NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL

PTJ 12.2
APRIL / MAY 2013 | CONDITIONING FUNDAMENTALS
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL
PTJ 12.2
ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
The NSCA’s Performance Training
Journal (ISSN: 2157-7358) is a
publication of the National Strength
and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
The PTJ publishes basic educational
information for Associate and
Professional Members of the NSCA.
These groups include novice personal
trainers, novice strength coaches,
and training enthusiasts. The journal’s
mission is to publish articles that
provide basic, practical information
that is research-based.
Copyright 2013 by the National
Strength and Conditioning
Association. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: The statements and
comments in the NSCA’s Performance
Training Journal are those of the
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and not of the National Strength
and Conditioning Association.
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endorsement for the quality or value
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or of the claims made for it by its
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NSCA Mission
As the worldwide authority on
strength and conditioning, we
support and disseminate research-
based knowledge and its practical
application, to improve athletic
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EDITORIAL OFFICE
1885 Bob Johnson Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906
Phone: 719.632.6722
EDITOR
T. Jeff Chandler, EdD, CSCS,*D,
NSCA-CPT,*D, FNSCA
email: jchandler@jsu.edu
MANAGING EDITOR
Britt Chandler, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D
email: scjmanagingeditor@gmail.com
PUBLISHER
Keith Cinea, MA, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D
email: keith.cinea@nsca.com
SENIOR PUBLICATIONS COORDINATOR
Matthew Sandstead
email: matthew.sandstead@nsca.com
PUBLICATIONS COORDINATOR
Cody Urban
email: cody.urban@nsca.com
EDITORIAL REVIEW PANEL
Scott Cheatham, DPT, OCS, ATC,
CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Meredith Hale-Griffin, MS, CSCS
Ed McNeely, MS
Mike Rickett, MS, CSCS
Chad D. Touchberry, PhD, CSCS
Joel Bergeron, MS, CSCS,*D
Nicole Dabbs, MS
Samuel Gardner, MS, CSCS, RSCC,
USATF, USA-W Dual Certified: Level
1 Weightlifting Coach and Sports
Performance Coach
Joshua West, MA, CSCS
Andy Khamoui, MS, CSCS
Scott Austin, MS, CSCS
Adam Feit, MS, CSCS
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2
2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 3
FEATURES
COLUMNS
TRAINING TABLE
ANEMIA IN ATHLETES
DEBRA WEIN, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, NSCA-CPT,*D AND ALLISON WOOD
Anemia is a disorder that often leaves a person lethargic, fatigued, and easily exhausted. Covered in this article will be the
most common types of anemia. While a lot is still unknown about the effects of regular exercise for anemia sufferers, some
studies have suggested that a strength and conditioning program could be a promising treatment. This article will address
these studies and provide suggestions for athletes with anemia.
18
PERSONAL TRAINING FOR PERFORMANCE
PREPARING THE BODY FOR MOVEMENT: MEDICINE BALL WARM-UP
CHAT WILLIAMS, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, FNSCA
There are varieties of different warm-up routines that can be used prior to starting a workout session. Medicine balls are
very versatile in their uses and can be a very practical tool in developing warm-up routines. This article will give several
examples of lesser-known medicine ball exercises and explain in detail how to perform each one properly.
BASIC PROGRAM DESIGN FOR HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES
PATRICK MCHENRY, MA, CSCS,*D, RSCC, USAW
The design of a high school program depends on the specific sport, the time of year, and the individual goals of the athlete.
This article will present a yearlong schedule of when certain types of training should be used and provide sample programs
and examples of specific training phases.
09
CONDITIONING FOR SPORTS
JOHN CISSIK, MS, MBA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Athletes from different sports require vastly different conditioning programs in order to get the maximal benefits from
training. This article will delve into analyzing the sporting event, choosing the conditioning tools, and developing the proper
program.
06
SHOULD YOUR ATHLETES PERFORM LOW-INTENSITY CARDIO?
MIKE ROBERTSON, MS, CSCS, USAW
An often forgotten tool that should be in every coach’s or personal trainer’s toolbox is the type of program that features
low-intensity cardiovascular training. This article will explore the value of this training method for athletes of certain sports,
people with high resting heart rates, or those with poor aerobic fitness levels, and help readers determine the appropriate
population for this type of training.
04
14
YOUTH ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT
DIFFERENTIATING STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FUNDAMENTALS
FOR TRAINING CHILDREN AND YOUTH
RICK HOWARD, MED, CSCS,*D
It is important to know the distinction between children, youth, and adults. This article will provide recommendations for
how to develop strength and conditioning programs for both children and youth, and different considerations to take into
account for each when designing programs.
20
4
FEATURE ARTICLE
SHOULD YOUR ATHLETES
PERFORM LOW-INTENSITY
CARDIO?
MIKE ROBERTSON, MS, CSCS, USAW
T
he benefits of incorporating long duration, low-intensity methods of
cardiovascular training have been minimized in recent years. Due to the
overpowering emphasis of the pop-fitness community, combined with
America’s love for fat loss and body composition related training methods, many
sports coaches now rely exclusively on anaerobic and glycolytic methods of energy
system development for their athletes. Their thinking is simple: “I’m going to work
my athletes as hard as possible so they’re ready to compete.” However, while these
means are ideal for promoting fat loss or improving body composition, they are
not ideal for all team-sport athletes.
The next question becomes, how does a coach or personal trainer know when
long duration, low-intensity cardiovascular training will be of benefit to specific
athletes? For example, an athlete with poor aerobic fitness (as evidenced by a
high resting heart rate, poor heart rate recovery, and/or low anaerobic threshold)
would be the most likely to benefit from this type of training. This is because
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 5
FEATURE ARTICLE
SHOULD YOUR ATHLETES PERFORM
LOW-INTENSITY CARDIO?
these athletes would not be able to perform at a high level for an
extended period of time. These team-sport athletes may be able
to go hard at the onset of a game or match, but they will also have
a tendency to “gas out.” Prescribing low-intensity cardio to their
workout regimen may be a more effective route when it comes
to developing a strength and conditioning program for these
individuals.
