How to Approach Your Progressive Season Training

Directly after a show you are ready to tackle the gym at full force. The body is ready to grow and will be in anabolic state ready to accrue new muscle tissue easily. 3 months post show we are at a different time with the body, and to achieve the same hypertrophy the physique needs a different stimulus. Directly post show can set the tone for the progress of the upcoming months. Here are my thoughts on a training program that will allow forward progression throughout the entire off-season.

Post Show

Directly post show is the time to spurt new muscle growth and retrieve any muscle you lost during the prep phase. Often an athlete finds that their strength has diminished through prep. With the loss of strength, often the muscle has retreated as well. This is also a period when the body has been heavily taxed with high volumes of training and cardio and the central nervous system has been taxed. Continuing to train with the same volume and cardio as pre-contest levels often pushes the athlete into a hole. This is the time to pull things back slightly and focus on different methods for optimal progression.

When building the program focus on accruing lost strength and recovery. To do this I find that lower volume and high intensity yields optimal results. Back off the cardio slowly and do just enough to maintain body fat levels from rising to rapidly. For the resistance training utilize compound movements that you can track on a weekly basis for rapid strength gains. I prefer to only utilize one set failure for each exercise where as in contest mode I may do 3-4.

Below is an example of the transition:

Pre-Contest Legs: 

  • Leg Extensions 4 Sets 15 reps after warm up
  • Squats 4 Sets 10 Reps after warm up
  • Leg Press 4 Sets 15 reps
  • Walking Lunges 3 Sets 10 reps each leg
  • Lying Leg Curl 4 Sets of 12 reps

Post Contest Legs:

  • Leg Extensions 2-3 Warm-ups 1 rest pause set to failure aiming for 15-20 reps
  • Squats 2 Warm-ups then 1 set of 10 and 1 set of 15 to failure
  • Leg Press 1 all out set rest pause set of 20-30 reps
  • Walking Lunges 1 set to failure of 10 reps each leg
  • Lying Leg Curl 1 rest pause set to failure aiming for 15-20 reps

Volume has been cut from 19 sets to 6 all out failure sets. The rep ranges are within means of not injuring yourself, and the 1 all out set is easily logged so you can try to beat the weight or reps next week.

Mid Off-Season

Following a 6-8 week period of beating the log book with the above style programming we have regained strength, muscle, and allowed for the CNS to recover. We can now reintroduce so more volume.

Below is an example of the transition and for the sake of the article we will use the same exercises:

Post Contest Legs

  • Leg Extensions 2-3 Warm-ups 1 rest pause set to failure aiming for 15-20 reps
  • Squats 2 Warm-ups then 1 set of 10 and 1 set of 15 to failure
  • Leg Press 1 all out set rest pause set of 20-30 reps
  • Walking Lunges 1 sets to failure of 10 reps each leg
  • Lying Leg Curl 1 rest pause set to failure aiming for 15-20 reps

Mid Off-Season

  • Leg Extensions 2-3 Warm-ups 2 sets to failure 1×10 1×15
  • Squats 2 Warm-ups then 1 set of 10 and 1 set of 15 to failure
  • Leg Press 2 sets to failure 1×10 1×15
  • Walking Lunges 2 sets to failure of 10 reps each leg
  • Adductor Machine 1 Set 15 reps
  • Lying Leg Curl 2-3 Warm-ups 2 sets to failure 1×10 1×15

Volume has been slightly increased from 6 all out intense sets to an equivalent intensity at 11 sets. This will give your body a new stimulus for improved muscle growth, but also allows for continue room for manipulation as you continue through the off-season.

Pre-Prep

After following the above programming and continually beating the logbook, you will at some point stall. This is the time to again add a new stimulus. This is also a time when the added volume can start to help recomp the body and we program to enter prep with highest strength possible by adding some lower rep compound movements sets

Below is an example of the transition and for the sake of the article we will use the same exercises:

Mid Off-Season

  • Leg Extensions 2-3 Warm-ups 2 sets to failure 1×10 1×15
  • Squats 2 Warm-ups then 1 set of 10 and 1 set of 15 to failure
  • Leg Press 2 sets to failure 1×10 1×15
  • Walking Lunges 2 sets to failure of 10 reps each leg
  • Adductor Machine 1 Set 15 reps
  • Lying Leg Curl 2-3 Warm-ups 2 sets to failure 1×10 1×15

Pre-Prep

  • Leg Extensions 2-3 Warm-ups 2 sets to failure 1×10 1×15
  • Squats 2 Warm-ups then 1 set of 6 1 set of 10 and 1 set of 15 to failure
  • Leg Press 2 sets to failure 1 set of 6 1 set of 10 and 1 set of 15 to failure
  • Walking Lunges 2 sets to failure of 10 reps each leg
  • Adductor Machine 1 Set 15 reps
  • Lying Leg Curl 2-3 Warm-ups 2 sets to failure 1×10 1×15

With the addition of the 2 sets of lower rep sets we are now at a total of 13 sets. This is still well below the 19 sets we were accumulating during the actual prep. This allows for us to add volume as we progress into the contest phase. The lower volume throughout these phases also allows for us to keep the intensity levels very high and stay on track to beat the logbook each week.

There are many ways to approach your progression season. Although the above is is a way that will yield excellent results, it also serves the purpose to make you think about developing plan and not just haphazardly entering the gym each session. After your competition sit down and develop a program that makes sense to what your body needs to improve on, and make changes to the program as progress stalls. A method like this will ultimately yield the best progress for your goals.

About the Author
DSC_9331Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.

It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.

Please follow Marc on his journey of continued progress by following him on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.

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