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General Preparatory Classifications for Division 1 Football
Introduction
Strength and conditioning/sports perf ormance coaches are of ten f aced with concerns about
“individualizing” programs f or their athletes. More times than not, it’s extremely dif f icult to make exact
individual programs f or every dif f erent athlete in the program. Although there are several dif f erent reasons
f or this, lack of time in the day is a large one (especially f or the collegiate strength coach). Here at
Northwestern State University (NSU), we developed a method f or classif ying our athletes to make their
programs/training more individualized.
The yearly plan
Since we consider our approach to training to be based on the conjugate/concurrent eastern European
methods, our classif ication of periods in the annual plan is dif f erent f rom the western classif ication (i.e. in-
season and of f -season). The f irst period is the preparatory period. We separate this into general preparatory
1 (January–March leading up to spring ball), general preparatory 2 (end of spring ball to May), specialized
preparatory 1 (May–June), and specialized preparatory 2 (June–July).
The preparatory period is devoted to all-round physical training. The goal is to gradually prepare the athlete f or
competition and emphasize special physical preparation (SPP). The second period is the competitive period.
The main goal during this phase is high athletic achievement allowing exercise selection to be more specif ic to
the sport (3). We separate this into competitive 1 (spring f ootball) and competitive 2 (in-season/f all f ootball).
It’s important to note that during the competitive 2 period, athletes will either train two, three, or f our days a
week (two day, starters; three day, intermediate playing time; and f our day, redshirts/developmental).
The third period is the transitional or post-competitive period. We separate this into the transitional (post-
spring ball) and post-competitive (post-f all season) phases. The athletes must remain active during this period.
When the training year resumes, the athlete must begin on a higher level than they previously achieved (3).
According to Volkov (1), “Sports training is based on three biological principles: the principle of overload, the
principle of specif icity, and the principle of reversibility of actions.”
Post-competitive
Af ter the f ootball season ended, our team took exactly one week of f (week 1). Then, we f ollowed a f ive-week
general physical preparedness (GPP) program (weeks 2–6) similar to the “Coach X and 62’s GPP Program”
(which is a must buy f or any strength coach at any level). (It can be purchased at www.elitef ts.com.) During
weeks 2–3, the athletes trained with the sports perf ormance staf f here at NSU, and during weeks 4–6, the
athletes were responsible f or training themselves over Christmas break. Weeks 7–14 represented our eight-
week general preparatory 1 program f rom January until the start of spring f ootball practice (March).
Total classification
Athletes were initially classif ied into three categories based on our three main lif ts. We utilize one-repetition
maximums (1RMs) f or the back squat (SQ), bench press (BP), and power clean (PC), our three main lif ts. If you
don’t power clean, you may substitute the deadlif t or trap bar deadlif t (as some of our other sports use these
in place of the PC). We f elt that these lif ts ref lected our program the best, and all of the special exercises we
use are to increase the 1RMs of these three lif ts.
We took each athletes body weight, and utilizing the Schwartz f ormula, f ound the Schwartz body weight
coef f icient. We then multiplied that coef f icient by each athletes’ total (SQ+BP+PC = total). Some of our
athletes didn’t have a max f rom the end of summer (those athletes who saw a signif icant amount of playing
time during the f ootball season—our “two day” and “three day” athletes). With those athletes, we used their
exact body weight when they tested at the end of the summer and their total f rom the end of the summer (their
most recent total). Since the rest of the athletes (those who didn’t play much during the f ootball season—our
“f our day” athletes) tested on week 11 of the f ootball season, we used their body weights and totals f rom that
date. The point here is utilize each athlete’s most recent body weight and total and then use the Schwartz
f ormula with those numbers. The Schwartz f ormula is as f ollows.
Schwartz formula in pounds. The Schwartz f ormula is f or men. This version is with body weight conducted in
BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ
150 .7207 192 .5878 233 .5426 274 .5220 315 .5002 356 .4821
151 .7165 193 .5954 234 .5418 275 .5214 316 .4998 357 .4817
152 .7124 194 .5935 235 .5411 276 5208 317 .4992 358 .4813
153 .7083 195 .5916 236 .5405 277 .5203 318 .4988 359 .4809
154 .7044 196 .5897 237 .5398 278 .5197 319 .4982 360 .4805
155 .7004 197 .5879 238 .5391 279 .5192 320 .4978 361 .4801
156 .6967 198 .5861 239 .5385 280 .5186 321 .4973 362 .4796
157 .6930 199 .5843 240 .5379 281 .5180 322 .4968 . .