Assessing a person’s resting heart rate is an important step in the
process of determining which type of workout program to assign
to certain athletes. While it may appear simple at first glance,
measuring resting heart rate can give you significant feedback and
information. If resting heart rate is found to be above 60 beats
per minute, long duration, low-intensity cardiovascular training
methods should help improve this resting heart rate score.
Another factor to consider is what the individual athlete hopes to
gain from their strength and conditioning program. For example,
athletes in sports such as basketball, hockey, weightlifting, or
baseball rely on explosive speed and power; whereas other sports
like soccer, distance swimming, triathlon, cycling, etc., require
endurance. Athletes training for endurance-based sports are
the best candidates to benefit from low-intensity cardiovascular
training.
While there is a time and place for anaerobic focused training, it
may not be ideal when examining the big picture of energy system
development for team sport athletes training for endurance-based
sports. In fact, maximizing anaerobic energy system development
may be done in as little as 4 – 6 weeks (2).
When training these team-sport athletes, the goal should be
to develop the aerobic system to a high degree. Long duration,
low-intensity workouts are one tool in the programming toolbox
to achieve this adaptation. Low-intensity methods of aerobic
development (as deemed by heart rate), focus on training the
eccentric capacity of the left ventricle of the heart. Working at
submaximal intensity will allow the left ventricle to fill maximally
and stretch with each heart beat before ejecting its contents and
accepting more blood. Joel Jamieson (a self-published author,
strength and conditioning coach, and gym owner) recommends
the following parameters for training in what he calls the cardiac
output method:
• heart rate should be between 130 and 150 beats per minute,
• sessions should last between 30 – 90 min,
• and cardiac output training should be performed 1 – 3 times per
week (1).
Atko Viru’s book, “Adaptation in Sports Training,” notes several
benefits of training the heart by using low-intensity methods
(e.g., eccentric training for the heart), versus high-intensity
methods (e.g., concentric training for the heart) (3). These include,
but are not limited to, decreased resting heart rate, decreased
sympathetic tone (increased parasympathetic activity), increased
stroke volume, and increased heart volume.
Finally, while cardiac output work is critical in building and
maintaining the aerobic system of your team-sport athletes, there
is no need for them to perform arbitrary exercise sessions like jogs
or bike rides. Instead, consider employing more sport-specific,
and varied methods of training to decrease boredom and increase
compliance. Some examples of this method include strength
circuits using strongman methods, sled drags or Prowler pushes,
sledgehammer swings, mobility drills, bodyweight exercises, ball-
handling drills, shooting drills, or other low-intensity skill-specific
drills.
The key here is the intensity used in the exercise sessions.
Oftentimes athletes will use these exercises and it quickly divulges
into a competition. This should not be the case if the goal is to
develop the eccentric qualities of the heart. In order to ensure the
athlete is working within the prescribed target heart rate zone,
a heart rate monitor should be worn at all times. Cardiac output
training can be a very valuable and important asset for certain
team-sport athletes. They may not be as appealing or hardcore
as anaerobic or glycolytic training methods, but at the end of the
day what is most important is developing a targeted and specific
training session that will benefit athletes the most on game day. ■
REFERENCES
1. Jamieson, J. Ultimate MMA Conditioning. Seattle, WA:
Self-published/Performance Sports Inc.; 35-37, 2009.
2. Tabata, I, Nishimura, K, Kouzaki, M, Hirai, Y, Ogita, F, Miyachi, M,
and Yamamoto, K. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and
high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and
VO2max. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 28(10):
1327-1330, 1996.
3. Viru, A. Adaptation in Sports Training. New York, NY: Informa
Healthcare USA; 172, 2008.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Robertson has helped clients and athletes from all walks of life
achieve their strength, physique, and performance related goals.
Robertson received his Master’s degree in Sports Biomechanics
from the world-renowned Human Performance Lab at Ball State
University. He is the President of Robertson Training Systems, and
the co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training.
6
FEATURE ARTICLE
CONDITIONING FOR SPORTS
JOHN CISSIK, MS, MBA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
C
onditioning is a process that helps to prepare an athlete for the rigors
of his/her sport. The intent is to train athletes so that they are able to
maintain their strength, speed, power, and performance throughout
the course of the game or competition. Developing a conditioning program
has a number of challenges. First, it is impractical to duplicate the exact
requirements, intensities, and lengths of a game during the course of a workout
session. Second, athletes have a limited amount of time to train and recover.
Finally, excessive conditioning can lead to overtraining which will have a
detrimental impact on an athlete’s fitness level and performance.
This article is going to focus on how to develop a general conditioning program
for athletes that can be adjusted for specific needs. The following steps should
be followed when developing a conditioning program for athletes:
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 7
FEATURE ARTICLE
CONDITIONING FOR SPORTS
• Analyze the event
• Chose the conditioning tools
• Develop the program
ANALYZE THE EVENT
To analyze an event, the following questions should be
addressed (2,3):
1. How long does the event last? For some sports, this is a
relevant question (for example, a 100-m sprint may last
10 – 12 s). For others, this may not be relevant (for example,
an American football game has four 15-min quarters that may
vary in real time).
2. Is the entire team playing the entire time that the sport lasts?
In some sports, there are offensive and defensive positions,
player substitutions, etc.
3. When an athlete plays, how long does a play last?
4. What is the nature of the athlete’s performance in a typical
play? For example, does the athlete walk, jog, sprint, etc.?
5. How much rest is there between plays?
6. What is the nature of the rest in between plays? Does the
athlete sit, stand, jog, etc.?
7. What are the outliers in terms of plays and rest intervals?
By going through the above questions, a coach will be able to
identify a sport’s conditioning needs. Athletes should be prepared
for the average plays/rest intervals as well as for the outliers.
For example, in the following example of a hypothetical sport
there are four quarters, each lasting 15 min. In each quarter, an
athlete is involved in approximately 12 – 15 plays, each play lasting
(on average) 30 s, with 90 s before another play. However, play
lengths range from 5 s to 45 s, with rest periods ranging from 60 s
to 180 s. Knowing this allows the coach to develop a conditioning
program to address the average plays as well as the outliers. This
concept can be applied to various sports to identify the average
work intervals required of a sport, as well as the typical rest
periods and play lengths. When determining the requirements of a
sport and developing a subsequent conditioning program, a coach
should keep in mind the principle of specificity (1).
