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training high schoolers in a short time

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:24 pm
by Halfbreed
I wrote a little before about some advice training a few of the guys I work with, but I now take on about 25 guys in an hour and a half session, two separate groups. I'm teaching them the fundamentals, some easy workouts that will help to build the maximum amount in the beginning, but I only have about 2 months at the most with them. I dont want to start them into powerlifting, and too many compound exercises because I don't want them to hurt themselves, most of them haven't ever lifted before. My equipment is pretty limited, I don't have any freeweights, but as far as machines and cables go I'm pretty well stocked. These are only kids, about high-school age. Can y'all bounce some ideas off of me, and let me bounce some ideas off of you guys to help me think this out?

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:41 pm
by ironmaiden708
That's a tough one man. I'm high school age myself, and personally I do mostly body building. I'd have to say that powerlifting would accually have to be the best thing for them since that will put on the most strength the fastest as long as its intense.

But since you don't have free weights that won't be possible. Well one of the first things you should do is show them stretches for the different body parts that they will be working. Also what I'd recommend is showing them how to warm up properly to prevent injury and such. For the first timers have them start off light and go through the complete ROM since that is much more important than the weight they are using, then as weight as needed. If I could get some clue of the machines you have that would be of help.

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:35 pm
by Ryan A
I would substitute free weights with

Squats--> Single Leg Squats (they probably will find it hard enough doing regular bodyweight squats)
Overhead Press-->Handstand Pushups
Rows--> not sure off the top of my head, bodyweight rows if you have a low bar somewhere
Pullups are a good friend

I think those would be better than most machines as the foundation and then just use machines to fill in stuff.

These can all be made harder pretty easily.

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:06 pm
by pdellorto
Warning: I'm not a trainer, I'm a trainee.

I'd agree with RyanA. If they're just starting out and have no free weights, I don't think machines are a great substitute.

I'd go with the bodyweight exercises. For beginners, this will probably be sufficient. Once they get a good number of reps, you can move towards single-leg squats instead of air squats, elevated-feet pushups instead of pushups, handstand pushups down to the bridge of the nose instead of the top of the head, etc. You can get them doing some plyos, too, like box jumps, double-under rope skipping, and agility drills like running cones.

You can also take a look at the crossfit metcons, or even Simplefit's leveled workouts:

Resistance is resistance, but bodyweight resistance is better than machines for beginners. Get them some relative strength first, and some endurance, and get them used to exercising with intensity. I'm not anti-machine so much as wildly pro-free weight and pro-bodyweight, and you've only got bodyweight available, so...


Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:55 am
by Wouter
As a 17-year old I'd say, let them do bodyweight exercises, but with much variation: explosive, 'normal', agility, plyometrics,...
It also depends if many of them are sportive/got a lot of relative strenght or if they haven't got any condition at all/are fat (the latter one will probably be the case).
If 1: let them do coördination stuff (single-legged squats, agility), or something else which give them challenges.
If 2: let them sprint, cycle and do bodyweight exercises. When they have got the power to do them with ease, let them do it explosively.

I believe it will give the fastest 'payback', and thus they will like the training more => more chance that they'll keep training.
Just my 2 cents.

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:13 am
by TimD
Well, I think all the above are pretty good ideas. I'll just chime in to give you an idea of what my college wrestling coach had us doing on a Mon-Thurs basis. First thing, gear up in the locker room at 3:00 PM. go out to the Cross Country course (I was on the north coast of Calif, lots of hills and the course was 2 1/2 miles on a logging road through the redwoods). Then it was into the wrestling room. Jumping jacks and burpees to warm up. Then bridging with your partner sitting on your chest. Then one partner down and hands and kees, the other sits on his back facing in the opposite direction, hooks his feet into the down partners legs and does situps, Roman chair style while the down partner assists him into the up position using his head, neck, then it was partner squats, with partner on shoulder, then handstand pushups and rope climbs/peg board climbs Occasionally he would take us into the weight room and we would do the clean and press, snatch and clean and jerk, but mostly it was based on the bodyweight stuff. At that point it was on to technique practice and drills. For your purposes, I see nothing wrong with incorporating some of the basic machines, like leg press, press, row and you can even rig up something to simulate a deadlift.

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:44 am
by Halfbreed
We've got a lot of good machines here, and what I've been doing is similar to what you guys have told me. I usually incorporate the weights and the bodyweight exercises, though, as opposed to one or the other. For instance, on a shoulder day, I'll have them start with handstand pushups, move into an upright row on the cables or a military press on our benchpress machine, then superset bent lateral raises and box step-ups with the elbows locked, so it works the front delts. I might incorporate a semi-powerclean, but I have to do it using a lat-bar and the cables. For chest I have them supersetting between a bench-press machine and depth-changing pushups....Legs supersetting between an iron-horse and a hack squat....etc, etc, etc. The other factor in this equation is that they are all incarcerated, and I'm using the weightroom as a forum for mentorship. It seems to work well for them individually, and even as a group between the weightlifters, but it's hard to get things to go smoothly for them all the time, because there's always those little sh*theads out there that want to run around acting like a punk, and make things harder for everyone in there. Their staff...the guards or whatever, a lot of them don't help much either. They don't know how to deal with the guys, and end up making things harder on them also. Anyway, this is a twofold deal, because I don't just want to train them to be stronger, I want their confidence to be such that they can eventually make things run correctly in their environment, not just for themselves, but for the other guys that will pick up on their confidence and follow them.

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:05 pm
by stuward
Earlier you said that you only have a lot of these kids for a few weeks. Once they get out they may not have access to similar equipment. It's really empowering to a young person to know that they don't need equipment to get in shape, that their body and their enviroment is all the equipment they need. Yes, learning to use gym equipment is valuable but I think that getting that message through is probably the best thing you can do for these kids.

Well done.


Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:28 pm
by ironmaiden708
Oh god I got to say that weightlifting has done wonders for me. Besides getting bigger and stronger it gave me a great amount confidence as well. Me going from 240lbs down to 180lbs and putting on serious mass just does wonders for overall life. So these kids you are dealing with if there hearts are into it will help them out greatly.