158 .6893 200 .5826 241 .5373 282 .5175 323 .4964 . .
159 .6857 201 .5809 242 .5367 283 .5169 324 .4959 . .
160 .6822 202 .5792 243 .5362 284 .5164 325 .4955 . .
161 .6787 203 .5776 244 .5357 285 .5158 326 .4950 . .
162 .6753 204 .5760 245 .5352 286 .5154 327 .4946 . .
163 .6720 205 .5744 246 .5347 287 .5147 328 .4941 . .
164 .6688 206 .5729 247 .5342 288 .5142 329 .4937 . .
165 .6656 207 .5714 248 .5337 289 .5137 330 .4932 . .
166 .6624 208 .5700 249 .5333 290 .5132 331 .4928 . .
167 .6593 209 .5685 250 .5328 291 .5126 332 .4924 . .
168 .6563 210 .5670 251 .5325 292 .5121 333 .4919 . .
169 .6533 211 .5657 252 .5320 293 .5115 334 .4913 . .
pounds. To determine how strong the athletes are “pound-f or-pound,” multiply each athlete’s coef f icient (to
the right of the body weight listed) by his or her total. The resulting f actor is his or her Schwartz f ormula total.
(BWT = body weight; SCHWARTZ = Schwartz f ormula)













BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ BWT SCHWARTZ
170 .6504 212 .5643 253 .5316 294 .5109 335 .4909 . .
171 .6475 213 .5630 254 .5312 295 .5104 336 .4905
172 .6447 214 .5617 255 .5308 296 .5098 337 .4901
173 .6420 215 .5604 256 .5304 297 .5094 338 .4896
174 .6392 216 .5592 257 .5300 298 .5088 339 .4891
175 .6365 217 .5580 258 .5296 299 .5083 340 .4887
176 .6339 218 .5568 259 .5292 300 .5077 341 .4883
177 .6313 219 .5556 260 .5289 301 .5072 342 .4878
178 .6288 220 ..5545 261 .5284 302 .5067 343 .4874
179 .6262 221 .5535 262 .5281 303 .5062 344 .4870
180 .6238 222 .5524 263 .5276 304 .5057 345 .4866
181 .6214 223 .5514 264 .5273 305 .5053 346 .4862
182 .6190 224 .5504 265 .5268 306 .5047 347 .4858
183 .6167 225 .5994 266 5263 307 .5043 348 .4854
184 .6144 226 .5485 267 .5259 308 .5037 349 .4850
186 .6099 227 .5476 268 .5254 309 .5032 350 .4845
187 .6077 228 .5467 269 .5248 310 .5027 351 .4841
188 .6056 229 .5458 270 .5243 311 .5022 352 .4837
189 .6036 230 .5449 271 .5239 312 .5017 353 .4833
190 .6014 231 .5441 272 .5232 313 .5013 354 .4829
191 .5994 232 .5433 273 .5227 314 .5007 355 .4825
Af ter determining how strong each individual athlete was “pound-f or-pound,” we classif ied them into three
categories: all-American, all-Conf erence, and team. The all-Americans are obviously your strongest or elite
athletes pound-f or-pound based on their total f rom the three lif ts. The all-American total classif ication is any
athlete over 620 (again taking their body weight, getting the Schwartz coef f icient, and multiplying that by their
total). The all-Conf erence athletes are those who are your intermediate lif ters. The all-Conf erence total
classif ication is any athlete between 570 and 619. Finally, the team members are your novice lif ters pound-f or-
pound. The team total classif ication is any athlete below 570. For example, let’s say we have an athlete who
weighs 230 lbs, squats 450 lbs, benches 400 lbs, and power cleans 250 lbs. His total would be 1,100 lbs. We
take 1,100 and multiply it by 0.5449 (the Schwartz coef f icient). Our total is 599.4. So this athlete would be
classif ied as all-Conf erence based on his total.
(Note: These numbers are based on the SQ, BP, and PC totals. If you utilize the deadlif t/trap bar deadlif t, you
must increase these numbers.)