This analysis can also be performed more comprehensively,
but this is dependent upon having the technology to do so. For
example, an athlete’s performance in a competition could be
tracked based upon their heart rate, which could be extrapolated
to have the athlete train within specific heart rate zones.
Performance could also be tracked based upon the athlete’s speed
of movement, with conditioning programs designed to address
that as well.
CHOSE THE CONDITIONING TOOLS
Various “tools” can be used in a conditioning program, each
with advantages and disadvantages. Some of these tools
include sprints, kettlebells, heavy ropes, suspension training, and
bodyweight exercises. While these are not the only tools that can
be used, they will be covered for the purposes of this example.
Sprints have the benefit of being sport-specific and can easily be
programmed based upon the analysis of the sport. The principle
of specificity should be applied when prescribing sprints (1).
Kettlebells have a number of exercises such as swings, cleans, and
snatches that lend themselves to conditioning programs. They are
total body exercises that can be done for periods as well. These
exercises require a technique base and a lot of equipment, which
may not be practical in many strength and conditioning team
settings.
Heavy ropes involve using long, extra-thick ropes to perform total
body exercises. Most of the exercises that can be performed with
heavy ropes can be done for periods of time, so they are perfect
for a conditioning program. Like kettlebells, heavy ropes require a
great deal of space for an athletic team. They also suffer from the
fact that it is difficult to change the weight of the rope, so after a
time, it becomes difficult to make the sessions more challenging.
Suspension training and bodyweight exercises are effective
exercise modes/tools that can be used for conditioning programs.
While suspension training requires a great deal of equipment for
an athletic team, bodyweight exercises do not. These bodyweight
exercises can work most of the muscles of the body with a fast
pace, and be performed for time. Like the heavy ropes, though,
these training tools have challenges when it comes to increasing
their overload.
It also needs to be mentioned that all of these modes of exercise
can be integrated. For example, an athlete may perform kettlebell
swings, then sprint, then perform bodyweight squats, then sprint,
etc. This allows for strenuous, fast-paced training without the need
to adjust too much equipment.
DEVELOP THE PROGRAM
The first step, analyzing the event, lays out the parameters for
the conditioning program. The second step chooses the tools that
will be used. The final step puts everything together. There are
several principles to keep in mind when developing a conditioning
program:
• You cannot duplicate the game—No conditioning program will
be able to duplicate the length, speed, and intensity of a real
game but effort should be made to replicate sport-specific
movements as closely as possible in order to induce the desired
adaptations (1).
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 8
FEATURE ARTICLE
• Extreme fatigue has undesirable consequences—Extreme
fatigue may lead to poor technique, slow speed, and injuries. It
is important to end conditioning sessions before they get to this
point.
• More is not better—This goes hand-in-hand with the point
above. Not only should extreme fatigue be avoided, but it is
normal for strength and conditioning programs to only have
conditioning workouts once a week, unless this is a weakness.
The rest of this article will provide a sample conditioning workout.
The hypothetical example covered previously dealt with a sport
that had 12 – 15 plays per quarter, each lasting (on average) 30
s with about 90 s before the next play. The sport had outliers,
plays lasting up to 45 s, and actual time between plays could
range from 60 to 180 s. With this in mind, conditioning intervals
will mostly last 30 s, though every few intervals will last 45 s to
replicate the outliers. The recovery periods during a session will be
the minimum that are seen in the sport, in this case 60 s. For this
example, the strength and conditioning program has access to a
great deal of equipment; so, kettlebells, sprints, heavy ropes, and
even sleds can be used as part of this conditioning workout.
Conditioning workouts are meant to help the athlete maintain
their strength, power, speed, and performance throughout the
game by helping to make them resistant to the effects of fatigue.
Conditioning programs should factor in the nature of the athlete’s
sport and carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of
various tools before incorporating them. Conditioning programs
should also be developed to allow the athlete to be successful
while avoiding injuries and the teaching of bad habits.
Table 1 shows a sample conditioning workout that was developed
with the above information. The conditioning circuit is meant to
be repeated three times, which would take approximately 21 min.
Including warming up and cooling down, the entire session should
last 30 – 45 min. Intensity should be established based on ability
and the requirements of the sport. ■
REFERENCES
1. Baechle, T, and Earle, R. Essentials of Strength Training and
Conditioning. (3rd ed.) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 87, 381-412,
2008.
2. Cissik, JM. Strength and Conditioning: A Concise Introduction.
London: Routledge, 135-147, 2011.
3. Plisk, SS, and Gambetta, V. Tactical metabolic training, part 1.
Strength and Conditioning Journal 19(2): 44-53, 1997.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Cissik is the President of Human Performance Services,
LLC, which helps athletic professionals solve their strength and
conditioning problems. He has worked with all levels of athletes,
produced four videos, written 10 books, and produced more than
70 articles on strength and speed training.
CONDITIONING FOR SPORTS
TABLE 1. SAMPLE CONDITIONING CIRCUIT
EXERCISE TIME PERIOD (S)
Kettlebell swings 20
Jog 30
Two-handed rope slams 10
Walk 30
Sled pushes 10
Bear crawls 10
Sprint 10
Walk 60
Kettlebell cleans (right side) 15
Jog 45
One-handed rope slams (right side) 20
Walk 60
Kettlebell cleans (left side) 15
Jog 30
One-handed rope slams (left side) 15
Walk 60
9
FEATURE ARTICLE
BASIC PROGRAM DESIGN FOR
HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES
PATRICK MCHENRY, MA, CSCS,*D, RSCC, USAW
O
ne of the hardest aspects of training is program design. According to
many preeminent researchers in the field of strength and conditioning,
“there is no one best program.” Program design is an art form, drawing
from the best available research-based program design. There is no one right
way to design a program, but there are many wrong ways. What works for one
school may not work for another and a high school athlete is not the same as
a college athlete. Programs must be designed to suit the needs of a specific
population, as not all programs will benefit every population (e.g., a program
for a high school soccer athlete will not likely induce the desired benefits if
applied to a collegiate rower). This can also lead to injuries, thus it is important
to design programs based on the athletes’ abilities, needs, limitations, and
experience. When designing programs for high school athletes, there are
factors that must be kept in mind, and steps that can help make the process
more efficient and beneficial.
