This article is guest blogged by Lee Ness, a UKA qualified Event Group Coach for Sprints and Hurdles, the Head Coach/Sprint Coach at City of Salisbury Athletics, and Running Club and Track and Field Team Manager for Wiltshire Athletics Association.
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Complex Variation Training
I wrote in a previous article that I had used the complex variation method (CVM) of training in the last year, and I thought it might be worth explaining more about it. I would strongly recommend it, and although my ‘system’ will change this year, I will continue to use CVM to overlay it.
Traditional ‘Block’ Training
I have used traditional block training methods in the past successfully, and I will no doubt use them again. In most block training periodizations, the blocks are followed sequentially in a progressive manner. I will not detail periodization here as many have done that before me, and all are variations on Anatoliy Bondarchuk’s original. However, I will describe the terms I will use as they apply to both and how this works for a basic block periodization.
General Preparatory Exercise (GPE)
This is primarily ‘training to train’ exercises such as general strength, core work, flexibility, general fitness and coordination.
Special Preparatory Exercise (SPE)
These are applicable exercises to the event such as drills, plyometrics, special strength or weights exercises.
Specific Development Exercise (SDE)
These exercises develop the event-specific skills and capabilities such as hill sprints, tempo work, special endurance and lactic threshold work.
Competitive Exercises (CE)
Exercises that have a direct correlation to the event. These will include acceleration at full pace, race pacing and maximum speed running.
In a very simple block training periodization macrocycle, the programme will progress from GPE to SPE to SDE and finally to CE. There will be overlaps, and the phases will not be of equal size but they will move through in sequence.
Complex Variation Method (CVM)
In the CVM, each of the four basic modalities is covered in each training session. The depth of penetration is more limited but as each modality is covered for the whole year, the overall effect is theoretically better.
The best way of explaining this is to give an example of a CVM session plan that I used this year.
One thing I will say with CVM is that the planning and preparation as a coach is more difficult. I have to be able to not only plan the progressions across the macrocycle, I also have to carefully manage timings on the day. Over and above this, I have hurdlers, short sprinters and long sprinters in two groups; senior and youth. The session above is the senior group session.
Complex Variation Method is a tough one to coach, but there are two huge advantages. First is that for the athletes, they get so much more out of a single session when we have a limited time to train (and for them, the session flies by).
Second, is that I can develop everything at once, for the whole year and still carefully manage their overtraining and recovery. I would highly recommend it.
SIDENOTE: I have lots of other sessions dotted on my own blog site if you want to see them. I don’t post them all, just when I can remember, but it will give you an idea. The blog (newpersonalbest.co.uk) is only aimed at my own group, so the information is scant and doesn’t contain any articles, but feel free to ask if you have questions.
About the Author
My name is Lee Ness. I am a UKA qualified Event Group Coach for Sprints and Hurdles, the Head Coach/Sprint Coach at City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club and Track and Field Team Manager for Wiltshire Athletics Association. I’ve been coaching track and filed for around 7 years. I coach all the sprints, from 60m to 400m plus the long and sprint hurdles. In my sprint group I have 36 sprinters and 10 hurdlers of various ages, starting from 13. In my group I have three athletes in the UK top 10 rankings for their event.
I write about sports performance in general and have written a book called The Sports Motivation Masterplan which will be released on September 1, 2014 by December House. The book is a support guide for athletes and parents, helping them with the role of mentor through their journey from young aspiring athlete, to elite performer.