Now that you've stopped working out, it's time to create a training plan. A training plan should meet an athletes needs and situation. To design a good training plan you need to take into consideration the length and goals of the training season, the adaptation cycles, and the principles of overload, progression, and specificity.
Failure to plan is planning to fail.
This is what you need to consider when designing a training plan...
Training Season There are two options to use when confronted with designing features the training time line (season); front to back or back to front. In the front to back model, the training plan is built by starting with the first available training day and progressing to the end of the training period. Designing a training plan from front to back works well when a specific or important performance is not on the foreseeable horizon. Off season and summer training plans can be designed using this technique.
In the back to front model, the end date of the training program is known and planning is focused around peaking for this date. Once a target date of a competition or performance is established, the details of the plan are filled in from this day, backwards, to the start of the first training day. Designing a training plan from back to front works well when an athlete is preparing for a specific and important performance but special care is necessary. It is necessary to asses the athlete abilities before training begins in order to get an understanding of the progress necessary or desired for the end performance or competition.
Make haste slowly. -Boo Schexnayder
Depending on the initial abilities of the athlete, the time frame and length of season, and the desired outcome of the training plan, it might be impossible to take the athlete from point A to point B.
Adaptation Cycle Hans Selye outlined what is often called the Supercompensation Cycle. See the graph below.
The cycle starts when a training load is introduced (application of stress) which is enough to elicit a response from the body (move is away from homeostasis). The body then responds by repairing and recovering (attempting to return to homeostasis). Ideally, this response rebounds above homeostasis to super compensate in order to be better prepared should the training load (stress) present itself again. In this model, detraining occurs if the body returns to, or dips below, the initial homeostasis level because a training load is not introduced at the right time which will initiate the cycle all over again. Successfully stringing together super compensation cycles improves performance.
Overload In accordance to the Supercompensation Cycle, in order to get the body to adapt, it must be exposed to load greater than it would normally see. Don't confuse overload with simply adding more weight or doing more---is a much more complex idea. Overload is a balance between the timing, volume, and intensity of the load.
Progression As the body super compensates, it is necessary to increase the load in order to provide the necessary stress to trigger the Super Compensation Cycle. Again, progression is a complicated idea that balances timing, volume, and intensity. The graph below shows what can happen when the balance between the timing, volume, and intensity are disturbed.
Specificity The choice of loads and exercises must be specific to the type of strength required and skill related to the particular demands of the event. It makes no sense to build a base it won't support the athlete. This is so important that I will devote a separate post to it.
Designing a good training plan is not difficult, but it takes some though. Taking into consideration the time available to train and how the body responds to the training will set you up for success.