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LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning

Planning the gym-based programme


In this topic, we describe a strength and power focused training routine. The programme is completed over an 8-week period and consists of two training units per week. Note that this programme will require more traditional gym based equipment including squat rack and squat bar and plates, dumbbells/kettlebells, medicine balls, boxes as well as a chin-up bar.

Here in this presentation, we assume that the player has advanced from the AA and circuit-based resistance training formats to this more formal gym-based resistance training approach which is important in the continued development of the player. We now include Olympic style lifts, and gradually progress the principle of overload using the core lifts of the back squat and front squat. We also use a variety of plyometric exercises as well as pushing, pulling and throwing exercises.

Note that we are now introducing the Olympic style lifts and their derivatives and these lifts will become important core lifts in enhancing power in players. Please see our other topics - 'Coaching the clean' and 'Coaching the snatch' - which provide a step by-step coaching progression for the lifts and their derivatives.

Unit 1
Unit 2
  • Power snatch
  • Front squat
  • Power clean
  • Back squat
  • Bench press
  • Pull-up
  • Dumbbell curl and press
  • Drop jump
  • Box jump
  • Bent over row
  • Bridge
  • Single leg deadlift
  • Oblique hip lift
  • Medicine ball partner throw

Table 1. Exercises/lifts selected for general strength and power development.

Our sample RT programme is based on the need to develop greater general strength and power throughout the body and using core lifts. Continuing from an AA and circuit format approach to general strength training where the player’s focus was getting ready to train more intensely we now advance to a set approach where multiple sets are completed and the repetition maximum load used ranges between 4RM and 10RM.

In unit 1, we include the power snatch. This is placed as the first core lift as it demands high speed and coordination to complete effectively. For those who can deep squat, the S&C coach may decide that the deep squat clean (full clean lift) may be appropriate. The S&C coach may also use the mid-thigh pull derivative for those players who may not be able to rack the bar.

The front squat is also placed at the early stages of this routine to develop lower body strength and core stability. We make the assumption that some players are now competent at completing a deep squat. Others may not display the same deep squat competence and so the half squat may be the squat of choice for these players.

We also include the bench press as a strength building upper body press exercise. This auxiliary exercise is contrasted with a pull-up exercise. Note that we encourage a ratio of 2:1 pulling to pressing exercises in this routine as we wish to emphasise posterior chain development in our players. Thus, we might add the horizontal pull-up for players who are not competent at the full range of motion high bar hanging pull-up. We use the box jump with the aim of developing greater explosive power. Several alternatives exist for this exercise with the overall guide to include explosive concentric only and/or stretch-shortening cycle actions and focusing on landing mechanics in particular and overall alignment of posture. Also the bent over row is added to the routine.

Unit 2 includes the power clean and the back squat. Again the power clean requires coordination and power expressed efficiently and is placed as the first exercise in the routine. The mid-thigh pull or other derivatives may be used depending on the rack and squat depth competencies of the player.

The back squat as a core exercise will develop greater lower body strength and the S&C coach may use the half squat or parallel squat options depending on the player’s squat competence. The drop jump is prescribed to develop greater reactive strength. While we are aware that for optimal training effects an individual time recovery between the loaded back squat and reactive jump might result in a post activation potentiation effect, our concern here in the early stages of development is primarily to ensure that the athlete develops a competent reactive jump technique. We will coach and emphasise an aligned knee and foot during landing and also an explosive reaction from the ground. Later, we will advance this to being contrasted with a heavy loaded back squat to avail of a possible post activation potentiation training effect.

The dumbbell curl and press will target the arms and shoulders as a supplementary exercise for developing greater strength in this body part. The single leg deadlift or hip hinge is prescribed to develop greater posterior chain integrity and stability about the hip. The oblique hip lift is prescribed to develop greater torso and oblique strength. Finally a number of options for medicine ball exercises are presented to develop upper body rotational power.

Reps x sets
Power snatch

6-4 x 2-3 sets

Explosive lift and controlled lowering to waist and starting from mid-thigh

Front squat

8-4 x 2-3 sets

Controlled descent and explosive ascent, partner spotting throughout

Bench press

8-4 x 2-3 sets

Strong body on bench with no cheating, partner spotting throughout


3 reps-12 reps determined by 80% of max rep test x 2-3 sets

Complete ROM and ensure stable posture throughout

Box jumps

4-8 x 2-3 sets

Explosive start from jump posture, ensure landing alignment on box

Bent over row and bridge options

10-4RM x 2-3 sets (30 sec hold for bridge x 2-3 sets)

Assume hip hinge posture and maintain stable posture throughout

Table 2. Acute training variables used for unit 1 exercises.

The acute training variables are described in Table 2. In week one, the player will complete 2 sets and then progress to 3 sets over weeks 2-8. The repetition or rep range is typically within a strength range between 3 and 8 reps. However, the S&C coach may adapt this according to the needs of the player. Starting with an 8RM load the player completes 2 sets x 8 reps in the first week. This progresses to 3 sets x 8 reps in week 2. When the player completes 3 sets x 8 reps, he/she then progresses to a 6RM load and then seeks to complete 3 sets x 6 reps before moving to a 3 set x 4RM load progression. This linear model is effective for beginners and will result in strength gains over the 8-week training block.

Repetitions prescribed for box jumps will range between 4 and 8 reps based on the need to ensure quality of execution in each set. The player may start with 4 reps and advance one rep each week. Pull-ups rep range is determined by the max rep capability of the player. For a player who can complete 12 reps in the pull-up, then an 80% of the max rep effort is recommended (that is, 10 reps per set).