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 10
FEATURE ARTICLE
HOW MANY TOOLS DO YOU HAVE IN
YOUR TOOLBOX?
I have seen high school coaches design programs with a specific
number of lifts, sets, repetitions, and percentage of weight the
athletes should use. The next phase contains the same lifts with
different sets and reps. The lifts never change; the coaches just
add more weight. Thus, I have designed a chart, with input from
coaches around the United States, for the introduction of lifts/
drills at precise stages of training to assist with the development
of skills and technique. To determine the appropriate stages,
coaches must design the progression according to the training age
of the athletes.
Training age is defined as the length of time, or experience, in the
weight room. Training age is important because it allows a coach
to progress the athletes through specific stages of development to
allow for technique and gains to be developed gradually. The goal
of the following program is not to progress the students through
the entire list, but to introduce/teach/check proper technique then
move on to the next lift (ideally, the check for technique should be
done consistently to ensure proper technique is maintained). It is
important to remember when teaching technique and introducing
new lifts, more weight does not equal more strength, and can even
impair the coordination and learning of the technique.
The following are steps to basic program design for teachers/
coaches to use. Remember the goal of program design is
to enhance the students’ strength; so start slow and build
progressively and systematically.
WHERE TO START
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FIGURE 1 »
If you are designing a program for high school student athletes,
use the calendar in Figure 1 to decide how long each phase should
last, what phase the students are in currently, and when you want
to change the phases.
When designing the program, it is important to identify in which
month and sport season the athletes will train during the school
year (Figure 1). Next, establish how much time the athletes will be
able to allot to working out (Figure 2). Another factor to consider
is the length of a class in a given day. For instance, in a 45-min
class, leave 5 min for dressing out/attendance and 5 min to clean
up/dress to street clothes. Figure 2 provides a chart to help
determine the number of exercises based on the available time.
The time of year and amount of required class time will also help
determine the amount of sets and reps.
Next, decide according to your schedule how many days the
athletes will lift during the week. If training an entire class,
determine the training age of each athlete; it is likely there will be
more than one training age in the class, which means there may
be two different program cards. This is not as complicated as it
sounds. For instance, if an athlete with a training age of “x” is on
the squat rack with another athlete with a training age of “y,” the
technique will remain the same but the resistance will be different.
In this example, the athlete with a training age of “x” may perform
a front squat while the athlete with a training age of “y” may
perform bodyweight squats. After determining training ages,
choose the lifts and fill in the program cards for each athlete.
Depending on the available time, you will want to choose between
3 – 6 exercises for each day. The exercise chart (Figure 3) will help
you decide which exercise to choose, and the exercises are listed
by training age. It is best to start a new athlete with “Level I” to
evaluate their technique before moving them to the next level. The
new student may have lifted at another school but that does not
mean their technique meets your standards. It is easier to move
the student up to the next level than to move them back.
Once the program has begun, choose one lift each day, and
watch one set for proper form/technique for each athlete, if
possible. In the second week, if the weight increases, you may
need to reevaluate the lift for proper technique. Every time your
athletes are in the weight room, it is important to monitor their
technique, instead of whether or not they completed the lift. For
example, an athlete may get all the sets/ repetitions for the squat,
which is good. However, if their knees moved in/out while they
were lifting, or their back was in an improper position, then it is
the responsibility of the teacher/coach must to stop the lift and
correct their technique. This may require the athlete to perform
the lift without the bar, or remove the weight. Once the athlete
learns to perform the lift with proper technique, it does not ensure
that the technique will remain the same when weight is added.
Thus, close monitoring and checking for proper form/technique
must be done at all times.
A sample program is provided in Figure 4 (the example shows a
program for an athlete in their second training phase). This sample
program was derived from the steps previously covered and
should be used as a guide for designing training programs for high
school athletes. ■
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick McHenry is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at
Castle View High School in Castle Rock, CO. He designs the lifting
and speed/agility programs for all the weightlifting classes as
well as works with the school’s 20 varsity sports. McHenry earned
a Master’s degree is in Physical Education with an emphasis in
Kinesiology from the University of Northern Colorado. He is a
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® with Distinction
with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is
also a Certified Club Coach with USA Weightlifting. McHenry has
worked with athletes from youth to the elite-level in a wide variety
of sports. He has presented at international and national strength
coaches and physical education conferences. He is published in
books, journals, internet manuals, and videos
BASIC PROGRAM DESIGN FOR
HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 11
FEATURE ARTICLE
TIME SETS APPROXIMATE
REPS
TOTAL TIME PER
EXERCISE
TIME BETWEEN
EXERCISES
# EXERCISES TOTAL TIME
FOR LIFTING
SESSION
1:20 3 5 – 8 4 min 1:20 6 32 min
1:20 4 5 – 8 5:20 min 1:20 4 26:40 min
1:30 3 5 – 10 4:30 min 1:30 5 30 min
1:30 4 5 – 10 6 min 1:30 4 30 min
1:45 3 5 – 12 5:15 min 1:30 4 27 min
1:45 4 5 – 12 7 min 1:30 3 25:30 min
BASIC PROGRAM DESIGN FOR
HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES
FIGURE 2. EXERCISE SELECTION BASED ON AVAILABLE TIME
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 12
FEATURE ARTICLE
BASIC PROGRAM DESIGN FOR
HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES
FIGURE 3. SAMPLE EXERCISE LIST
LIFTS LEVEL I LEVEL II LEVEL III LEVEL IV
SQUAT
BW squat Front squat Split overhead w/ bar Overhead squat
Forward lunge Back squat Back leg on bench DB overhead
Backward lunge Split squat Overhead
