Strength is the foundational quality of any athlete. But figuring out the right strength training plan can be a confusing and overwhelming task. This article discusses the five basic movement patterns that any high school athlete can progress on and how to arrange them into a safe, simple, and practical training plan. This article intends to educate athletes on creating a strength training program, not how to do each exercise. For information on the lifting form, seek a certified strength coach.
Why The Big 5?
Instead of training different muscle groups five days a week like a bodybuilder, the five basic movement pattern guidelines provide the lifter with three total-body training sessions each week. This saves time while providing full-body training. The athlete should train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday performing each of the 5 basic movement patterns each day. There are many different variations to these 5 movement patterns, but the ones discussed in this article are simple to learn and understand for most high school athletes.
The 5 Basic Movement Patterns Training Guidelines
Each day performs the five movements in this order:
- Hip Hinge
- Upper-body Push
- Upper-body Pull
- Core Exercises
Start with only your bodyweight or lightweight for the first 1-2 weeks, then increase the weight slowly (ex. 5-10lbs each week). Only increase the weight when you have good form and mobility on each movement. Start by doing each exercise 5 sets for 5 reps (5×5). After 4-6 weeks you can decrease this to 3 reps for 5 reps (3×5) as the weight gets heavier. To recover and get stronger, be sure to stay hydrated, eat a well-balanced diet of whole foods high in protein, and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
The Squat Progressions
- Bodyweight Squat (5×5)
- Dumbbell Goblet Squat (3×5)
As a beginner, it is best to start each new exercise with only your body weight. Once you have mastered the bodyweight squat, move on to a dumbbell goblet squat. The squat aids athletic performance by strengthening the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, which can help increase running speed and jumping power.
Hip Hinge Progressions
- Romanian Deadlift (RDL) (5×5)
- Conventional Deadlift (3×5)
Start with RDLs to practice hip hinging at a lighter weight and then move on to conventional (off the floor) deadlifts. Hip hinge movements increase strength primarily in the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, improving sprinting and changing direction.
- Pushups or Knee Pushups (5×5)
- Bench Press (3×5)
Pushups are an underrated tool that can increase upper-body pushing strength, shoulder/core stability, and lay the foundation to bench press. Once the body has adapted to pushups, you can progress on to the bench press. ALWAYS HAVE A SPOTTER WHEN BENCHING! Pushing movements to help build strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Inverted Rows (5×5)
- Chinups (3×5)
Athletes should have a strong back to complement their core stability. Upper body pulling exercises help train the back muscles that are important for posture and grip strength. Start by doing inverted rows and progress to chin-ups to improve strength in the upper back, biceps, and forearms.
- Plank/Side Plank (3×20 seconds)
- Weighted Plank/Side Plank (3×30 seconds)
Isometric core exercises such as the plank should be the staple of your core work. Crunches, sit-ups, and Russian twists will not help you run faster or jump higher. You need to build a stable core that resists spine movement to create strength, power, and speed.
Disclaimer: When strength training, always have adult supervision and a spotter when in the weight room. If you are uncertain on the proper form for any exercise, consult a certified strength coach.