Preparing young athletes

When I was in my first off-season program as a player, I stepped into the weight room all 5’5 135lbs of clumsy non-athlete, and was thrown to the wolves. In my first week I: benched, power cleaned, squatted, dead lifted, and ran stadiums with the veterans.

That Thursday night I was in pain, agony, and it wasn’t just because my body had never been tested (which it hadn’t). A young growing body was asked to do complex lifts without having the building blocks readily accessible. Today, the literature and science has improved greatly and S&C coaches understand building a body from the ground up.

Step 1: BW is the key, gain functional strength.
Push up Circ (reg, wide, diamond)
Bridges/Crunches
Pull-ups
Bend-up/Neck-up
BW Walking Lunges/Knee to Chest
Air Squats
Dips/Curls
Jump Ropes/Box Jumps/Dots

Step 2: incr functionality and flexibility
Physio Ball Push Ups
Bridge Circuit (reg and on each side)/Crunches
Pull-ups
Bend-up/Neck-up
DB Walking Lunges/Knee to Chest
SLDL/Good Mornings
Plate Squats
Dips/Curls/RB extentions
Jump Ropes/Box Jumps/Dots

Step 3: incorporate more weights with DB and MB
Everything in ‘Step 2’ +
Plate Cleans
MB Circuit (2 feet)
MB Slam
Shrugs
Standing Sh Press
DB Rows

Step 4: your players are ready to start some main lifts such as bench and squat
Bench
Wide Grip Bench
DB Press
Barrel Hugs (we don’t do flys)
Plate Cleans
Shrugs/Curls
Dips/Curls
Standing Sh Press
DB Rows
Bend-up/Neck-up
MB Slams
MB Circuit
Pull Ups
Push-Up Circuit
Bridge Circ/Crunches
DB Walking Lunges w Knee to Chest
Squats
1-leg Squats
SLDL/Good Mornings
Jump Ropes/Boxes/Dots

Step 5: We become more complex
Step 4 +
Duck Press (Incline, alternating, hanging, DB Press)
Plate Push-ups
Towel Pull-Ups
Sandbag Cleans
DB Walking Lunges (fwd and backwards)
Heavy Ropes Circuit
Front Squat

Step 6: Complex
Step 4 and 5 +
Chain Bench
Push and Row
DB or OB Power Cleans
Overhead Squat

As you can see, our workouts start very simple, using body weight and are designed to gain muscle endurance, flexibility, and balance. With each ‘step’ we add weights and more complex exercises. We build up to lifts like the power clean, squat, and bench. An 8th grader that’s never lifted before should never walk in and start on those lifts. A veteran player that’s been out of his weight program during time off, for instance without an S&C class during school, we gave our players off November-Jan 13. Jan 14 we started back up MTR from 3-430. The guys playing basketball, baseball, and soccer missed out (we don’t have wrassling or lacrosse). Once soccer and basketball ended (Feb 5th) they worked in with the “green” squad. The more experienced of those players quickly moved into the “blue” or vet group. We lose our baseball kids until April.

Dottavio.

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