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The Best Training Program For All Youth Athletes

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The Best Training Program For All Youth Athletes

The domino effect of the 1x20 program on athletic success is a great way for young athletes to get enough of a stimulus to grow and make progress in the limited time they have each week. The program consists of completing 10-15 exercises for 1 set of 20 reps, with the goal of going up in weight or adding a rep or two each time you come into train.

Most young athlete's schedule's are full so finding the time to do multiple sessions a week can be a challenge. This program can be completed once a week to maintain a level of strength and muscle during the season or up to 3 times a week to really boost strength.

The 3 main benefits include:

1. Injury risk reduction

  • Doing 20 reps of any movement will take 45-60 seconds to complete, which places your tendons, muscles, and ligaments under constant tension. This can provide a great benefit to tend and ligament resiliency as well as building muscle which acts as body armour against collision injuries and muscle strains/tears.

2. Skill development

  • The more often you do something the better you'll get at it, and so completing 20 reps is a great way to engrain the movement patterns into your child's memory. By doing this with 10-15 exercises, you are developing a greater exercise vocabulary and proficiency in overall movements such as squat, hinge, push, pull, rotation, and anti-rotation patterns. This creates a nimbleness in your hips, back and shoulders.

3. Fitness improvement

  • Doing 20 reps of 15 exercises is a great way to test and build up muscular endurance abilities. It can be used to build a 'base' of fitness in the off season or a break from the high intensity lods during the season.

We have used the 1x20 program in a variety of ways at Inner Athlete, as a strength and endurance builder, but also as a maintenance and rehabilitation program.

For a lot of our young athletes, they began using the 1x20 program to learn and become proficient in the movements in the first month. From there the next block focussed around pushing the strength and muscle hypertrophy. The third wave saw a drop in reps to 1x15 which allowed for an increase in weight as well as intensity. Alongside a comprehensive warm up which included power and plyometric type movements, a full arsenal of athletic development qualities are able to be targeted.

For many of the young swimmers we work with, they had a tendency to dump their shoulders forward which is a very common movement in swimming as ween in the butterfly and freestyle strokes especially. This meant they had an inability to control their shoulders and stabilise through the shoulder joint and the scapula. However, through the higher rep sets and variety of movement, they were able to quickly rectify this issue and fix a lot of the pinching pain felt during their swim strokes. This new ability to control the scapula resulted in not only better shoulder health, but also a drop in swim times as they were able to be more powerful and efficient in their swim strokes.

The final way we utilise the 1x20 program is in a maintenance capacity during the season. We understand that strength training plays a massive role in athletic performance, however as youth athletes it isn't always realistic to assume they can train multiple times a week on top of school and extracurricular activities. The 1x20 program can be used to maintain the strength gained in the pre-season as there is enough of a stimulus for strength to be challenged. We have trialled this with our junior soccer athletes who have a high training load already and have seen great success in performance management and durability.

For more information regarding the 1x20 program, check out our YouTube video for a detailed breakdown!

Matt Hucul
Junior Strength Coach
Inner Athlete (AUS)

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