Fall Sports Strength Training

When it comes to getting big, there's a fairly standard formula that pretty much anyone can follow. You do the basic exercises for 6-10 reps per set and whatever number of sets is required to make your muscles grow. These basic exercises require effort from a number of muscle groups. Keeping resistance fairly heavy, sticking with a moderate number of repetitions will help you attain a balanced combination of size and strength.

But what if your goal is to build muscle strength, not size? In that case, the formula is altered with an increase in resistance and a decrease in repetitions. You're lifting really heavy weight, but only doing between 3 and 6 reps. The technique places more stress on muscle ligaments and tendons, your body's cornerstone of strength. Less emphasis is placed on your muscles when you're struggling under such heavy resistance for just a couple of reps.

Now if you're kind of new to strength training, a whole body workout where all of your muscles are trained in a single session at the gym is recommended. Begin with abdominal exercises (one for the upper abs and one for the lower abs) to build your core strength. That's important since all explosive moves like sprinting out of the blocks or throwing a football involve this 'core' muscle group.

After you've gotten your abdominal training out of the way, your body will be pretty well warmed up. Time to tackle the heavy basic exercises that incorporate a number of major muscle groups. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, military presses and power cleans are all outstanding exercises for building strength.

You'll want to warm up with a moderately heavy weight for 8 reps to prepare your muscles and tendons for the heavier weight to come. The following 2 or 3 sets will incorporate much heavier resistance for just 3-6 reps to build strength and power in your muscles and tendons.

For Workout 1, after you've warmed up with abs training, begin the routine with lower body exercises including squats and deadlifts. Then move onto shrugs, bench presses and other upper body exercises before finishing with your arms. Workout 2 is exactly the opposite, beginning with upper body exercises (incline press, military press and power cleans) and finished off with lower body movements (rack deadlifts and leg presses).

Try Workout 1 on the first day you train this week. If that's Monday, then Tuesday should be devoted to cardio. In addition to building endurance and overall fitness, you'll need at least 48 hours to completely recover from this full-body strength training session. On Wednesday, it's back to the gym for strength training Workout #2. Thursday is going to be another cardio day, but don't feel like you have to run endlessly on a treadmill. Work some lap swimming, rope jumping and plyometrics into your fitness program. Mix it up for greater results. And check your next ON Enewsletter for Part 2 of this strength training program.
Leave a Comment
Sep 22, 2009
I always thought that it was heavy weights and low reps for muscle bulk and high reps with lighter weights for muscle tone. I don't always have a planned routine. I lift what i consider fairly heavy weights, yet i can keep going with less than 30 second breaks in between. I just keep going till i can't anymore, but that might consist of 5 sets with like 30 reps down to 20, 20 again, 10, and about 7. That's on biceps and triceps. When i do heavier weights though, 5 or 10 pounds heavier, i can barely do any. Any tips? I want to have an all around good physique. Good amount of muscle and tone with no specific focus on either one solely. I'm getting bigger, but it's taken a long time. I just recently have started getting gains that i can notice. Could it be do to my age? I'm 18.
Sep 22, 2009
I think this is a good article. If you need huge muscle gains, you must more focus on the muscle pump. Not purely the weight.. But weight does matter..
Sep 22, 2009
Arghh. I can't stand the word tone. Lifting heavy builds muscle which in turn burns fat. Light weight and high reps is doing nothing but waste your time.
Sep 23, 2009
if you ain't going at 18, it could be overtraining or under-eating. Ck out bodybuilding.com for more help.
Sep 24, 2009
Why would you ever do abdominals before squats or cleans? Squatting targets your core (stabilizers) more than any other lift. Why pre-fatigue the muscles and cause a drop in quality and resistance in the more complex lifts like the squat, cleans, and overhead presses that require more concentration and core stabilization for safety. Isolating the abdominals to gain core strength for sports like your article claims is irrelevant since the core never works in isolation. You need to target your core with more complex lifting like barbell roll outs, planks, cable chop and lifts and any other lift that involves the hips and shoulders force activation of the rectus, TA, and obliques too obtain the proper recruitment pattern too successfully protect the spine and axial loading and pelvic positioning.
Why would you not start with cleans before all else? Its the power component that requires an alert but not fatigued nervous system to get the required adaptations and hit the higher threshold motor units for that quick impulse of explosive power you are trying to achieve.