Thoughts on High School Strength Training

So, I feel like high school can be a very awkward time for strength training, or training in general. Some kids will start off not being the strongest, most athletic, fastest, etc. around their freshmen-sophomore years, but come around junior-senior they see extreme results and everything flip-flops. The same can be said for the others who start out with great athletic abilities or just power in general. Way back when I was in high school I saw many of my classmates that were all star players/lifters/athletes in general from freshman year on waste their potential by thinking that they don’t need to improve at all, and by senior year they were on equal footing with those that didn’t start out great. A lot of this is mostly from ignorance in high school of not knowing that they can further improve themselves. Everyone does not fall into these two categories though.

Because everyone goes through puberty in high school (or before high school) at different times there is no definite singular best way for everyone to train. I do believe though that there is a correct order to training through high school and even in middle school. I would say that for every individual that wants to be a better athlete through high school, if you have the option to start training earlier. You don’t necessarily need to start in high school, you can start in middle school or even earlier (as long as you have proper guidance).

To start out for everyone in my opinion would be the most tedious stage which would be: lots of volume, lots of fundamentals, and lots of form work. Obviously the form work and fundamentals are kind of a given whenever you start anything new, but the volume portion is a little different. Now every program should have some volume in it to help ready your body for heavier weights or doing anything maximally, but when starting out lifting, lets say as a freshman, you would need to do about double the amount. Not necessarily every workout, but over time more. Lets say we have a 8 week block of lifting if the normal progression is 2 weeks volume, 3 weeks in between, 2 weeks heavy, and 1 week deload, then for someone new it would look more like 4-5 weeks volume, 1-2 weeks in between, 1 week heavy, and 1 week deload. This is simply because they don’t have a solid base started yet. Unless it is decided otherwise, when starting you should stay in this phase for at least a year.

After this phase is completed you should move up to the more in between phase, if you started lifting your freshman year, this would most likely be through the sophomore and halfway through junior year. While still doing a lot of fundamentals (since no one can fully master anything in one year of fundamentals), your volume is reduced to more or less normal. Though the in between weeks are increased. I’m sure many of you are wondering what in between weeks are in general. I define them as like a workout with a 5×5 or 6×6 in it, or you could say around 70-75-80%. Not fully maximal but still difficult to do a lot of reps. Now I wouldn’t necessarily saying this should be done from sophomore to junior year, I’d say this phase in training is to get you more used to handling heavier and heavier weights for more and more reps in general. If you feel like you don’t need to do this phase for over 6 months then that is fine, as long as you feel confident with doing heavier weights. I will say that it will make the last steps to high school lifting easier in general for you though.

The last stage would be the same as anyone who has lifting experience in general and it is the same as the first example 8 block phase training that I gave. 2 weeks of volume, 3 weeks of in between, 2 weeks of heavy, and 1 week of deload. As you have already gotten ready for this phase with the last 2 phases of building your base and being able to start handling heavier weights. Now during the 2 weeks of heavy lifting in this phase you can actually start doing actual heavier weights, and the cycle in some sense repeats itself after this, with a few exceptions depending on what you are training for.

Now I will not say that this is not the is all say all route for everyone. Some will stay in the first phase longer, some won’t. Some will have a long middle phase, and some won’t even have it. There are also some who if progressed enough can fully skip the first 2 phases and can completely go towards the final phase. It all depends on multiple things like: when you started lifting, when you go into puberty, size, weight, sports that you are in, etc. So in the end everything depends on: your body, what you are training for, and how long you have been training for.


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