• Elliott Richardson

Answering a question on training youth

I recently was asked a question about how you should train youths, which I thought I could share my thoughts with you. I've started to realize that when one person asks me a question, there's likely many more that have the same one, but don't ask, or aren't sure where to look. It also gives me a resource that I can send out the next time I receive the question.

The first question that inevitably comes up around youth training is "should youth athletes lift weights"? The short answer is "yes" , though if you're looking for a more in depth answer, check out this post: https://www.elliottrichardson.com/single-post/2018/03/31/Should-young-athletes-lift-weights

The second question then becomes "how" should I train them, or "what" should I do. My answer would depend on the expertise of the person that is asking. To cover all the bases, I would recommend the following options: 1. Purchase: Complete Youth Training by Mike Boyle http://completeyouthtraining.com/

If you're not familiar with Coach Boyle, his business (Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning" trains hundreds of athletes per day, and has worked with youth athletes, to professionals, to older population. He was recently dubbed "the greatest strength coach of all time" on the Barbell Shrugged podcast. Much of the good training we see today is rooted in what he has developed. In addition to the 'why's' behind training, he will literally give you a recipe to do it. Much of it will be similar to what I would advise you.

2. Seek out a qualified coach that trains your son/daughter appropriately. It's almost easier to describe what a bad choice would be. Note: I'm not saying that a coach who meets these exclusion criterias isn't a good coach, they may not be the best to work with a youth athlete.

a. Their gym has very large groups per coach

b. They use machines

c. They use almost only barbells for their training

d. They don't have dumbbells/kettlebells or suspension training (TRX) equipment

e. They seem like a jerk

3. If you feel confident to do it yourself, then follow this basic recipe



A flat Bench

A soft box to jump on

A small space to sprint


1. Perform a dynamic warmup (normally what the athlete would do before their sport)

2. Start with some box jumps

a. No more than 5, with emphasis on how explosiveness and quality landing

b. Perform 2-3 short sprints with a long walk back between reps [should not feel like cardio]

c. Do 2 sets with min rest

3. Do a 'superset' of the following exercises:

a. Dumbbell split Squat x8 each leg (add 2 per week)

b. Dumbell row x 15

c. Front Plank x20 sec (add 5 sec per week)

4. Do a superset of the following:

a. Dumbbell Bench Press (1 arm only is fine if you have limited weights) x 8 (add 2 per week)

b. Single Leg Glute Bridge (5x5s holds)

c. Side Plank x20 sec (add 5 sec per week)

There you go, a full body program that you can do twice per week that will target the whole body, build good movements and slowly improve their strength and coordination. Remember this is a slow cooking recipe, not a microwavable dish. Don't ramp up the weight too quickly or you'll spoil the meal.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

#youth #strength #strengthtraining

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