backward lunge
Lunge step
back-pull through
Split squat Forward lunge
w/ bar
Forward lunge w/ DB DB step up
on box
Backward lunge
w/ bar
Backward lunge w/ DB DB lateral step
over box
Lateral lunge Lateral lunge w/ DB DB sit bench
lunge step out
Angled lunge Walking lunge Walking
overhead lunge
Single-leg
stand on box
BENCH
Push-up Close-grip bench Bench w/ pause DB bench feet up
Bench w/ training bar Wide-grip bench Bench w/ shrug DB bench alternate
Bench Bench tempo Bench w/ band
resistance
DB bench
Bench feet up
CLEAN
Athletic position Catch Clean DB clean
Pulls below knee Catch to squat Power clean Snatch
Pulls above knee Pull to catch Hang clean Jerk
High pulls BW power jumps Power jumps
w/ DB
Clean and jerk
3x3 pull/clean/press
INCLINE
Incline training bar Incline bar DB incline DB alternative
Plate scoops DB scoops
BACK
Lat pulldown Straight-arm
pulldown
DB reverse fly DB bent-over row feet
on ground
Seated row Reverse cable fly Plate pullover Band pulldown
Standing fly Suspension
reverse fly
BB bent-over row One-leg stand to row
Upright row Low angle/
high angle pull
Band reverse fly
HAMSTRINGS
Leg curl RDL Good morning Swiss ball leg curl
Glute/ham machine Partner leg curl Suspension leg curl
Single-leg RDL w/
dowel on back
Suspension
leg curl
Swiss ball
single-leg curl
Single-leg RDL w/
med ball
Single-leg hip lift Suspension
single-leg curl
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 13
FEATURE ARTICLE
BASIC PROGRAM DESIGN FOR
HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES
FIGURE 4. SAMPLE PROGRAM CARD
NAME DATE
DEVELOPMENT PHASE II
WEEK 1 WEEK 2
Monday (lower) Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight
Squat 4x8 4x8
Leg curl 4x8 4x8
Clean high pulls 4x8 4x8
Forward lunge 4x8 4x8
Tuesday (upper) Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight
Bench 4x8 4x8
Seated rows 4x8 4x8
Incline 4x8 4x8
Bar pullover +
shrug
4x8 4x8
Wednesday
(lower)
Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight
Split squat 4x10 4x10
Leg curl 4x10 4x10
Clean catch 4x10 4x10
Backward lunge 4x10 4x10
Thursday
(upper)
Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight
Bench 4x10 4x10
Lat pulldown 4x10 4x10
Standing DB
side raise
4x10 4x10
Band reverse fly 4x10 4x10
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 14
FEATURE ARTICLE
BASIC PROGRAM DESIGN FOR
HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES
FIGURE 4. SAMPLE PROGRAM CARD (CONTINUED)
NAME DATE
DEVELOPMENT PHASE II
WEEK 3 WEEK 4
Monday (lower) Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight
Squat 4x8 4x8
Leg curl 4x8 4x8
Clean high pulls 4x8 4x8
Forward lunge 4x8 4x8
Tuesday (upper) Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight
Bench 4x8 4x8
Seated rows 4x8 4x8
Incline 4x8 4x8
Bar pullover +
shrug
4x8 4x8
Wednesday
(lower)
Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight
Split squat 4x10 4x10
Leg curl 4x10 4x10
Clean catch 4x10 4x10
Backward lunge 4x10 4x10
Thursday
(upper)
Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight Sets Weight Weight Weight Weight
Bench 4x10 4x10
Lat pulldown 4x10 4x10
Standing DB
side raise
4x10 4x10
Band reverse fly 4x10 4x10
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 15
Cardiovascular training, resistance training, plyometrics, and speed
and agility training all have a common variable that should be
included in the program design no matter the fitness level of the
individual performing the workout. Physically preparing the body
for movement and mentally focusing on the workout ahead are
vital components when starting a workout session.
Performing a dynamic warm-up physically increases core
temperature, blood pressure, and prepares the large muscles
and joints for physical activity (1). Mentally, it sets the tone and
enhances focus so psychologically the individual is prepared to
engage in physical activity (2). This article will explore the use of
medicine balls as part of an extensive warm-up.
TYPES OF WARM-UPS
Passive, general, and specific are three types of warm-ups used
when preparing for exercise. Passive warm-ups require limited
physical activity, which includes methods like massage therapy,
hot showers, and heating pads (1). Passive warm-ups may increase
the core temperatures of the muscles while preserving energy and
preventing fatigue. Although these passive warm-up methods may
be an option, they might not be practical due to a lack of facilities,
equipment, and staff. A general warm-up prepares the body
with basic whole body movements, such as a stationary cycle,
elliptical, or jogging on a track. A specific warm-up includes less
intense movements of the actual activity that will be performed.
Performing squats with light weights, high knees, butt kicks, and
carioca before a speed and agility session are examples of specific
warm-up exercises. A specific warm-up will prepare the body for
movement and improve cognitive awareness on the movement
patterns being trained (1).
INCORPORATING THE MEDICINE BALL
(DYNAMIC WARM-UP)
As mentioned before, performing activity-specific exercises is
one way to prepare the body for a workout session. Typically, a
dynamic warm-up will be performed for 5 – 10 min and include
6 – 8 exercises covering multiple movement patterns, and progress
in intensity. Common exercises included in a dynamic warm-up are
walking lunges, bodyweight squats, high knees, Frankenstein’s,
butt kicks, lateral shuffles, carioca, and skips (3). These are all
great exercises, but when performed every training session they
can become monotonous, which may lead to the individual
becoming complacent with their training program. Incorporating
new ideas into the training program will keep things fresh and
challenging. Adding a medicine ball to the warm-up creates the
opportunity to introduce several new exercises, challenge the
movement patterns in a different manner, increase intensity, and
enhance focus. Many of these drills require two people, which
demands both individuals to stay focused and participate in the
warm-up exercises. These are great exercises to incorporate when
training small groups.
MEDICINE BALL EXERCISES
MARCHING KNEE DRIVES (FIGURES 1 AND 2)
Start by marching. Then drive the knee into the medicine ball
while lifting the thigh so it is parallel to the floor (approximately
to 90 degrees) and alternate knee drive to the medicine ball in
a rhythmic tempo. As coordination and balance improves, strike
the ball with more force and with a faster tempo. Arms (elbows)
will be held close to the body with the elbows bent slightly at
90 degrees. Maintain a firm grasp on the medicine ball with the
hands to control force generated from the knee drives. This can be
performed for repetitions or distance.
Note: Once the marching knee drive is mastered, the individual
can perform a knee drive punch to a partner. The partner will
return the ball while both individuals move in sequence forwards
and backwards simultaneously (Figure 3).
