Implementing a weightlifting program for high school athletes is important to maximizing potential. Many high schools are now equipped with the necessary strength and conditioning equipment, and coaches who can provide proper supervision. Weightlifting is the same as learning many other skills. Initially, an athlete should focus on the fundamental movements of each exercise. These include squatting, dead-lifting, lunging, jumping, landing, pressing, and pulling. Placing a priority on proper mechanics, range of motion and stability will put athletes in the best position to make strength gains. Below is a list of reminders when creating a proper weightlifting program for high school athletes.
• Begin each workout with a proper warm up routine. This includes aerobic activity, calisthenics, and static stretching exercises.
• Perform the most technical exercises first. For high school athletes, this should be the core exercise for the day (ex. – squat, dead lift, bench-press, Jumping).
• For core exercises, up to 30 total repetitions should be a maximum for any one day. Break the sets up however you would like (ex. - 3x10, 5x5, 5x3, 3x8, 2x12, or 2x15). When an athlete has 1 or 2 years of weightlifting experience, this number can be increased, in order to challenge the athlete.
• Work mostly with a weight range that is 50 – 75% of an athletes’ maximum capability. Remember the goal is proper mechanics, not displaying max strength or power.
• Add volume to a workout with body weight exercises (ex. – pushups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, step-ups. Be strict on technique and range of motion when performing all exercises.
• When working the core do not focus only on crunching. For sport performance, exercises such as planks, side planks, super heroes, leg lifts, and hip bridges are just as important. Be sure to include some core exercises in each workout.
• Focus on stretching after each workout. Stretching increases range of motion, promotes fluid movement, and encourages recovery.
• Encourage proper nutrition and sleeping habits. Eating breakfast and fruits and vegetables should become habit for athletes. Water should be an athletes’ main choice of beverage. Sleeping 7-8 hours each night is essential for performing at a high level.
• Properly plan enough off-days during the training week. 2 or 3 days of resistance training is enough for beginners. 1 or 2 additional days of light cardio, stretching, and abdominal exericse can be included.