Individual lift classification
Af ter you determine how strong the athletes are pound-f or-pound based on their totals, it’s time to f igure out
how strong the athletes are pound-f or-pound based on each individual lif t (SQ, BP, and PC). We f eel that this
is by f ar the most important part of the classif ication because of the dif f erences in lower, upper, and total
body strength. For example, let’s say we have an athlete who weighs 230 lbs, has a 450 lb SQ, a 400 lb BP, and
a 250 lb PC. He would be an all-Conf erence in the SQ, an all-American in the BP, and a team in the PC.
You’ll most likely have athletes who are a dif f erent classif ication in at least one category (i.e. SQ: all-American,
BP: all-Conf erence, PC: all-Conf erence) and f ew athletes who are just one classif ication in all three categories
(i.e. SQ: all-Conf erence, BP: all-Conf erence, PC: all-Conf erence). Hence, it’s important to not only classif y the
athletes based on their total (SQ+BP+PC), but also on each individual lif t if you want to maximize results.
If we take the f irst example (230 lbs, 450 lb SQ, 400 lb BP, and 250 lb PC), here’s what it would look like: squat
—245.2 (0.5449 x 450 lbs), bench—217.96 (0.5449 x 400 lbs), and power clean—136.22 (0.5449 x 250 lbs). So
this athlete would be on three dif f erent programs during the week even though he’s classif ied as all-
Conf erence f or his total (1,100 total or 599.4). During the training week, he would do all-Conf erence squat
workouts (Monday and Thursday), all-American bench workouts (Tuesday and Friday), and team power
clean/deadlif t workouts (Thursday)
(Note: There aren’t any set standards f or ranking individual lif ts based on body weight. Athletes should be
based and/or ranked on the standards that you see f it as well as on the preparedness level of your
athletes.)
Post-break
Bef ore we get started with the all-American, all-Conf erence, and team programs, it’s important to note that
each athlete must report back f rom Christmas break at a certain goal body weight. The f irst week that they’re
back a preliminary testing is perf ormed to ensure that each athlete was accountable enough over the break to
train consistently. Our two and three day athletes (f rom the season who didn’t test f rom the end of the
summer) must achieve a minimum of 85 percent of their 1RM in all three lif ts (SQ, BP, and PC). The f our day
athletes (those who tested in week 11 of the f ootball season) must achieve a minimum of 90 percent of their
1RM in all three lif ts. This is because the f our day athletes utilized a much more intense strength training
regimen in-season than the two or three day athletes.
These minimum percentages (85–90 percent) should not represent their 1RM at that time. Most athletes
should be able to do much more than the minimum if they were dedicated to training over the break. This not
only shows us who trained and who didn’t over the break, but it also ensures that all athletes have a high
enough level of absolute strength (5) to begin a more intense strength training regimen without risking injury.
All-American
According to Zatsiorsky (4), strength can be classif ied according to the methods of achieving maximal
muscular tension in one of three ways—max ef f ort (ME), repeated ef f ort (RE), and dynamic ef f ort (DE). Since
the all-Americans are the advanced lif ters, they may utilize special (ME) exercises more f requently than
intermediate (all-Conf erence) or novice (team) athletes. All-Americans will rotate all ME exercises in a two-week
wave and deload the third week. In the f irst week of a ME wave, athletes will work up to 92 percent f or one rep
(92/1), and in the second week, they’ll work up to 101/1. Since there must always be an overload in order to
develop strength, the same 1RM achieved previously by the athlete is never used again. Every time we create
an overload, the nervous system responds with renewed excitability (2).
