Exercise ProgrammingSports PerformanceWorkout PlansYouth Fitness

NASM OPT in Action: Sample Preseason Plans for High School Football and Tennis

Team and individual success for high-school athletes has its roots in the training that begins well before the season’s first match, meet or game. To help student athletes prepare to play their sport of choice, you’ll want to begin by doing some basic movement assessments, addressing compensations and ensuring that your athletes have the stability to progress to strength and power exercises. (You’ll find details on this prep work my article “The CPT’s Playbook for High-School Preseason Training” in the Summer 2017 issue of American Fitness magazine.)

The NASM Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model provides the certified personal trainer (CPT) with the tools to put athletes safely through their paces in the first days and weeks of preseason training—and to progress them all the way through to Phase 6: Maximal Power. If you’re familiar only with the original NASM OPT model, you’ll know that its summit is Phase 5: Power, which is perfect for most clients who are seeking improvements in fitness, strength, health, mobility and the like. For elite or competitive athletes, like those on high-school athletics teams, NASM introduced Phase 6 as part of the Performance Enhancement Specialization. This enables the CPT to literally take elite athletes to the next level in power, speed, agility and quickness.

General Guidelines for the Athletic 6-Phase OPT Model

The following chart will come in handy when you’re planning a program for your young athletes. The 2/0/2 tempo notation translates to 2 seconds eccentric, 0 seconds isometric, 2 seconds concentric. Remember, of course, that regardless of tempo, all movements should be well-controlled to maintain proper form and reduce injury risk.

Level Phase Reps Sets Tempo Intensity (%) Recovery
Stabilization 1 Stabilization Endurance 12-20 1-3 Slow 50-70 0-90 sec
 
Strength 2 Strength Endurance (strength – stability supersets) 8-12 2-4 Str: 2/0/2

Stab: CTRL

70-80 0-60 sec
 
  3 Hypertrophy 6-12 3-5 2/0/2 75-85 0-60 sec
 
  4 Maximal Strength 1-5 4-6 Fast 85-100 3-5 min
 
Power 5 Power (strength-power supersets) 1a. Str: 1-5 3-5 Fast 85-100 1-2 min btw pairs
  2a. Pwr: 8-10 30-45 3-5 min btw circuits
  6 Maximal Power 10 4-6 Fast 30-45 or 10% BW 3-5 min

Key: BW = body weight; CTRL = controlled movement.

How NOT to Run Out of Time

As with most activities, some of the biggest challenges we face are time, staffing and money (or a lack of things that money can buy). One of the most common mistakes I see in new trainers and coaches is creating programs that can’t be completed in the time allotted. (The second is focusing on exercises that are trendy or high-intensity instead of age/ability/sport-appropriate.) Fortunately, solving this timing issue is as easy as plugging some numbers into the following equation.

For each exercise:

  • (sets × reps × seconds) + (sets × recovery) = total time for that exercise
  • Do this equation for each exercise you have planned.
  • Then add up the totals from all of the exercises.
  • That’s how long your workout will take (at minimum).

Example:

Let’s look at an exercise that’s done in 3 sets of 10 reps at a 2/0/2 tempo, followed by 30 seconds of recovery.

First, you’d figure that 2/0/2 equates to 4 seconds (2 seconds plus 0 seconds plus 2 seconds). Then plug in the numbers:

  • (3 sets × 10 reps × 4 seconds) + (3 sets x 30 seconds) = total time

Then solve the two parenthetical equations:

  • (3 sets × 10 reps × 4 seconds) = 120 seconds
  • (3 sets x 30 seconds) = 90 seconds

Total them:

  • 120 seconds + 90 seconds = 210 seconds
  • To convert this to minutes, divide by 60 seconds, and you know that this exercise will take 3.5 minutes to complete.

Repeat this calculation for each exercise or pattern to get your total workout time. This way, you can ensure that everything you want to do (and that is priority) gets done!

Don’t Worry About Fancy Equipment (You Don’t Need It!)

Along with lack of space, lack of equipment is a common issue in the high-school strength and conditioning setting. Remember a key driver that is especially true at this level of play:

A good fundamental program carried out with viscous consistency is better than a complex program that’s not carried out well.

Don’t get sidetracked by fancy equipment or analytics. Most of your work with this age group does not require it. In fact, these things can overcomplicate simple strength, power, conditioning and mobility needs. Here are a few ideas to help you work around this issue:

  • Use body-weight progressions whenever possible (ex. pushups or weighted pushups instead of bench press).
  • Use unilateral progressions to limit load needs (ex. rear foot elevated split squat instead of barbell front or back squats).
  • Use manual resistance when possible for speed/acceleration work (ex. using towels or straps with partners instead of needing sleds).

The following sample programs illustrate how much can be done with fairly little in the way of equipment.

Putting It All Together: Sample Preseason Programming

Here’s a look at how a training program might look when based upon the principles outlined in the NASM Optimum Performance Training™ model with the NASM Performance Enhancement Specialization. Following these guidelines enables the fitness professional to design a holistic program that “addresses all aspects of human movement to ensure that peak performance is achieved. This can be accomplished through the use of integrated training, which incorporates flexibility, cardiorespiratory, core, balance, reactive, SAQ [speed/agility/quickness], and resistance training into one comprehensive routine” (NASM 2017).

