The intensity and duration should be the absolute focal point in the considerations of all your training that day, and the specificity of exercise in your program is absolutely critical to that adaptation.
Cal Dietz has always been one of the most forward-thinking coaches in the world. His presentation on Advanced Principles in Programming from 2012 is no exception to him displaying that. Using the clock, to dictate the intensity and volume of training is nothing short of brilliant. Cal breaks down the reasoning behind it, and why it provides adaptations that are so specific.
The first reason he discusses is specifying the stressor leads to specific adaptations. When you use different stressors (set/rep schemes, intensities, or speeds) there is confusion as to the what’s and where’s the adaptions need to occur. He uses the example of training for both a powerlifting meet, and a marathon. We know that won’t work, and it’s a bit of an extreme example, but this is the basis behind it.
Coach Dietz then dives into why the density of the sets is so important. One reason is that it both drives the adaptation and is driven by competitiveness of the athlete. So, in the same about of time, he’s seeing his athlete’s outputs improve because they compete with themselves. It increased even more when competition between teammates was brought into the picture. It also fits perfectly into his undulating model, which dates back to horse training in the 50’s. This leads him to break down multiple plans using time as the parameter training is based off of, for multiple goals of training including how he peaks his athletes using it.
Cal gives us specific examples of work with his athletes using this method, including the results. One of these examples include his hockey player. He shares all the relevant parameters of the work done with the athletes including what they did, why they did it, and what results they achieved. It also includes video examples of how he modified exercises, and how he progresses from Triphasic to this model in a 16-week plan. He finishes off sharing all of the sequences he uses (progressions) for each exercise, along with sharing where the idea’s come from and what the goal is for each step in the sequence and builds a program right then and there for us to see how he does it.