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.


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.


Keys to a Volt Training Session

  • Do the training in order. Prioritize the days of training in order by doing Day 1, then Day 2, and so on. Approach each training session in the same way, starting with the first movement and progressing in order until the end of the session. Skipping around the workout is not encouraged, but if you need to, please start with Group 1 and move from there. And if you need to shorten the workout, prioritize the movements at the beginning of the training session over the movements at the end.

  • Record everything. Smart Sets make it very easy to track your loading (weight), reps, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) for each set. Once you have executed the movement, be sure to record your loading and reps, mark the set as DONE, provide your RPE, and move on to the next movement.

  • Mark the workout “Finished.” No matter how much of the training you have completed, make sure to mark the workout Finished when you are done for the day. This locks in the results of your training session and allows your coach and team to see that you are finished.


What does a typical Volt session look like?



1. Explosive Movements First

After a thorough dynamic warm-up, athletes will perform any prescribed explosive movements (like plyometrics, med ball throws, and Olympic lifts) first. Why? These movements require the highest levels of power, 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 develop a level of explosiveness that effectively translates to their sport.

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, like a lower-body push (BB Back Squat) paired with an upper-body pull (DB One-Arm Row).. These pairings also make it easy for training partners to utilize different pieces of equipment simultaneously, eliminating unnecessary downtime between sets. For example, one 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 movements 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.

For example, we may choose to pair movements that focus on improving hip mobility and neck strength for a football lineman.


What if I'm Short on Time?

If you don't have time to complete 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.

As an example: if you only have 45 minutes to train, perform the explosive movement (Group 1), the first strength pairing (Group 2), and the second strength pairing (Group 3). Then, if you have time remaining, skip to the end and have athletes perform one of the injury mitigation movements 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. 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. Skip Day 3 if you cannot complete a full week of training.


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 Head of Training Experience at Volt. Learn more about Christye and read her other posts | @CoachChristye