Here, you’ll get an idea of what some preseason programs look like when using integrated training. Remember: When calculating the time you’ll need, include a warm-up and flexibility exercises.

Key:

AIS = active-isolated stretching

CM = countermovement (increasing elastic response)

NCM = non-countermovement (3–5 sec isometric hold)

Oly = Olympic or Maximal Power

Plyo = plyometrics

SMR = self-myofascial release

T spine = thoracic spine

Ys, Ts, Ws & As = shape made with arms

Football Preseason Programming, Freshman/Sophomore

Movement
Category
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Plyometrics/

Explosives

1a. NCM box jump up & hold NCM lateral box jump up & hold NCM band-resisted broad jump & hold NCM band- resisted lateral broad jump & hold
1b. NCM 1-leg box jump up & stick NCM 1-leg lateral box jump up & stick in/out NCM 1-leg bound & stick NCM 1-leg lateral bound & stick
1c. NCM kneeling overhead medicine ball throw NCM kneeling medicine ball chest pass NCM medicine ball slam NCM kneeling 1-arm medicine ball chest pass
1d. Mini band clams Mini band shoulder external rotations Mini band clams Mini band shoulder external rotations
Core 2a. Plank Feet-staggered lateral (side) plank 1-leg plank Abductor 1-leg lateral (side) plank
2b. Floor bridge Kneeling antirotation press 1-leg-extended floor bridge Kneeling segmental chop
2c. Bent-leg quadruped Dead bug
Power 3a. Barbell hang clean high pull Barbell hang snatch high pull 1-arm dumbbell hang clean 1-arm dumbbell hang snatch
3b. SMR latissimus dorsi SMR pectoralis minor SMR latissimus dorsi SMR pectoralis minor
Strength 4a. Goblet squat Hip extension glute hamstring TRX inverted row Kneeling dumbbell shoulder press
4b. Supinated pullup Feet-elevated pushup Barbell front squat Bent-leg band-resisted hip extension
4c. SMR thoracic spine SMR quadriceps SMR thoracic spine SMR quadriceps
5a. Kneeling alternating flexed lat pulldown Extended alternating dumbbell bench press Dumbbell split squat Bent-leg kettlebell hip extension
5b. Retro slide board lunge Ipsilateral 1-leg dumbbell dead lift Kneeling alternating flexed low row Kneeling landmine press
5c. AIS psoas AIS hamstring AIS psoas AIS hamstring
Cardio Linear suicides Lateral runs Sled pushes Slide board or lateral shuffles

 

Tennis Preseason Programming, Freshman/Sophomore

Movement
Category
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Plyometrics/

Explosives

1a. NCM box jump up & stick NCM lateral box jump up & stick NCM band-resisted broad jump & stick NCM band-resisted lateral broad jump & stick
  1b. NCM 1-leg box jump up & stick NCM 1-leg lateral box jump up & stick in/out NCM 1-leg bound & stick NCM 1-leg lateral bound & stick
  1c. NCM kneeling overhead medicine ball throw NCM kneeling medicine ball chest throw NCM medicine ball slam NCM kneeling 1-arm medicine ball chest throw
1d. Mini band clams Ys and Ts Mini band clams Ws and As
 
Core 2a. Plank Feet-staggered lateral (side) plank 1-leg plank Abductor 1-leg lateral (side) plank
  2b. Floor bridge Kneeling antirotation lift 1-leg-extended floor bridge Kneeling segmental chop
  2c. Bent-leg quadruped Dead bug
 
Power 3a. Kettlebell swing Medicine ball scoop toss Kettlebell swing Medicine ball press toss
3b. SMR latissimus dorsi SMR pectoralis minor SMR latissimus dorsi SMR pectoralis minor
 
Strength 4a. Goblet squat Hip extension glute hamstring TRX inverted row Kneeling dumbbell shoulder press
  4b. Supinated pullup Feet-elevated pushup Barbell front squat Bent-leg band-resisted hip extension
4c. SMR thoracic spine SMR quadriceps SMR thoracic spine SMR quadriceps
 
  5a. Kneeling alternating flexed lat pulldown Extended alternating dumbbell bench press Dumbbell split squat Bent-leg kettlebell hip extension
  5b. Retro slide board lunge Ipsilateral 1-leg straight-leg dumbbell dead lift Kneeling alternating flexed low row Kneeling landmine press
5c. AIS psoas AIS hamstring AIS psoas AIS hamstring
 
Cardio Linear suicides Lateral runs Sled pushes Slide board or lateral shuffles
 

Learn More About the NASM PES

The NASM Performance Enhancement Specialization provides unique training modules focused on improving sports performance, including training for flexibility, cardio, core, balance, plyometrics, SAQ and Olympic lifting. Completing this specialization will earn certified personal trainers 1.9 CEUs from NASM. The PES program is available as a self-study course or an all-inclusive option with a live workshop. To learn more, go to www.nasm.org/pes.

References

NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine). 2017. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

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The Author

Chris Ecklund, MA, NASM-PES, CSCS, USAW, TPI

Chris Ecklund, MA, NASM-PES, CSCS, USAW, TPI

Chris Ecklund is performance director for La Cumbre Country Club and CEO/founder of Prevail Conditioning Performance Center, both in Santa Barbara, California. He also teaches at Westmont College and as an NASM Master Instructor (chris@prevailconditioning.com).