Systems Based Training

As an athlete you want your strength and conditioning program to give you results. With the YouTube generation of athletes among us, our athletes tend to gravitate more towards exercise programs or exercises that look “cool”, but don’t actually produce results. YouTube box jump and you will see all kinds of ridiculous videos of crazy feats of jumping that’s not actually helping the athlete jump higher. Instead of throwing an exercise or workout on the board for an athlete or team and hoping it sticks. Having systems based training gives athletes the movement patterns they need to develop, and also builds strength in the proper muscle groups to prevent injury. This is the key to taking your athletes training to the next level.

Prior to periodizing a program we need to have assessments, muscular strength testing, and (if proper equipment is available) speed testing. Assuming that all of those boxes have been checked we can now look at our training system. When designing your training system considering equipment, space, and overall facilities that you have at your disposal is going to dictate what lifts are in your programs. For example, if you don’t have bumper plates and platforms and you’re an Olympic lifting guru… either use dumbbells, kettle bells, or find another way to emulate the Olympic lifts. Being principle based as a strength coach and not letting our “philosophy” or pride get in the way of training our athletes will help reproduction of results as well. After considering facilities we then have to look at the sport the athlete plays, how long we will be training that athlete or athletes, and how many times a week they will be training.

Our system for athletic performance training is as follows:

Soft Tissue

Movement Prep


Movement Skill (Speed Work)

Med Ball Throws

Power/Strength Lifts


What makes a systems based training program is an exercise protocol that has different exercises within it, but stays within its own written principles. The way that this program is structured has a mix of influences within it. Influencers like Joe Kenn’s Tier System, Mike Boyle’s thoughts on program design, Mark Verstegen’s speed tactics, Gray Cooks thoughts on movement, and many of my personal mentors help make the programs that I write for my athletes. Use these programs for your athletes, but make sure you find a training system that fits your program, your athletes and fits YOUR principles. If you’re an athlete, seek out your strength coach and have them build a program for you if they haven’t already. If you’re going to be anything with your workouts athlete or strength coach, BE CONSISTENT!

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