SCOOP TOSS (FIGURES 4–7)
Start with the medicine ball between the feet and in one quick,
explosive movement squat down and grasp the ball with the hands
placed on the side. Swing the arms forward and explosively jump
forward in broad jump form (simultaneously), releasing the ball so
that it hits the partner in the hands approximately at chest level.
STANDING ROTATIONAL TOSS (FIGURES 8–10)
Start with the medicine ball directly out in front of the body,
approximately chest level, with elbows slightly bent. Swing the
arms backwards in a rotational pattern with arms slightly bent and
follow the ball with the eyes to maximize rotation. Once rotation is
maximized, decelerate and rotate in the other direction releasing
the ball to the partner. Let the ankles, knees, and hips move freely
throughout the range of motion.
SCOOP TOSS BENT KNEE DEADLIFT (FIGURES 11–12)
Start with the medicine ball between the feet, while maintaining a
5 – 10 degree bend in the knees. Lower the upper body by flexing
at the hips, grasp the medicine ball and with an underhand motion
swing the arms through releasing the ball to the partner.
PREPARING THE BODY FOR MOVEMENT:
MEDICINE BALL WARM-UP
PERSONAL TRAINING FOR PERFORMANCE
CHAT WILLIAMS, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, FNSCA
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 16
SCOOP TOSS (WALL TOSS) (FIGURES 13–14)
Start with the medicine ball between the feet and in one quick,
explosive movement squat down and grasp the ball with
the hands placed on the side. Swing the arms forward and
simultaneously jump straight up releasing the ball so that it hits
the wall near the top.
SQUAT/CHEST THRUST (FIGURE 15)
Start with feet shoulder-width apart while holding the medicine
ball at chest level. Perform a squat and explosively perform a
squat jump and chest press/thrust the medicine ball to the wall as
high as possible.
REVERSE SCOOP TOSS (FIGURES 16–17)
Start with the medicine ball between the feet and in one quick,
explosive movement squat down and grasp the ball with the
hands placed on the side. Swing the arms behind your head and
explosively jump straight up releasing the ball so that it hits the
wall near the top. ■
REFERENCES
1. Coburn, J, and Malek, M. NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training.
(2nd ed.) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 347-388, 2012.
2. Scrivener, R. Warm-ups under the microscope. NSCA’s
Performance Training Journal 9(1): 8-17, 2010.
3. Williams, C. Flexibility training: Incorporating all components of
fitness. NSCA’s Performance Training Journal 10(1): 11-14, 2011.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chat Williams is the Supervisor for Norman Regional Health Club.
He is a past member of the NSCA Board of Directors, NSCA State
Director Committee Chair, Midwest Regional Coordinator and State
Director of Oklahoma (2004 State Director of the Year). He also
served on the NSCA Personal Trainer SIG Executive Council. He is
the author of multiple training DVDs. He runs his own company,
Oklahoma Strength and Conditioning Productions, which offers
personal training services, sports performance for youth, metabolic
testing, and educational conferences and seminars for strength and
conditioning professionals.
PREPARING THE BODY FOR MOVEMENT: MEDICINE BALL WARM-UP
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 17
PREPARING THE BODY FOR MOVEMENT: MEDICINE BALL WARM-UP
Figure 12. Scoop Toss: Bent Knee
Deadlift – Grasp and Follow Through
Figure 3. Marching Knee Drive –
Knee Punch (Finish)
Figure 4. Scoop Toss – Start Figure 5. Scoop Toss – Squat and Scoop
Figure 1. Marching Knee Drive Figure 2. Marching Knee Drive
Figure 6. Scoop Toss – Squat and Scoop
(Alternate View)
Figure 7. Scoop Toss – Broad Jump
and Finish
Figure 8. Standing Rotational Toss –
Start
Figure 9. Standing Rotational Toss –
Rotation Back and Decelerate
Figure 10. Standing Rotational Toss –
Finish and Follow Through
Figure 11. Scoop Toss: Bent Knee
Deadlift – Start
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 18
PREPARING THE BODY FOR MOVEMENT: MEDICINE BALL WARM-UP
Figure 17. Reverse Scoop Toss –
Squat and Grasp
Figure 14. Scoop Toss Wall –
Squat and Grasp
Figure 15. Squat/Chest Thrust
Figure 16. Reverse Scoop Toss – Start
Figure 13. Scoop Toss Wall – Start
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 19
Anemia is a disorder of the blood and is characterized by a low
number of red blood cells or hemoglobin, both of which carry
oxygen throughout the body. This can affect various athletes
at every level of competition. Can athletes with anemia seek
supplementation to improve performance? This column should
help address the answer to this question.
Several types of anemia include, but are not limited to, iron-
deficiency anemia, sickle-cell anemia, and aplastic anemia. Iron-
deficiency anemia occurs when the body cannot make enough
hemoglobin due to either insufficient iron intake or excessive iron
loss. According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency
is the most common nutritional disorder in the world (11). In the
U.S., 9% of women between the ages of 12 and 49 have iron-
deficiency anemia (1). Sickle-cell anemia is characterized by
abnormal red blood cells that resemble crescent shapes. Lastly,
in aplastic anemia, the body does not produce enough red blood
cells, white blood cells, or platelets. All of these result in the
body’s inability to carry enough oxygen to the tissues and causes
a variety of symptoms, such as shortage of breath, difficulty in
breathing, lethargy, tiredness, and dizziness (7). Those who suffer
from anemia often feel exhausted which influences their ability to
stay active (10). In reality, though, exercise may actually help treat
some types of anemia along with a proper diet of iron-rich foods.
Exercise is a promising treatment that may help alleviate some of
the symptoms associated with anemia. In a recent literature review
in the International Journal of Cardiology, researchers found
that endurance training could help enhance the oxygen-carrying
capacity in athletes with anemia (10). With exercise, tissues
throughout the body are more efficient at pulling oxygen from
the blood, which will increase energy and decrease feelings of
lethargy, thereby improving athletic performance. Another study
suggested that exercise in combination with erythropoietin (EPO)
treatments could show improvements in people suffering from
anemia (EPO is a hormone produced in the kidneys that stimulates
the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow) (2).
