Two installments into his presentation from the 2018 elitefts Sports Performance Summit, Jim Wendler has discussed the level or preparedness of youth athletes today and the events that led to him taking over a failing football team at London High School. For part three, in this video Wendler shares the actual design of the training program. Each session is divided into several parts and is designed to be very simple and efficient.

1. Mobility and Gymnastic Movements

This warm-up consists of the same basic components every time, with very little variation. One of the reasons this stays basically the same for each session is that the coaches ask the team leaders to run this section of the workout. This gives the older athletes an opportunity to lead the team and build the relationships they need on the field. Wendler also notes a strong correlation between proficiency in gymnastic movements and performance on the field. These movements are great for improving body awareness for the athletes and helping them know where their bodies are in space. They'll do forward rolls, cartwheels, jumps onto boxes, and other similar movements, often done in succession to increase difficulty.

2. Jumping

Every workout will have a form of jumps included. Wendler has adjusted volume over time to find the edge, and has discovered that 20 jumps is the most he will do, with most workouts including 10 to 15. Before the athletes begin jumping, they must learn to land and absorb force properly. Wendler says that he also has to teach them to jump with both feet because of their lack of ability. Most of the athletes perform "easy" jumps, which include jumping and sticking the landing. More experienced athletes can do bounding, where they step off the box, touch the ground for as short of time as possible, and jump onto another box. This is better for stronger athletes and lighter bodyweight athletes.

3. Lifting and Running

Lifting occurs three times per week, and after each of those lifting sessions the athletes also run. Each lifting session is dedicated to one main barbell lift. This enables the athletes to have complete focus on that one lift for the training session, The idea is to pick one thing that is important and put absolute focus on that, which will keep the athletes on track. This main lift is done for sub-maximal reps with weights between 50% and 75%. After the main lift, there are two assistance exercises. Assistance exercises are selected so that each session includes some kind of squat, some kind of bench, and some kind of pull. For instance, a session might consist of barbell bench press, dumbbell squat, and dumbbell straight leg deadlift. After the assistance exercises, the athletes run.

Including the mobility and gymnastics warm-up, jumps, main lifts, assistance exercises, and running, Wendler says these sessions take roughly 75 minutes. The training is incredibly efficient, for several reasons. First, you don't need to spend a lot of time training to get results. Working long hours doesn't mean anything other than that you're working long hours; quality is always better than quantity and your training should reflect that. Second, most of the athletes work jobs. Because London is a working-class town, the kids need to finish their training and get to their jobs. Third, Wendler actually wants the athletes to show up. If the sessions take three and a half hours, they're never going to want to be there. And finally, Wendler doesn't want to be there forever either. Everything they do in the weight room matters, and he won't waste his time making the kids do stuff that isn't important

As his final point, Wendler shares a number of principles he believes are important in training these high school football players:

  • Don't kill them. They don't need to be puking at the end of their workouts and they don't need to wake up the next day feeling terrible.
  • Don't keep record boards. The athletes don't need to chase numbers, because their numbers don't matter. Wendler's athletes train very light compared to their maxes and this helps keep the focus on the stuff that matters instead of allowing form to go to shit for the sake of making a record board.
  • Get better over four years, not eight weeks. There's no reason to rush the athletes to try to push insane increases in training weight and reps over a short period of time. Small increases over time will get them where they need to be.

WATCH: Jim Wendler's 2018 elitefts Sports Performance Summit Presentation — Taking Over A Failing High School Football Team