In this article I want to cover a couple of the workouts we do with our crew during the general preparation phase of training. These workouts are great to get the athletes working and back into shape. They come from various sources and are always evolving, feel free to take them and put your own spin on them.
A couple of years ago Romona Pagel gave a great presentation at the NTCA Convention. She really has some great training ideas. One of the workouts I took away from that session with her, I now call the Pagel Circuit. The Pagel Circuit consists of all bodyweight exercises, so there is no need for specialized equipment or a lot of space. Athletes complete 10 reps of each exercise with no rest between exercises. We complete the exercises in this order:
-Split Squat Jump
After completion of all 6 exercises, we walk or jog 200 meters for recovery and then repeat the circuit for three cycles. I keep track of the time it takes to complete each cycle, and use this as one of my data points to check that our training methods are effective.
Another good early season workout is the medicine ball relay. This workout was introduced to me by a former athlete in our system, Dan Hytinen. It is a fairly quick but brutal workout that the athletes really get into. We use heavy non-bouncing medicine balls and athletes pair up in groups of two. Men use a 25 pound ball, and women use a 16 pound ball. Working around the 200 meter indoor track, the first partner takes the ball and chest passes it out in front of himself, then runs to it continuing this for a full lap around the track. After crossing the line the partner then does a lap of chest passing around the track while partner 1 rests. In lap two, athletes throw the ball forward through the legs, dropping the hips down and then driving them up. In the final leg of the relay, athletes run while holding the ball overhead. With this workout you do want to be careful not to have too many athletes throwing balls at the same time. I limit it to only 3 athletes on the track at a given time to reduce the risk of them being hit by the medicine balls.
Each of these workouts can be completed in a relatively short amount of time. They are great for getting the athletes back into the swing of things and improving work capacity with minimal chance for injury. I have found them to be a good blend of volume and intensity for early season training.