I have a 15 year old boy who plays soccer and would like to get stronger and look the part (his version and mine probably differ) Now last summer we dabbled on a starting strength program. I know Rip makes objective arguments about how the excerciss through the full ROM is all that is needed. However, I even have my doubts. At this age there is tremendous potential for growth and in my opinion undertraining. What is your opinion on a Strength program for an athlete who generally uses the ATP system within game conditions? Forgive me for asking about another coaches methodology. What would you concentrate on? Thank you for your time.
Well I think that Rip’s program is solid for a beginner. One of the best in fact because it emphasize the right things: perfecting technique on the big basic lifts, getting stronger overall, being consistent, striving to progress in the gym.
I think that a lot of young athletes (or their parents, or their trainers) skip steps and want to use a super-duper high performance extra specific program with kids who don’t even have a solid foundation yet.
Personally I do believe that there is room for exercises other than the big basics in a program, but the chance of overdoing it is great. If a kid can tolerate more volume/workload I normally increase the amount of work on the big basics intead of using 10 000 different movements. You must evaluate how much an exercise will add to your kid’s progress before adding it in. I understand the desire to look good. But to me an athlete should train for performance, not like a bodybuilder. I only add exercises if they will lead to a measurable improvement in key elements on physical preparation: 1) improving the rate of progression on the big basic lifts 2) fixing a weak link/lagging muscle that in impairing performance 3) correcting muscle imbalances that increase the risk of injuries 4) directly improving performance… if an exercise doesn’t do that to a significant extent it would be better left off. yes teens can likely tolerate a bit more volume but it is not an excuse to throw anything in because you feel like it.
I believe that aesthetic improvements should be a byproduct of performance training when it comes to athletes.
At 15 your kids is young. He has at the very least 5 more years of strength training left in his athletic career. Now if not the time to use super-specific exercises or be too cute with programing, but rather to build a solid foundation.