Anatomy of a Volt Training Session

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While every Volt workout is uniquely designed for the demands of an athlete's sport, position, gender, strength levels, and more (within the context of a holistic year-round program), many sessions follow a similar format. This article provides a breakdown of the structure and training philosophy behind a typical Volt training session.

Sample Volt Training Session

The following is a sample Day 1 workout for a fictitious football lineman during a Strength block. The athlete will follow the workout in order of movement groupings from 1 to 5. If a grouping contains a pairing, like #2, the athlete will alternate one set of 2A with a set of 2B until all sets are complete, resting the prescribed interval between each set.

This is a mock Volt training session for a football lineman in a Strength block and is intended for educational purposes only. All prescribed weights are based on this fictitious athlete's Strength Numbers in the bench, squat, and clean. 

This is a mock Volt training session for a football lineman in a Strength block and is intended for educational purposes only. All prescribed weights are based on this fictitious athlete's Strength Numbers in the bench, squat, and clean. 

Training Philosophy

Volt's training philosophy is informed by peer-reviewed research and decades of S&C best practices by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Our Sport Performance team is governed by a Strength Coach Advisory Board, chaired by NSCA founder and legendary Nebraska strength coach, Boyd Epley. Our team of CSCS-certified experts designs Volt programs based on principles of sport and exercise science, and is actively engaged in the elite strength coach community to continue providing effective, high-quality training content. The following training session philosophies are taken primarily from the NSCA's Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.

In a typical Volt training session. athletes will perform explosive movements first.

In a typical Volt training session. athletes will perform explosive movements first.

1. Explosive Movements First

After a thorough dynamic warm-up, athletes will perform any prescribed explosive movements (like plyos, med ball throws, and Olympic lifts) first. Why? These movements require the highest levels of skill and concentration, and are therefore the most likely to be negatively affected by athlete fatigue. The goal of these movements is to develop fast-twitch explosiveness within specific movement patterns, so athletes should attack each rep with maximum power and effort and rest COMPLETELY between sets. We want athletes performing these movements first — when they're freshest — to translate that explosiveness most effectively to their sport. 

In the sample football workout above, the athlete will perform 5 sets of a BB Hang Clean, an Olympic variation, working up to about 85-90% intensity for 3 reps. These movements are typically not paired with others, to allow athletes to devote maximum focus and effort to each rep.

2. Strength Pairings

Next, athletes will perform pairings (sometimes triplets) of compound, multi-joint structural strength exercises (like squats, presses, and deadlifts). These exercises are designed to develop sport-specific strength and movement/mobility qualities, and their selection is influenced by the biomechanical demands of the athlete's primary sport. Volt pairs strength movements for two reasons: to allow athletes to rest completely between sets of a single exercise, and to create a more efficient team training environment.

To ensure sufficient rest between sets, athletes will typically see pairings comprised of different movement patterns. In pairing #2 in the sample workout, the athlete will perform a bilateral lower-body push (2A) alternated with a unilateral upper-body pull (2B), allowing each region to recover fully by the next set. These pairings also make it easy for training partners to utilize different pieces of equipment simultaneously, eliminating unnecessary downtime between sets. In this example, the athlete can perform the BB Back Squat at a squat rack while his partner performs the DB One-Arm Row at a bench. We recommend grouping athletes into training groups based on Strength Numbers to cut down on the number of equipment adjustments between sets.

Accessory exercises are focused on sport-specific injury mitigation and typically live at the end of a Volt training session.

Accessory exercises are focused on sport-specific injury mitigation and typically live at the end of a Volt training session.

3. Accessories and Sport-Specific Injury Mitigation

The final few movements of a Volt workout are sport-specific accessory exercises, with a focus on strengthening and mobilizing areas at risk for injury. Most of these are single-joint movements (like a biceps curl) that don't require a high level of energy or precision to execute, making them perfect for the end of the workout when athletes are fatigued.

In this sample workout, pairing #5 focuses on improving hip mobility and neck strength for this football lineman. 

What if I'm Short on Time?

If you don't have time to take athletes through a full Volt training session, we recommend prioritizing the earlier movements in a workout. These are the explosive and structural strength movements that are most effective at driving training adaptations and offer the most benefits for long-term training improvement. You can also perform the first few movements plus an injury mitigation exercise from the end of the workout, to create a shorter yet still effective session.

Using the sample football workout as an example: if you only have 45 minutes to train, have your athletes perform the explosive movement (1. BB Hang Clean), the first strength pairing (2A. BB Back Squat + 2B. DB One-Arm Row), and the second strength pairing (3A. DB RFE Split Squat + 3B. Pull-up). Then, if you have time remaining, skip to the end and have athletes perform one of the injury mitigation movements (5A. Band Squat Mobility or 5B. Yes) and call it good!

DOs and DON'Ts

  • DON'T reduce the rest intervals or total number of sets of a movement if you're short on time. It's better to perform full sets of fewer movements than incomplete sets of every movement.

  • DON'T sit while resting.

  • DO encourage athletes to stay active while resting. Dynamic stretching, mobility work, and spotting other athletes when appropriate helps keep athletes focused and on-task.

  • DON'T cherry-pick workouts to perform each week. As mentioned above, each day of training has a specific and different movement pattern focus, so it's important to perform at least Days 1 and 2 each week for maximum results.

 

If you have questions about Volt's training philosophy, please contact your designated CSCS-certified Strength Coach Consultant! 


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Christye Estes, CSCS, is one of the regular contributors to the Volt blog. She is an NSCA-certified strength coach and a Sport Performance Specialist at Volt.
Learn more about Christye and read her other posts | @CoachChristye