode after landing

- 3 sets of 10 reps


- 4 times per week max        - Lateral jumps

- 30 min max duration               - Zigzag hop

- any method                        - Tuck jumps


This article deviates from sport training, but may be of interest for personal trainers and clients looking to get their best "summer-time" body ever...However, at the same time, the program helps develop fitness, strength, and with a few quick substitutions, athleticism can be trained as well.

      Here is the theory behind the program:

* interval training rather than long duration aerobic exercise is a better method to use to get "ripped" because it boosts the metabolism (energy expenditure) to a greater level outside of the exercise period and therefore burns more calories over the entire day than a session of aerobic exercise

* weight training helps maintain lean tissue (muscle) and promotes a healthy attractive appearance, therefore everyone should include some resistance training in their workouts!

* this program will enable you to spend less time in gym but demands a greater effort than a normal workout (due to shortened rest intervals)

* sprinting is probably the most effective interval activity for weight loss (see below)

* for the resistance training, use a light load, short rest intervals, and supersets of alternate muscle groups, essentially, this is CIRCUIT TRAINING, BUT/ it works! 

* perform all exercise (intervals and weights) with complete MENTAL FOCUS


: warm-up with 2 sets of the first exercise for each new body part

: each set should be done with a weight that will allow ~10 to 15 repetitions

: CIRCUIT TRAINING eliminates wasted time between sets & uses more energy

      : do 1 set of an exercise and move directly to the next

        (go through entire circuit once OR pair exercises for 2-3 sets before moving on)

: go through the circuit as many times as desired OR as long as time allows

: emphasize exercises requiring more muscles and allow you to use more weight


Squat OR Leg press     .....move to...... Shoulder press OR Cable lateral raise

Leg curl OR Deadlift...             Triceps extensions OR Close-grip bench

Lunges OR Step-ups...               Dumbbell (DB) curls OR barbell curls


Bench press OR Flat DB press...           Front pulldown OR Reverse-grip pulldown

Incline bench press OR Incline DB press...      Seated row OR 1-arm dumbbell row

Low-back extensions...              Wide-grip row OR Machine pullover

Abdominal crunches OR Abdominal twist crunches: limit abdominal work to 10-minutes every other day as your time is much better spent training larger muscles OR doing "intervals" to improve metabolism and expend more energy

INTERVALS (30 minutes including warm-up)

* hard activity followed by periods of a lower intensity

* intervals increase metabolism & help make training sessions go by a little quicker

* on stationary cycle: warm-up for 3 minutes, then go hard for 30s and slow for 60s

* sprinting: warm-up for 5-10 minutes; sprint 10-15 seconds, rest 30-60 seconds


Fat reduction through a combination of exercise and calorie restriction is necessary for optimal abs. This means more energy goes out than comes in and that should lead to a reduction in body fat. If it were only so simple! Here are some more advanced tips...

* Subtract approximately 200 to 500 calories per day depending on your present caloric intake. The calories should come exclusively from carbohydrate sources, preferably simple carbohydrates (sugar and processed breads, etc.).

* Reduce your intake of unnecessary fluids such as pop, alcohol, and sugar-packed juices. Increase your water intake (3L per day) and eliminate all sources of fluids that contain calories. Get your vitamin requirements through food sources and supplementation.

* Do NOT starve yourself because excessive caloric restriction may cause a reduction in the metabolic rate and the body will adapt to store rather than expend energy.

* When attempting to lose weight, maintain a protein intake of 1.2g/kg to prevent the loss of lean body mass (muscle).

* Record your food intake in a diet log. This will help you adjust your nutrient proportions and caloric intake.

* Base success on skinfold measurements and body composition analyses, not on the reading from the bathroom scale!

* Consider a consultation with a registered dietician to determine a specific diet to help meet your training goals.

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