Safe Effective Strength Training
January 17 "Any fool can criticize, condem, and complain - and most foos do." -Dale Carnegie -Emerson
We have two e-mails. The first from Coach Bill McGee, from Lake Forrest, Illinois who has received help setting up his school’s program from some of the best strength coaches in the business. The second is from Chris Rowley, an athlete looking for training advice.
Dear Coach Rody,
Please add Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois to your list of high school athletic programs that promote a safe, non-Olympic, minimal-risk of being sued programs. I have had the pleasure of receiving much help from the likes of Kim Wood (Cincinnati Bengals), Ken Mannie (Michigan State), and Dan Riley (Houston Texans, formerly Washington Redskins) over the years in formulating, developing, and implementing our strength and conditioning programs. All of these individuals have never hesitated in taking time out of their busy schedules to teach me many valuable things.
Great site, Coach. Keep up the good work!
Lake Forest Academy
Thanks for the support. We will add Lake Forest to our Team's Page.
I am 19 years old and want to develop functional strength and power in my whole body. I would class myself as an intermediate athlete as I have always been involved with sports, and their training since a young age. However my training programs, particularly in the weight room have up to now only relied upon my limited knowledge and I think they have not been as effective as they could be.
I wanted to know your advice regarding a resistance training program
that would be suitable for me.
I would really appreciate your advice on a topic, which to me seems to
be surrounded in contradictions. Thanks a lot.
Since you consider yourself an intermediate athlete and have lifting experience and want to lift 3 days per week, I suggest that you train your body over a 3 day/week program splitting your body parts having a push and pull day. You should respond to this type of split well. I would definitely limit your sets and do suggest the 1 set protocol for all exercises. If you choose about 6-8 push exercises and 6-8 pull exercises, I think that would be sufficient.
The keys to a successful strength training program would be training with as high intensity as possible, getting adequate nutrition, and getting sufficient rest. Do not underestimate the importance of recovery. It is absolutely crucial to making progress. The above suggested split routine provides enough rest because you are training each muscle group every 4-5 days. After using this split for a while and find your gains slowing a little then it will be time to reduce the frequency a little training each area less often. In other words, the harder you train and the more experience you are in lifting the more rest you may require depending on the individual. When this time comes get in touch with us again and we can lay out some details for the reduced frequency approach.
As far as exercises are concerned, we do suggest exercises that train multiple muscle groups being the primary exercises that you perform. Single joint exercises can also be incorporated but must be limited for reasons of the possibility of over-training the small muscles.
The squat can be a very productive exercise. The leg press is also a good exercise if performed on a good machine. We do advocate the use of free weights or machines or a combination of both. Do not let anyone tell that machines are inferior for gaining strength for sports because it is just not true. Muscles don’t have eyes. They don’t care where the resistance comes from. There is nothing magical about a bar.
Be very careful not to perform too many exercises per muscle group. For example, do not perform the bench press, incline press, and decline press. This is way to many exercises for that particular muscle group. Just because an exercise exists does not mean you need to do it. Variety is over-rated. Stick to some basic exercises and if you want to switch after 3-4 months then that is fine. That way you can track your strength gains efficiently.
If you come to a point where you are not progressing, let us know before you reduce your frequency, we might be able to offer some advice to kick start your gains again. Another thing we will address is that a progression chart should be used. It is the goal of the athlete to increase the reps or weight or both every time you train a particular muscle group.
We believe that strength training is strength training regardless of sport. We do not believe an athlete needs to perform certain exercises for a certain sport. It is important that you train the entire body, concentrating on strength in all exercises and then go out and practice your sport.
With sufficient practice, the added strength will allow you to perform those skills with more power and explosiveness. Training the neuromuscular system to become efficient in certain skills is crucial if you are seeking to be the best you can be at that sport.
Lastly, it is difficult to lay out all the details of the program through e-mail. We do provide a manual if you are interested in those details. See our resources page for details. Hope this helps and good luck in your training. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to e-mail us. We will be happy to help you in your quest for strength.
***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the StrongerAthlete.com website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***