According to the principle of progressive resistance, workloads must be above those normally encountered f or
muscle strength to increase (4). On “traditional DE days,” athletes will begin weeks 7–8 with RE work with f ree
weights (FW) only. For weeks 9–13, they’ll begin true DE work. During weeks 9–11, athletes will attach chains
(40–80 lbs total) when utilizing the SQ and BP DE exercises. During weeks 12–13, they will use bands on all DE
work in the SQ and BP. As f or pulling, during weeks 7–9, the athletes will do deadlif ts with chains. In weeks 10–
11, they’ll do a hang clean (HC), and in weeks 12–13, they’ll do power cleans (PC). All assistance exercises
were done in a three-week wave of isomiometric, submax eccentric, and dynamic. The basic all-American
template is as f ollows:
All-American, 8-Week General Preparatory 1 Basic Template
Monday (LB) Tuesday (UB) Wednesday Thursday (LB) Friday (UB)
Week Exercise % Method Exercise % Method of f Exercise % Method Exercise % Method
7 Back SQ 85–
90
ME Bench
Press
85–
90
ME Power
Clean
85–
90
ME
Box SQ
(FW)
65 RE BP (FW) 65 RE
8 Special 92 ME Special 92 ME DL
(chains)
70 RE
Clean 65 DE
Pull
(chains)
Box SQ
(FW)
70 RE BP (FW) 70 RE
9 Special 101 ME Special 101 ME DL
(chains)
75 RE
Clean
Pull
(chains)
75 DE
Box SQ
(chains)
55 DE BP
(chains)
60 DE
10 L.A.T.T. 55 Deload DB BP 55 Deload Hang
Clean
70 DE
Box SQ
(chains)
60 DE BP
(chains)
60 DE
11 Special 92 ME Special 92 ME Hang
Clean
80 DE
Box SQ
(chains)
65 DE BP
(chains)
60 DE
12 Special 101 ME Special 101 ME Power
Clean
80 DE
Box SQ
(bands)
50 DE BP
(bands)
55 DE
13 L.A.T.T. 55 Deload BP
Variation
55 Deload Power
Clean
90 ME
Box SQ
(bands)
53 DE BP
(bands)
55 DE
14 Back
Squat
101 ME Bench
Press
101 ME Power
Clean
101 ME Team
(test) (test) (test) Comps
Assistance exercises: (1) isomiometric, 3 X 6 (6s-5s-4s-3s-2s-1s); (2) submax eccentric, 3 X 8 (5s down); (3) dynamic, 3 X 10
(normal/controlled speed)
All-Conference
Since all-Conf erence athletes are your intermediate level lif ters, they can do special exercises more f requently
than team athletes but less than all-Americans. All the ME waves f or all-Conf erence athletes will be in three
weeks instead of two weeks as with the all-Americans. For the f irst week (of a ME wave), they’ll work up to a
5RM (approximately 85 percent), and f or the second week, they’ll work up to a 3RM (approximately 92 percent).
In the third week, they’ll do a 1RM (approximately 101 percent).
This three week wave enhances the time that the athletes are under tension f or special exercises, and it also
gives them an extra week f or their bodies to learn and adapt to the ME movement. Similar to the extra ME work,
the all-Conf erence athletes will spend more time doing RE work than the all-Americans. They’ll also spend more
time doing deadlif ts and true PC. However, like the all-Americans, their assistance wave is the same
(isomiometric, submax eccentric, and dynamic). The basic all-Conf erence template is as f ollows:
All-Conference, 8-Week General Preparatory 1 Basic Template
Monday (LB) Tuesday (UB) Wednesday Thursday (LB) Friday (UB)
Week Exercise % Method Exercise % Method of f Exercise % Method Exercise % Method
Team, 8-Week General Preparatory 1 Basic Template
7 Back SQ 85–
90
ME Bench
Press
85–
90
ME Power
Clean
85–
90
ME
Box SQ
(FW)
65 RE BP (FW) 65 RE
8 Special 85 ME Special 85 ME DL 70 RE
(5RM) (5RM) Clean
Pull
65 DE
Box SQ
(FW)
70 RE BP (FW) 70 RE
9 Special 92 ME Special 92 ME DL 75 RE
(3RM) (3RM) Clean
Pull
75 DE
Box SQ
(FW)
70 RE BP (FW) 70 RE
10 Special 101 ME Special 101 ME DL 85 RE
(1RM) (1RM) Clean
Pull
80 DE
Box SQ
(chains)
65 RE BP
(chains)
65 RE
11 L.A.T.T. 55 Deload DB BP 55 Deload Power
Clean
70 DE
Box SQ
(chains)
70 RE BP
(chains)
70 RE
12 Special 92 ME Special 92 ME Power
Clean
80 DE
(3RM) (3RM) Box SQ
(chains)
75 RE BP
(chains)
75 RE
13 Special 101 ME Special 101 ME Power
Clean
90 ME
(1RM) (1RM) Box SQ
(FW)
65 DE BP (FW) 65 DE
14 Back
Squat
101 ME Bench
Press
101 ME Power
Clean
101 ME Team
(test) (test) (test) Comps
Assistance exercises: (1) isomiometric, 3 X 6 (6s-5s-4s-3s-2s-1s); (2) submax eccentric, 3 X 8 (5s down); (3) dynamic, 3 X 10
(normal/controlled speed)
Team
Since team athletes are your novice lif ters and need to learn the basics f irst, special exercises are limited.
