Soccer Training: Strength Training
Designing individual programs for athletes and clients takes a multi-faceted approach. Programs need an assessment (movement screen, injury history, postural, etc..) so that we can have an idea of where to start and from there have an idea of what movements would most benefit that athlete at that particular time in order to progress them over time. Progressions and regressions are a staple of any good program because not everyone will progress at the same speed as others. As the summer at Endeavor has gone and more experience has been gained, I find that programs become increasingly simpler and spicing up a program for the sake keeping it exciting becomes unnecessary (most of the time). So where are we getting at? One of the best examples of a regression or introductory lift for most of our athletes this summer is the Bottoms Up Bodyweight RFE Split Squat. In the past, we have jumped straight into dumbbell rear foot elevated split squats. Instead, we decided to start everybody bodyweight from the bottom position (no stretch reflex allowed). Our primary lift for that day was loaded but our secondary lower body lift would be this one in order to practice the movement to become more efficient at the lift when we start to load it up heavily in future phases.
One of the main reasons why we see drastic improvement in this lift, in my opinion, is because the set-up of the lift can be one of the more awkward times in the movement. The bottoms up position helps the person become more aware of where to start…simple. After we have used this in one of our phases, there seems to be minimal time spent looking back to the bench to find foot placement but also reinforces where to drop back down on each rep (another major issue). These issues seem minimal but when you have 100 lb dumbbells in each hand it can be annoying. Here is a video to give you the idea.
Bottoms-Up Bodyweight RFE Split Squat (give credit to Kevin Neeld for incorporating this with all our tier 1 elite 18u hockey athletes)
Programming consideration: Besides improving more awareness with the lift, we could use this during our beginning phases (motor control) or for an aerobic emphasis (physiological) using tempos (2-0-2) or during a 30-60 minute bodyweight circuit where the lifts are only bodyweight movements and mobility drills.