Strength Programming in the 2022-2023 Season for an Italian Professional Soccer Team

Most of us know the vital position power coaching performs in sports activities. This additionally applies to soccer, the place the standard of technical expertise is key. Through the 2022-2023 season, with the assistance of Fabio Zonin, StrongFirst Licensed Grasp Teacher, I designed a coaching program primarily based on StrongFirst rules for Professional Vercelli Calcio a soccer crew within the Italian Third Division (Third League). By implementing this program, I introduced innovation and a novel methodology to the world of soccer (see my earlier article).

This season, in collaboration with our sport-specific coach, I modified a number of the power workout routines I programmed for my athletes. After all, I continued to program elementary motor patterns, particularly hip dominant patterns (hip hinge) and knee dominant patterns (squat). However I changed the Zercher squat with the again squat (a push train) and the two-arm swing with the deadlift (a push-pull train). Final season I used the Bulgarian squat (a one-leg train). And since it yielded great outcomes, I didn’t substitute it with an alternate motion.

The higher physique coaching I programmed final season included the half-kneeling landmine press, pullups, bench press, and the single-arm kettlebell row. As a result of the outcomes have been so efficient, I made a decision so as to add a further power session specializing in these actions—going from two to a few coaching classes per week.

On this article, I’ll break down the power coaching methods used this season. I have to thank Fabio for his useful recommendations that made this programming easy and profitable.

Decrease Physique

Section I—Pre-season preparedness

Again squat and deadlift

From the primary day of pre-season coaching camp, I labored on the gamers’ squat and deadlift methods, in order that after they began their first power coaching session, they have been capable of successfully use the barbell.

Through the preliminary section, we elevated the quantity from 1 to five reps (see Desk 1) primarily based on the standard of every participant’s approach. The load the athletes used couldn’t change the right technical execution of the elevate and needed to enable some reps in reserve (no less than 2-3 reps) in units with greater reps. The lifts have been skilled alone in a devoted power session two occasions per week.

Together with the quantity, we constantly elevated the burden each two classes, basing the burden bounce on the athlete’s approach and power stage.

This development and adaptation of the load continued for nearly 5 weeks, throughout which we accomplished eight classes of particular power coaching for the decrease physique. These eight classes didn’t embody the introductory classes carried out through the first days of pre-season coaching camp. On the finish of the pre-league championship season, we established 60% of every athlete’s one-rep max (1RM) within the squat and 70% of their 1RM within the deadlift. We chosen a load the athletes have been capable of elevate for 8-10 reps within the deadlift and for 12-14 reps within the squat (to parallel).

Desk 1: Again squat and deadlift load development—Pre-season, Section 1
The back squat

Bulgarian squat

After an preliminary section of adaptation, through which the athletes solely practiced with their body weight, we skilled the Bulgarian squat with the identical development we used final yr. The athletes began with a 12kg kettlebell and for your complete season we adopted a step cycle program (see Desk 2).

tab 2 bulgarian squat load progression pre season phase 1
Desk 2: Bulgarian squat load development—Pre-season, Section 1

Section 2—18-week in-season preparedness

Through the aggressive season, one elevate was skilled for a three-week cycle throughout which the depth was elevated, and the quantity was decreased (BLOCK A1). The second elevate was skilled for power upkeep solely (BLOCK B1). On the finish of the three-week cycle, the work scheme was reversed. Desk 3 summarizes the coaching plan.

It needs to be emphasised that the lifts have been skilled solely as soon as per week, often on the second day of coaching in a devoted power session.

tab 3 back squat and deadlift load progression in season phase 2
Desk 3: Again squat and deadlift load development—In-season, Section 2

My objective for the again squat and the deadlift was to make my athletes stronger. I didn’t set a restrict. I needed every athlete to succeed in no less than a 1RM within the again squat equal to or higher than 1.5 body weight and no less than a 1RM within the deadlift equal to 1.7/1.8 body weight.

Through the season, I programmed the Bulgarian squat as proven in Desk 4:

tab 4 bulgarian squat load progression in season phase 2
Desk 4: Bulgarian squat load development—In-season, Section 2

For the Bulgarian squat, my objective for every athlete was to ultimately full your complete quantity 2x (2, 4, 6) with no less than a 24kg kettlebell or a weight that was round 1/3 of the athlete’s body weight, however not exceeding a 32kg kettlebell.

Bulgarian squat bottom position

Section 3—14-week in-season preparedness

In January, following Fabio’s recommendations, we carried out an oblique take a look at to seek out the athletes’ again squat and deadlift 1RMs. The athletes carried out two easy assessments; they needed to elevate two completely different weights, one for 3 to five reps and the opposite for 8 to 10 reps respectively. After they accomplished these assessments, we calculated the 1RMs for every elevate following an algorithm created by Fabio.

