Strength Performance Network

I think we've all been there - on a website, or reading a newsletter that forwards us to BEST _______ exercise. For instance - "The number one exercise for healthier shoulders and a stronger upper body, and I bet you're not doing it!" and it's pushups. Or, "Real hard CORE training exercises" and it's ab-wheel rollouts and push-up rows. I can't recall how many times I've felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story...BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR OVAL....cheated.

If you've got a basic template that covers fundamental movements, you'll have yourself a solid toolbox to choose from. Here are my categories for strength exercises that I'll program each week, regardless of athlete, age, or sport. Each will be covered in some form, and some more than others depending on the athletes corrective needs, but that's another story.

2-Leg squats
1-Leg Squats
Lunge progression

2-Leg DLs
1-Leg DLs
Hamstring slideboard progression

Horizontal UB Press
Vertical UB Press
Modified UB Press (incline, etc)

Horizontal UB Pull
Vertical UB Pull
Modified UB Pull

Anti Flexion Torso
Anti Extension Torso
Anti Rotation Torso
Anti Lateral Flexion Torso

How many progressions of each do you need? I say 4. 4 specific for your current facility/environment. So pick 4, 4 good ones. Depending on how often you progress your teams/athletes, 4 will get you anywhere between 8-16 weeks worth of training. Most of the time an athlete doesn't need to change the exercise, in fact, as he/she becomes a better lifter, "simple" exercises become more effective (and more difficult) because they have a better understanding of the coordination that is required to execute the movement correctly.

I don't mean to take the creativity out of exercise selection by saying we only need 4 versions of each movement. We in fact need much more, but we only need more when the situation and athletes call for it. We need to be ready to adjust based on equipment, scheduling, etc. BUT that doesn't override the importance of doing the simple exercises extraordinarily well. Short story long, squat, lunge, deadlift, press, pull up, row, bridge, eat, sleep.

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Comment by Joe Bonyai on July 16, 2009 at 8:35pm
Perfect. A team who takes pride in the program has inestimable room for development.
Comment by Rob Hartman on July 16, 2009 at 11:31am
A phrase that I use with my athletes that fits here is: "we will do, what we do, better than anyone else, who does what we do."

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