How Many Times Per Week Middle School Athletes Should Workout

How Often Should Middle School Athletes Workout

In today’s busy world of youth athletics, the question of how often should my middle school athlete is asked all the time.

The answer is an easy and difficult one at the same time. The easy answer is 2-3 times per week.

The hard answer is, “When do we have time to get this done”? I have multiple kids playing sports and am always running around!

We want our athletes to develop the correct technique in their sport of choice and now 100% know that being a bigger, faster, stronger athlete in that sport will give them the best chance to succeed.

A proper, age specific strength, speed, agility and conditioning program will lay the foundation for future success.

The ultimate goal is for the athlete to have a great high school experience in sport. A correctly laid strength and conditioning program will accomplish this task.

Many factors will weigh in to accomplish how to fit in a sound strength and conditioning program. Are they a multisport athlete? Do I have other kids in the family that I have to worry about as well? Are they playing on multiple teams in the same sport in the same season?

Let’s address each area in this question!

My athlete is a multiple sport athlete, I have other kids, where can I fit this in?

As with anything a proper plan of attack is the best approach. Sit down with your family and map out what you will be doing throughout the year with the different sports and a projected schedule.

If you see a gap of multiple weeks in a row at different times of the year, this is a great place to integrate a strength and conditioning program into the routine.

This will keep the athlete healthy and strong for the upcoming season they will be participating in.

Look at the strength and conditioning program just like a practice, fit this in!

Off Season Training

The adage of the off season is where championships are won is absolutely correct. During this period you should work to schedule 2-3 times per week for your training.

The workouts during this time should include a sound strength program that focuses on lighter weight and higher repetitions along with speed, agility and a strong conditioning program.

There has rarely been an athlete who walks off the field of play saying I was too strong or in too good of shape. However, many have said I need to be stronger, I need to be in better shape if I want to win.

During the off season, the athlete can make tremendous gains in a short period of time if they are consistent, driven and focused on getting better for the sport coming up.

The Workout – Off Season

During the off season, this is a great time to either introduce new exercises or get reacquainted with the routine if you had not been able to participate in a in season strength program.

Each day should start with a dynamic warm up, a speed and or agility session. This will allow the athlete to focus on the technique of speed and the intensity of the agility training prior to weight training.

For the weight lifting portion, start back with the squat and this exercise can be broken down all the way to a body weight squat to introduce the exercise to a new athlete, re-establish technique and to get the body going again.

Once the athlete feels comfortable with the body weight squat they can progress to a goblet squat and eventually into a bar squat.

For the middle school athlete, do not worry about how much weight they are moving but how well they are moving it. The focus should be on 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions during this time.

The same protocols will be associated with a dumbbell bench press which will eventually lead into a regular bench press.

For the middle school athlete, ensure that the basic movements are done as close to perfection as they can be before moving to a more advanced exercise. This will ensure proper development and safety.

Off Season Example Training Day

Exercise Sets Repetitions

Variation of the Squat 3-4 10-12

Variation of the Bench 3-4 10-12

DB Row 3-4 10

Single Leg Squat 3-4 10

Dumbell Incline 3-4 10

Pulldown 3-4 10

Hamstring Exercise 3-4 10

Standing Shoulder Press 3-4 8

Core 3-4 15

3 way Raise 3 8

DB Shrugs 3 12

Plank 3 work up to a minute

In Season Training

This time of the year is arguably the most important part of sports and they will need to continue with the training. This is where your athlete can separate themselves from their peer group.

If you can fit in 1-2 times per week to keep your strength levels up, the athlete will not only see better gains once you get to off season training, but they will stay strong as their current season progresses.

The plan would be to have a sound strength program that is focused on the base exercises that will allow the athlete to maintain the gains they had during the off season program.

During the in season training, still continue to complete a dynamic warm up which will allow the athlete to stay up with the speed drills, however you do not have to focus on speed development during this period. Conditioning will take precedent over the speed development.

The Workout – In Season

Each day will begin with the dynamic warm up. The assumption is that the athlete will be participating in conditioning while in practice so the workout time can be focused on strength maintenance.

It is ok for the athlete to go lighter on the weights as the want to maintain the strength gains made during the off season.

In Season Example Training Day

Exercise Sets Repetitions

Goblet Squat 3 8

Dumbbell or Flat Bench 3 8

DB Row 3 8

Step Ups 3 5

Dumbbell Incline Bench 3 6

Pulldown 3 8

Hamstring Exercise 3 10

Standing Shoulder Press 3 8

Core 3 15

3 way Raise 3 8

DB Shrugs 3 10

Plank 3 work up to a minute

In Conclusion

For the athlete to put themselves in the best position to succeed, they should start with a sound off season program that will include a dynamic warm up, a speed and or agility session and an age specific strength program that will allow them to continue into a consistent in season program.

The consistency of training over time will put the athlete into a fantastic position of success!

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