Endurance Athletes: The 2 Phases of Perfect Off-Season Prep

The 2 Phase Program for Endurance Athletes

In order to achieve optimal performance, it is necessary to train your body in two distinct ways. One type trains with high intensity, while the other trains at low intensity. Both types of training have their advantages and disadvantages.

However, if one type dominates over the other, then you will not reach maximum potential. The following 2 phase program is designed to balance out these differences so that both types of training produce maximal results.

Phase 1 – High Intensity Training (HIT)

During this phase, you train hard, but with very short rest periods between sets. You perform 3-5 exercises per muscle group. These exercises include heavy compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, presses and rows.

These movements require a lot of energy and focus from your muscles during each repetition. During this phase you work up to working weights that would normally make them difficult to lift for 5 reps or more. Your goal is to complete all the repetitions without resting. If you fail to do so, you increase the weight and continue until you succeed.

Rest Periods Between Sets: 20 seconds between sets

Exercise Selection: Squats, Deadlifts, Presses and Rows. Other exercises may be used when they are lighter than 10 pounds. For example, if you were doing curls instead of rows, then you could use dumbbells instead of barbells.

Phase 2 – Low Intensity Training (LIT)

This phase focuses on building endurance by lifting lighter weights for higher repetitions. You will take longer rest periods between sets so that you can lift more overall. During this phase, you will be training the same exact exercises as in the first phase, but with lighter weights and higher reps.

Endurance Athletes: The 2 Phases of Perfect Off-Season Prep - GYM FIT WORKOUT

Because of this, it is very important that you focus on perfect form to prevent injuries from occurring.

Rest Periods Between Sets: 2-3 minutes between sets.

Exercise Selection: Same as during phase 1 and can even include more isolation movements if you wish.

Performing the 2 Phase Program

Each week, you will be performing 3 sessions of each phase. For example, on Monday you would do phase 1 training, on Thursday you would do phase 2 training and on Saturday you would do phase 1 training again. The order of the phases are alternated in this manner throughout the entire program so that you give your body a chance to adapt to both high and low intensity movements.

As long as you perform the right number of sessions each week, you can schedule them however you like on non-training days. As long as you do not perform any high intensity training on back-to-back days, you can rest for as many days as you need in between sessions.

You can also start each phase at any time that is best for you. For example, if you know you have several days off coming up then you could start the program and begin phase 1 on the first day of your vacation. Just remember that your goal is to complete all three sessions each week.

Sources & references used in this article:

Off-season effects on functional performance, body composition, and blood parameters in top-level professional soccer players by B Requena, I García, L Suárez-Arrones… – Journal of strength …, 2017 – ingentaconnect.com

Nutrition recommendations for bodybuilders in the off-season: A narrative review by J Iraki, P Fitschen, S Espinar, E Helms – Sports, 2019 – mdpi.com

Physiological characteristics of elite male runners in and off-season by J Svedenhag, B Sjodin – Can J Appl Sport Sci, 1985 – researchgate.net