Phase 2: How You Should Start Young Athletes in the Weight Room

TAGS: training volume, movement patterns, young athletes, technique, stability, Jeremy Frey

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Okay, so hopefully, phase 1 goes well. The biggest focus in the first phase is mostly bodyweight movements to light work, focusing on movement patterns and work capacity. I have to say that when working with individuals, you will adjust, and you might add things or subtract. Programs are meant to be dynamic.


PHASE 1: How You Should Start Young Athletes in the Weight Room


In the next phase, we will focus on developing more stability, and we will introduce movement patterns that the athlete will need down the road.

The first two weeks would be as follows:

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Day 1 Notes

We will introduce the acceptance of force/deceleration training through a simple depth drop. We will do this off a 6” box as high as 12”. You want the athlete to step off the box and land on both feet in an athletic position. You will also focus on glute activation and always strengthen behind the knee.

We will introduce the front squat. They will already be very familiar with the movement pattern, but now, we will add a barbell into the equation. Ideally, you will use a “female” barbell that is about 35 pounds. Starting with a lighter weight always helps. You never want to overload an individual before he or she is ready to perform it correctly. This should be performed with the bar racked on the shoulder, just like a clean would be. It should be done with weight on the heels, with the heels elevated on 5-pound plates. It should be performed with the best range of motion an athlete can do with the proper technique. Butt to ankles would be nice. The plates will be taken out over time. We will use them early on to stay back on the heels and work in the range of motion.

Make sure that with the planks, we keep the abs and glutes tight, holding them in a parallel position to the floor. If their feet keep moving back, tell then to drive their bodyweight down through their elbows.

Day 2 Notes

We start off with glute activation with a band squat. This is done with the body weight and a short mini band wrapped around the knee. Squat in the full range of motion, and drive/keep the knees open.

We will start to incorporate unilaterally loaded movements with a single-arm lunge and step-up. You will hold one dumbbell. If you are holding on your right side, you will lunge with your left leg forward. This movement is stationary. The shoulder should stay square just like with your suitcase holds. This will offer more in the way of stability.

We are also incorporating overhead pulls. If your athlete can perform pull-ups, you can add those in, but we need a strict technique; no quipping.

Day 3 Notes

We are moving back to the front squat again. We will limit the range of motion this time by squatting to a box height of 13-15 inches. We want a very soft touch on this box with no rocking whatsoever. The heels are not elevated here, as we are continuing to work on sitting back on the heels.

We are incorporating a lateral movement as well. The lateral squat is done in a lateral split position. Start with the bodyweight, and work on staying on the heel. Do not alternate; just do one side, then the other. If you are squatting to the right, your right foot should be slightly more forward than your left foot is. This will help them to stay on the heel better and to load the hips.

A crunch series is performed with the knees bent, feet flat on the floor for 10 reps. Then, feet up off the ground with the knees bent for 10 reps. Lastly, you will put the feet on the ceiling and do toe touches for 10 reps. This is all done consecutively and counts as one set.

The following weeks are as follows:

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We will keep movements the same but manipulate the volume and intensity. Overall, this is still teaching a lot of lightweight movements with a moderate to high amount of volume. Weights can increase as long as movement patterns are not compromised. DO NOT sacrifice technique for weight. They are young and just learning. We have a long way to go. Nothing needs to be complicated.

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