Top 6 Lifts for High School Athletes

Disclaimer:  This is not a sexy list of exercises.

High school athletes are competitive, cocky, and want to talk trash.

Regardless of what anyone says or writes this is not going to change.

Everyone wants to talk about the big lifts – bench and squat.  Trust me, I get it!  When I was in high school I benched 5 days per week and relentlessly ran my mouth about how much I could lift (constantly exaggerating).

Now that I’m 32, have bad knees and shoulders, a jacked up elbow, and I’m rapidly balding I wish I knew then what I know now.

Maybe my athletic career would have lasted longer.  Maybe I’d have less joint issues.  Maybe I wouldn’t spend time every day foam rolling and trying to get back to moving pan free.

Well, I am where I am now and all I can do is help guide young athletes.

If I was to tell my 15 year old self how to train what would I say?

I know I would say things like – lay off the NOXplode, don’t bench every day, try stretching, YOGA is not lame, maybe consider doing something for your back, etc…

Now, if I was to write myself a training program what would be the main components?  What would I build it around?

So, here it is.

My Top 6 Lifts for High School Athletes

*****I said it before…this list is not going to be sexy*****

1) Pull Ups

  • All variations, high reps, iso holds, slow eccentrics.
  • Builds relative strength and forces you to control your bodyweight
    • Increased relative strength = greater ability to maintain acceleration
    • Also makes biceps look nice – added benefit.

2) Goblet Squats

  • Mobility emphasis
    • Deep with/ upper body posture and proper knee tracking.
  • Start with iso holds and slow eccentrics (see a trend?)
  • Building block for front squat
    • Front squat is a building block for Power Clean.

3) Trap Bar Deadlift

  • Athlete not weightlifter.
  • The Trap Bar is the best way to teach pulling from the floor.
    • Puts you in a natural position and teaches force into the ground.

4) Farmers Cary

  • Core stability. Grip strength.
  • Body control and mental aspect.

5) Push Ups

  • High Reps. Varied hand position.  Slow eccentrics and iso holds.
  • Perfect push up before allowed to bench press.
  • Builds musculature of triceps, delts, and chest while helping core stability.

6) Glute Ham Raise

  • Knee dominate pull. There is no better posterior chain movement for a young athlete.
  • Teaches bodyweight control.

**Others receiving votes – sled march/sled drag, natural grip dumbbell bench, single leg squat, hip thrust, pallov press, inverted rows, band pull apart, face pulls, and dumbbell reverse lunge

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