Much time is spent with the classical lif ts f or the team lif ters because they must neurologically learn and excel
at the movements bef ore they’re ready f or special exercises. Monday is the regular back squat with 40 lbs of
chains (20 lbs on each side), and Tuesday is the regular bench press with the same amount of chains. On
Thursday, the team athletes perf orm the deadlif t f rom weeks 8–12 and then PC on week 13 bef ore they test.
Team athletes will also incorporate submax eccentric work f rom weeks 7–10 on Thursdays (box squat) and
Fridays (bench press). For weeks 11–13, they’ll still box squat and bench but with “dynamic” (normal speed)
movements (no submax eccentric work). The assistance exercises are done in a f our-week wave, adding an
extra week to adapt unlike the all-American and all-Conf erence athletes. The basic team template is as f ollows:
Monday(LB) Tuesday (UB) Wednesday Thursday(LB) Friday (UB)
Week Exercise % Method Exercise % Method of f Exercise % Method Exercise % Method
7 Back SQ 85–
90
ME Bench
Press
85–
90
ME Power
Clean
85–
90
ME
Box SQ-
FW
BP-FW
(submax
ecc)
55 RE (submax
ecc)
55 RE
8 SQ
(chains)
50 RE BP
(chains)
50 RE DL 70 RE
Clean
Pull
65 DE
Box SQ-
FW
BP-FW
(submax
ecc)
60 RE (submax
ecc)
60 RE
9 SQ
(chains)
60 RE BP
(chains)
60 RE DL 75 RE
Clean
Pull
70 DE
Box SQ-
FW
BP-FW
(submax
ecc)
65 RE (submax
ecc)
65 RE
10 SQ
(chains)
70 RE BP
(chains)
70 RE DL 85 RE
Clean
Pull
75 DE
Box SQ-
FW
BP-FW
(submax
ecc)
70 RE (submax
ecc)
70 RE
11 SQ
(chains)
80 RE BP
(chains)
80 RE DL 80 RE
Clean
Pull
80 DE
Box SQ
(FW)
65 RE BP (FW) 65 RE
12 L.A.T.T. 55 Deload DB BP 55 Deload DL 85 RE
Clean
Pull
85 DE
Box SQ
(FW)
70 RE BP (FW) 70 RE
13 SQ 92 ME BP 92 ME Power
Clean
90 ME
Box SQ
(FW)
80 RE BP (FW) 80 RE
14 Back
Squat
101 ME Bench
Press
101 ME Power
Clean
101 ME Team
(test) (test) (test) Comps
Assistance exercises: (1) isomiometric, 3 X 6 (6s-5s-4s-3s-2s-1s); (2) submax eccentric, 3 X 8 (5s down); (3) dynamic, 3 X 10
(normal/controlled speed); (4) dynamic, 3 X 12
Special thanks to Ben Larson (NSU Assistant Director of Sports Perf ormance), Brian Hill (NSU Sports
Perf ormance Assistant), and Mike Wendel (NSU Sports Perf ormance Assistant) f or all of their help and input
with the program.
References
1. Volkov N (1974) The Logic of Sports Training. Legkaya Atletika 10: 22–23. Translated and cited in the Yessis
Review of Soviet Physical Education and Sports (now the Soviet Sports Review) (1975) 10(2).
2. Yessis M (1981) The Key to Strength Development: Variety. National Strength and Conditioning Association
Journal 3: 32–34.
3. Yessis M (1981) The Soviet Sports Training System—The Yearly Cycle. National Strength and Conditioning
Association Journal; Trends in Soviet Strength Conditioning 3: 20–23.
4. Zatsiorsky VM (1992) Intensity of Strength Training Facts and Theory: Russian and Eastern European
Approach. National Strength and Conditioning Association Journal 14(5): 46–57.
5. Zatsiorsky VM (1995) Science and Practice of Strength Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
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