Our outcomes could be seen under in Desk 5:

tab 5 relationship between the deadlift and back squat 1RMs and the athletes bodyweight
Desk 5: Relationship between the deadlift and again squat 1RMs and the athlete’s body weight

At this level, given the power ranges achieved, particularly within the again squat, I made a decision to proceed the programming following a brand new technique primarily based on Pavel’s Simple Energy and StrongFirst’s Plan Robust™ rules. I programmed each elevate guaranteeing that the typical relative depth (ARI) didn’t differ over the classes and modulated the quantity with a die roll. The gamers skilled every elevate as soon as per week, leaving the second elevate in “upkeep” mode, performing 6 units of three reps with 70% of their 1RM (Desk 6).

tab 6 back squat and deadlift load progression in season phase 3
Desk 6: Again squat and deadlift load development—In-season, Section 3

When the die confirmed the identical quantity for 2 weeks in a row, I rolled it once more. Quantity variability throughout these weeks was the principle issue for the coaching stimulus.

The deadlift lockout

Section 4—2-week play-off preparedness

As soon as we reached the play-offs, I needed to considerably change the power work by modifying each the depth and the quantity. I switched the deadlift into “upkeep” mode by utilizing a load equivalent to 70% of their 1RM and skilled it as a motor sample (hip hinge) motion with the objective of sustaining power. I performed with the weights the athletes used for the again squat, specializing in power stimulus. Each lifts have been round an ARI of 76%.

Higher Physique

Section I—In-season preparedness (September-December)

An athlete that’s sturdy not solely within the decrease limbs, however in his complete physique can higher specific his bodily qualities and ranges of power throughout a match.

Earlier than afternoon coaching, beginning at the start of coaching camp, the athletes carried out a small circuit of elementary workout routines to extend their conditioning stage. These identical workout routines continued all through their in-season coaching.

Differing from final season, the primary two classes centered on enhancing maximal power whereas the third was extra metabolic, i.e., we centered on stimulating muscle progress (hypertrophy). The classes have been carried out on the primary, third, and fourth coaching day of the week. We constantly adopted this schedule whatever the ability stage of our opponent on Sunday.

Tables 7a and 7b (under) break down the classes and the actions/workout routines:

tab 7a upper body movements in season phase 1 new
Desk 7a: Higher physique actions—In-season, Section 1

The corresponding workout routines have been:

tab 7b upper body exercises in season phase 1 new
Desk 7b: Higher physique workout routines—In-season, Section 1

Section 2—In-season preparedness (January-Might)

After about 4 months of coaching, I considerably modified the work by including a second session for the principle lifts. This choice was primarily based on the athletes’ enhancements and the necessity to enhance the workload whereas fulfilling the requests of the gamers, who have been interested by enhancing muscle tone.  

Under (Tables 8a and 8b) is the breakdown of the classes and the actions/workout routines:

tab 8a upper body movements in season phase 2 new
Desk 8a: Higher physique actions—In-season, Section 2

The corresponding workout routines have been:

tab 8b upper body exercises in season phase 2 new
Desk 8b: Higher physique workout routines/focus—In-season, Section 2

Last Ideas

The gamers loved the work accomplished this yr, in addition to the coaching programmed final season. Coaching was very stimulating, regardless of the challenges we had.

Programing solely two lifts as primary workout routines for constructing power is a wonderful coaching technique. Maybe, sooner or later, we might contemplate barely growing the quantity for each lifts and splitting the coaching into two classes. This is able to serve a twin objective: first to grease the groove of the motor sample and second to supply a second stimulation to construct power. Moreover, near a match, it’s acceptable to incorporate extra explosive power work and perhaps monitor it with an instrument that measures the pace of the motion.

The periodization of this program helped enhance the power ranges of all my gamers. We noticed features each within the weights lifted but additionally within the aesthetic part—all gamers confirmed a extra outlined and muscular higher physique. Contemplating that soccer is a motion sport, the degrees of most power achieved definitely contributed to enhancing recreation efficiency, particularly in sprinting, acceleration, and modifications in route.

We obtain these outcomes by coaching simply two primary lifts, including one unilateral train, and utilizing well-defined and structured programming.

By means of this expertise, I consider that that is the right path to observe, and I’ll proceed to make use of StrongFirst programming to extend the athletic talents of my gamers sooner or later.

Mauro Franzetti

Mauro Franzetti holds a level in Sports activities Science, a doctorate in Osteopathy, and a PhD in Neurophysiology. For greater than 20 years, he has labored as an expert power and conditioning coach for Italian and worldwide soccer groups. In 2015, he accomplished his first StrongFirst workshop in Italy. He has written two books revealed in Italian on the results of lactic acid and purposeful coaching: Acido Lattico e Sport, dalla fisiologia all’allenamento and L’allenamento funzionale su misura, 150 esercizi per stare bene. He focuses not solely on athletic efficiency, but additionally damage prevention. His frequent change of concepts with Fabio Zonin, StrongFirst Licensed Grasp Teacher, led him to use StrongFirst rules to soccer athletes and has utterly modified his perspective on coaching. His residence base is close to Milan, Italy.

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