Other research has shown that physical activity may not help
those who suffer from anemia. Data demonstrated that those
already affected by iron-deficiency anemia had a decreased iron
status after exercise (4). These individuals would need to be
diligent about consuming an iron-rich meal following exercise as
well as a diet adequate in iron to try to replace the iron that is lost
during physical activity and to regain normal status (see Table 1 for
daily iron needs).
The consumption of dietary iron plays a role in warding off iron-
deficiency anemia and/or helping people with anemia recover
from exercise. There are two types of dietary iron: heme and
nonheme. Heme iron is bound within the iron-carrying proteins
(hemoglobin and myoglobin) found in meat, poultry, and fish.
Nonheme iron is found in all plant food sources and makes up 60%
of the iron found in animal food sources. Studies have shown that
heme iron is absorbed more efficiently than nonheme iron (9).
Table 2 shows significant food sources of heme and nonheme iron.
Consumption of iron-rich foods can help enhance the production
and function of red blood cells. Consuming foods rich in vitamin
C along with heme and nonheme foods can help the body absorb
iron. So eating citrus fruit, bell peppers, leafy greens, and kiwis
with an iron-rich meal is a good approach to promote maximum
absorption.
Although iron supplements are widely used by athletes in an effort
to increase performance, findings indicate excess body iron may
be common in male recreational athletes and suggest supplements
should only be used if tests of iron status indicate a deficiency (6).
Consuming too much iron could lead to constipation, iron toxicity,
liver cirrhosis, or even heart failure. Iron and calcium (among other
nutrients) also compete for absorption in the body. Therefore,
people who have low calcium levels, or are at risk for osteoporosis,
should be careful of iron supplementation.
The bottom line is that exercise has numerous health benefits
and can be considered a viable treatment option for people that
suffer from certain types of anemia. Special attention should be
paid to eating a diet rich in heme and nonheme sources of iron
for all athletes, but especially for women and those with anemia.
One’s diet and eating patterns should be assessed before turning
to supplements for sources of iron. Some athletes are anemic and
consequently must be diagnosed and treated, but in general, iron
supplementation does not improve athletic performance (8). ■
ANEMIA IN ATHLETES
TRAINING TABLE
DEBRA WEIN, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, NSCA-CPT,*D
AND ALLISON WOOD
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 20
AGE MALES FEMALES
7 – 12 months 11 11
1 – 3 years 7 7
4 – 8 years 10 10
9 – 13 years 8 8
14 – 18 years 11 15
19 – 50 years 8 18
51+ years 8 8
REFERENCES
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.
gov/nchs/fastats/anemia.htm, accessed on February 24, 2013.
2. Coleman, EA, Goodwin, JA, Kennedy, R, Coon, SK, Richards,
K, Enerlin, C, Stewart, CB, McNatt, P, Lockhart, K and Anaissie,
EJ. Effects of exercise on fatigue, sleep and performance: a
randomized trial. Oncology Nursing Forum 39(5): 468-467, 2012.
3. Iron-National Institutes of Health. Retrieved February 10, 2013,
from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/.
4. Latunde-Dada, G. Iron metabolism in athletes - achieving a gold
standard. European Journal of Hematology 90: 10-15, 2012.
5. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anemia/
DS00321/DSECTION=symptoms, accessed on February 26, 2013.
6. Mettler, S, and Zimmermann, MB. Iron excess in recreational
marathon runners. Eur J Clin Nutr 64(5): 490-494, 2010.
7. National Institutes of Health. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/
health-topics/topics/anemia/signs.htm, accessed on
February 26, 2013.
8. Ottomano C, and Franchini, M. Sports anemia: Facts or fiction?
Blood Transfus 10(3): 252-254, 2012.
9. Uzel, C and Conrad, ME. Absorption of heme iron. Semin
Hematology 35(1): 27-34, 1998.
10. Wang, JS. Anemia, heart failure, and exercise training.
International Journal of Cardiology found at 10.1016/j.
ijcard.2012.11.024.
11. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/nutrition/
topics/ida/en/index.html, accessed on February 15, 2013.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Debra Wein is a recognized expert on health and wellness and
designed award-winning programs for both individuals and
corporations around the United States. She is President and
Founder of Wellness Workdays, Inc., (www.wellnessworkdays.com)
a leading provider of worksite wellness programs. In addition,
she is the President and Founder of partner company, Sensible
Nutrition, Inc. (www.sensiblenutrition.com), a consulting firm
of RD’s and personal trainers, established in 1994, that provides
nutrition and wellness services to individuals. She has nearly 20
years of experience working in the health and wellness industry.
Her sport nutrition handouts and free weekly email newsletter are
available online at www.sensiblenutrition.com.
Allison Wood is an undergraduate student in nutrition with a
concentration in dietetics at Cornell University. She is active in
many student organizations on campus, such as serving as a
student liaison for the Cornell University Dietetic Association club,
a member of the College of Human Ecology’s Dean’s Advisory
Council and a research assistant in the Human Development
Research Lab. She is also a tour guide on campus.
ANEMIA IN ATHLETES
FOOD MG/SERVING SOURCE
Chicken liver, 3 oz 11 Heme
Oysters, canned, 3 oz 5.7 Heme
Beef liver, 3 oz 5.2 Heme
Beef, 3 oz 3.1 Heme
Ready to eat cereal,
100% fortified
18 Nonheme
Oatmeal, instant,
fortified
11 Nonheme
Soybeans, boiled, 1 cup 8.8 Nonheme
Lentils, boiled, 1 cup 6.6 Nonheme
Table 1. Recommend Dietary Allowances for Iron (mg/day) (9)
Table 2. Iron Amounts of Selected Foods (3)
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 21
INTRODUCTION
We often hear that “children are not miniature adults,” but when
it comes time to develop a strength and conditioning program
for children or youth, do we understand what defines these
populations, how children and youth differ from adults, and the
unique physical, social, and psychological needs of youth or
children in program design? The questions that will be addressed
in this article include:
• How do we differentiate between children and youth?
• How do we distinguish strength and conditioning fundamentals
for training youth vs. adults?
• Do windows (of time) of trainability exist?
HOW DO WE DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN
CHILDREN AND YOUTH?
