The Performance Block

The Foundation Program, which is detailed in the book Movement Over Maxes, is built around 3 blocks of development.  Those blocks are titled Positions, Patterning, and Performance.  Each has a specific place and purpose in the grand scheme of producing a well moving, strong athlete with a solid foundation for future development.

The Performance Block is the final block in the Foundation Program. It is in place to accelerate development. The block begins to blend the Patterning Block with heavier strength work. The goal is to now gain strength in the patterns developed. The Performance Block is where an athlete’s training can branch out in many directions, depending on the coach and athlete.

The program is built around a true high-low system with 3 main training days due to increasing demands. The other 2 days are dropped or reserved for recovery-based training. Within the training sessions themselves an undulating model, where intensity and volume are waved through the week, can be used.

Weights will range from light to heavy throughout the weekly microcyle. The movements in the Performance Block are now able to branch out beyond the main movements of the Big 5 patterns into advancements.

Details of the Performance Block

Goal

The Performance Block is in place to perform. It is there to strengthen the foundation that has previously been built.  The Big 5 movement patterns should be technically locked in allowing for greater loads as well as advancements to be used.

Frequency

Ideally the Performance Block is built around a true High / Low system over the course of a weekly microcycle. One day is reserved for high intensity means of strengthening the athlete, the other is used as low intensity recovery or removed from the program based upon time and scheduling.

Intensity

The intensity throughout the Performance Block can continually rise. It is in place to build strength.  As the block progresses intensity can continue to go up to a peak.  The weights used however will be variable throughout the week.  An undulating system is introduced so as not to overload each pattern continuously throughout the week.  High, medium, and low intensities are all utilized on the main training days.

Movements

The Big 5 patterns as well as their advancements will be used.

Duration

There really is no line drawn in the sand as to a finish of the Performance Block. Over the course of weeks and/or months, coaches can allow athletes to work into a rep max or heavy single. From there percentages can be utilized for further programming if necessary.  Again, the backdrop of each block should be technically sound movement always. Athletes who aren’t technically sound at heavier weights must be shut down from progressing further and continue to develop at that current weight. Allowing an athlete to break down on a heavier rep max set means the athlete is not prepared for that weight.

Skipping over early levels in the developmental process of basic movement forces athletes to stall or even regress in training wasting previous time. These athletes are those that haven’t learned correct patterns and breakdown as the training advances.  A house built upon sand is easily washed away.  Build a foundation of movement so that it cannot be washed away easily.