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Designing an Athletic Training Program

October 12, 2011

By Gerard Bochese

If you are an athlete, participate in recreational sports such as tennis or pick-up basketball, or just want to change up your workout routine and try something new and effective, then a more athletically based training program may be for you.

Here’s how to design an effective and efficient athletic training program:

Explosive Movements First. If you are using Olympic lifts such as snatches and cleans or plyometric movements such as squat jumps and medicine ball slams, they should always be done first in the program. Exercises that stress the nervous system must be done when both the muscular and nervous system are fresh.  In the case of Olympic lifts they also require a high technical demand and great coordination; thus, the athlete must be fresh when performing them.  This not only ensures the effectiveness of the exercise but makes them much safer.

Multi-joint Exercises Second. These are exercises that require multiple joints working at once, such as the squat and row or lunge and press. They enable the body to communicate with itself (which is what is happening during any sporting activity) and start to create and coordinate functional and fundamental movement patterns.

No Single-Joint Exercises. Single joint exercises such as bicep curls and tricep extensions are body builder type exercises and are a waste of time for athletic training.  The time spent on these exercises can be utilized to add exercises that have the same goal but far greater benefit (pulls and rows will develop the biceps and pushes and presses will develop the triceps.)

Limit Machine Use. Free weights and body weight are the main tools here.  The only machines that should be used are cable systems which are actually classified as a form of free weight training.  Remember, sports are played on our feet so we want to do as much training in a vertical standing position as possible.

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