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Weight Training for Teen Athletes: How often should you lift to get stronger?

Weight Training for Teen Athletes: How often should you lift to get stronger?


Weight Training for Teen Athletes: How often should you lift to get stronger?

The off-season is a crucial time to build strength for all athletes through weight training. It is when the least amount of time is spent in their sport, which should translate to more time devoted to strength and conditioning. One of the main goals is to build raw strength, which can then be refined with skill development and agility work.

So now, the real question is, how many times per week should an athlete lift in the off-season to get stronger?

The answer to this question is dependent upon two primary factors:

  • The athletes experience with lifting, (i.e. a beginner with less than 2 months experience; intermediate lifter with 2-6 months of strength training; an advanced lifter with at least 1 year of experience)
  • The type of strength training routine that is prescribed (full-body work-outs versus a split routine, focusing on specific muscle groups)

Regardless of your approach, the off-season is the time for building muscular endurance and hypertrophy (growth) training, initially, and then strength and power as the pre-season gets closer.  

Athletes training status

Again, depending on the athlete’s experience with lifting, and the strength training protocol that will be used, an off-season strength program can range from 2 days per week, to 6 days per week. A lower frequency of training is used for a beginner, at 2-3 days per week, an intermediate should train between 3-4 per week, and an advanced lifter should train between 4-6 days per week.

Beginner

For a beginner, a typical resistance training protocol would be to complete two to three, full body routines, per week, with no more than three days of rest between training days. It is preferable for these workouts to be spaced apart so that there is not too much time elapsed between the last training day and the next training day, which can result in a decrease in the athlete’s training status.  For example, the athlete would train on a Monday and a Thursday, as opposed to Monday and Wednesday.

Intermediate/Advanced

For an intermediate and advanced lifter, to allow for ample recovery time between muscle groups, a split routine is typically used so more time can be spent in the gym, and less time recovering. An example of these two training weeks might look something like this:

Four-Day Split:

Day 1: Upper Focus

Day 2: Lower Focus

Day 3: Active recovery/mobility work

Day 4: Upper Focus

Day 5: Lower Focus

Day 6: Active recovery/mobility work

Repeat the cycle at Day 1

 

Five-Day Split:

Day 1: Upper, Push focus

Day 2: Lower Focus

Day 3: Upper, Pull Focus

Day 4: Active recovery/mobility work

Day 5: Lower Focus

Day 6: Upper, split between push and pull

Day 7: Active recovery/mobility work

Repeat the cycle at Day 1

 

Six-Day Split:

Day 1: Chest and back

Day 2: Leg day

Day 3: Shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms

Day 4: Active recovery/mobility day

Day 5: Chest and Back

Day 6: Leg Day

Day 7: Shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms

Day 8: active recovery/mobility day

Repeat the cycle at Day 1

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Amanda Maddalena has a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology, Exercise Science from SUNY Cortland and a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Central Florida. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through NSCA. Learn more about her on the Coach’s Page.


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