Regressing Exercises Is Absolutely Needed For Young Athletes

In the next month, the in-season off-ice training that Endeavor does with Team Comcast will be coming to close and it has been nothing short of awesome.  The kids have adapted well and worked hard considering most have not had much training before.  With that hard work, even small training adaptations need to be met for the individuals even if they are part of a team and even if the training program calls for them to do specific exercises.  Specifically, I am focusing on how as strength coaches it is imperative to really watch your athletes perform exercises, and sometimes what is on the program may need to be regressed for certain individuals.  In the last phase of our program for the younger athletes, we put in back squatting with only the bar just as a technique lift.  There are not any squat racks which requires the athletes to take the bar and put it over their head, on their shoulders, finally get their grip and feet set, & now finally they can squat.  Sounds like quite a bit before actually performing the exercise for a young inexperienced athlete.  Some coaches, may tell kids they have to do “A” on their program even if they look like garbage doing it, but sometimes people just lack mobility in areas that inhibit the performance (that needs do be addressed sometime else).  Sometimes even people’s body morphology can make a lift look terrible (ex: long femurs for back squatting).  With that in mind, I think it is extremely beneficial to give the athletes the option considering that some of the younger athletes cannot get the bar over their head!  The answer now: options and regressions.  For the previous phase, we did barbell front squat (technique driven).  This made it easier to keep the regression to a back squat for this program.

Squat variation changes everything

Our first lift now basically looks like this

  • A1) Barbell Back Squat 4 x 6/OR Barbell Front Squat 4 x 6/ Or Goblet Squat (Heavy 40-50) 4 x 6

Most our the 12-year-old kids can do 40-50lb goblet or front squat but the whole process of taking the bar over the head and so forth can be a pain in the ass.  Also, some of the guys have some restrictions even at that age that you might not saw possible but today’s living styles (school for 6-8 hours, video game craziness, eating is done sitting down, etc..) are a big problem.  This principle goes for all exercises, another example is that our upper body push for day 1 is loaded feet elevated push up in the phase but if some have not progressed that far they stay on incline or regular push-ups.  Do not force something that is going to look dangerous because that is not what produces results.  Consider the athlete as an individual and not just as someone who has to do a program no matter what is on the board or paper.




Categories: Strength Training

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