Quite often, we might think of youth as all those who are not yet
adults. An important distinction needs to be made, however, to
differentiate between children and youth. According to information
provided in the National Strength and Conditioning Association
(NSCA) Position Stand on Youth Resistance Training, children
are those (referred to as preadolescents) who have reached
infancy but have not yet developed secondary sex characteristics
(approximately age 11 for girls and 13 for boys) (2). Youth are
those (referred to as adolescents) who are between childhood and
adulthood who have developed secondary sex characteristics/
reached puberty (approximately ages 11 – 18 for girls and 13 – 18
for boys). There are important distinctions between children and
youth that need to be understood when designing strength and
conditioning programs, as seen in Table 1.
HOW DO WE DISTINGUISH STRENGTH AND
CONDITIONING FUNDAMENTALS FOR TRAINING
YOUTH VS. ADULTS?
One of the best ways to distinguish program design differences
between youth and adults is the concept of training age (1).
Training age provides the length of time the child, youth, or adult
has been resistance training. This can also be referred to as an
individual’s training experience and should not be mistaken for
chronological age. NSCA guidelines for training age are presented
in Table 2.
While the general guidelines for children, youth, and adults
seem to be the same, there are some important distinctions and
implications:
• The guidelines should be used to help develop a long-term plan
for each child and youth to develop to their maximum potential
for sport, fitness, and physical activity
• Children are less physically mature and are often experiencing
training activities for the first time (1)
• Adult programs are often written with intensity and volume that
is too high for children and youth, and should not be used with
children or youth
• Safety and proper technique should always be emphasized, and
are critical for establishing proper neural pathways
• A sound strength and conditioning program is essential before
beginning a sports program in order to develop all physical
fitness determinants
• Those with less resistance training experience may show a
greater magnitude of strength gain than those with more
resistance training experience, yet absolute strength gains may
make children seem less trainable
• Students in the same grade and/or on the same team will NOT
necessarily follow the same strength and conditioning program
• Less-experienced trainees need an extended period of general
physical preparation compared to more experienced trainees (2)
DO WINDOWS OF TRAINABILITY EXIST?
Adults, by definition, are at full maturity and represent a relatively
homogeneous population. Children, on the other hand, can have
a developmental age of ± 2 years at any age. This means that
within a group of 10 – 12 year olds, the developmental ages could
range from 8 – 14. The concept of windows of trainability says
that there are specific, or sensitive, ages in which children are
more likely to develop certain skills, such as speed or agility. If
the window of trainability for a specific physical attribute is at
age 8 – 9, this means the window in the real world is ages 6 – 11.
This concept remains valid so long as the coach continues to
monitor seated and standing height to determine rates of growth
and development. The word “window” implies that it closes
(proficiency barrier) and can no longer be trained beyond that
specific time. Recent research endorses constant improvement in
all fundamental movement skills and fitness determinants, while
emphasizing a specific fitness category sequentially throughout
childhood and adolescence (4). This research-based approach
corresponds to principles of positive youth development,
including the developmental continuum (children progress along
a developmental continuum according to a variety of factors, and
DIFFERENTIATING STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
FUNDAMENTALS FOR TRAINING
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
YOUTH ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT
RICK HOWARD, MED, CSCS,*D
NSCA’S PERFORMANCE TRAINING JOURNAL | ISSUE 12.2 22
that progress is not always linear). It also addresses the notion of
adolescent awkwardness, when youth go through their growth
spurt. This is an excellent time to teach fundamental movement
skills and fitness determinants as aspiring athletes get used to
their new bodies.
CONCLUSION
Individualized strength and conditioning program design is
essential for any participant at any age. Chronological age is a
convenient marker of certain physical attributes but the nonlinear
development continuum guides us to examine maturity, readiness,
and mental preparation of each participant. Since research is
inconclusive for developmental windows before, during, or after
the onset of puberty, it is wise to create a long-term plan that
encompasses all physical fitness determinants. Children are not
miniature adults, and they are not miniature youth, either. Great
care must be taken when developing strength and conditioning
programs for either children or youth.■
REFERENCES
1. Baechle, T, Earle, R, and Wathen, D. Essentials of Strength
Training and Conditioning. (3rd ed.) Champaign, IL: Human
Kinetics; 382-410, 2008.
2. Bompa, T. Total Training For Young Champions. Champaign, IL:
Human Kinetics; 23-28, 2000.
3. Faigenbaum, A, Kraemer, W, Blimkie, C, Jeffreys, I, Micheli,
L, Nitka, M, and Rowland, T. Youth resistance training: Updated
position paper from the National Strength and Conditioning
Association. J Strength Cond Res 23: S60-S79, 2009.
4. Oliver, J, and Lloyd, R. Long-term athlete development and
trainability during childhood: A brief review. Professional Strength
and Conditioning 26: 19-24, 2012.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rick Howard helped find the NSCA Youth SIG and served this
year as Immediate Past Chair. In addition, Howard serves on the
NSCA Membership Committee and is the NSCA State Provincial
Program Regional Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Howard
is involved in many pursuits that advance knowledge, skills, and
coaching education to help all children enjoy lifelong physical
activity and sports participation.
DIFFERENTIATING STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FUNDAMENTALS FOR
TRAINING CHILDREN AND YOUTH
CHILDREN YOUTH
Strength improvement Neural factors Neural and architectural
(muscular and hormonal factors, for example)
Movement competence Effort equals competence Can differentiate skill level
Social influence Family Friends/peers
Coachability Concrete thinkers Can begin to process abstract thought
Fitness goals Fundamental movement skills,
health and skills fitness
Begin focus on sport-specific
movement and fitness skills
Sport focus Multiple sports and activities Begin to specialize (age 14 – 15)
TABLE 1. OVERVIEW OF SELECT CONDITIONING VARIABLES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
TRAINING AGE/
EXPERIENCE
RESISTANCE
TRAINING STATUS
FREQUENCY
PER WEEK
REPETITIONS
(FOR STRENGTH)
TRAINING STRESS SAMPLE
TRAINING MODE
0 – <2 months Beginner ≤1 – 2 10 – 15 None or low Circuit
2 – 6 months Novice/Intermediate ≤2 – 3 8 – 12 Medium Heavy, Light,
Medium days
6 months –
<1 year
Intermediate ≥3 – 4 6 – 10 High Split Routine
TABLE 2. SUMMARY OF NSCA GUIDELINES FOR TRAINING AGE (1,3)
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