How to Create a Strength Training ProgramJim Kielbaso MS, CSCS
Strength training program design can get very complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.The bottom line is that you need to develop a well-rounded, comprehensive programthat encourages hard work and progressive overload of the musculature. If thosecomponents are in place, you are well on your way to helping your athletes reap thebenefits of a strength training program.
A strength training program should address every major muscle group in the body:chest, upper back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, neck (for collision sports), abdominals,lower back, hips & glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Certain sports will focusmore on a particular body part or require specialized work on smaller muscle groups(i.e. baseball pitchers will train the rotator cuff extensively), but all major muscle groupsshould be addressed. In general, an equal amount of work should be done on eachside of a joint.Deficiencies can be overcome through strength training, but it generally takesspecialized assessment to determine which muscles are deficient.
In order for any program to be effective, there must be a systematic and progressiveoverload of the musculature. In other words, athletes should systematically attempt toperform more work on a given exercise. For example, an athlete who can perform amaximum of 10 push-ups today should attempt to perform 11 repetitions at some point.When 11 can be performed, 12 should be attempted and so on.Progress can be made through any of the following: increasing the number ofrepetitions, increasing the amount of weight, increasing the number of sets, increasingthe number of training days per week, decreasing the amount of rest time between sets,or a combination of any of these.One of the easiest approaches is called “double progression.” To use this method, startby determining a range of repetitions you are going to use, for example 6-10 reps. If theathlete is unable to perform at least 6 reps, the weight is too heavy. If more than 10reps can be performed, the weight is too light. During each workout, one more repshould be attempted until the top of the range (10 reps in this case) can be performed.When the top of the range is achieved, the weight will be increased at the next workoutby the smallest amount possible.
How many sets?
The number of sets used on an exercise or within a complete workout can vary greatly,but the following guidelines can be used. In most cases, 1-3 sets will be performed foreach exercise and 10-20 sets will be performed in the entire workout.