Hardbody Athletic Performance: Upper Body Training Strategies for Youth Athletes

In the realm of competitive sports, success often hinges on a combination of strength, speed, and durability. This is especially true for youth athletes, particularly those playing sports like hockey and soccer. At Hardbody Athlete, we understand the unique demands placed on linemen and the importance of targeted training to optimize their performance. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of max effort upper training for youth athletes and how it can contribute to their overall athletic development.

The Role of Absolute Strength in Performance

The ability to overpower opponents and maintain control on every play is paramount. This requires a high level of absolute strength, particularly in the arms, shoulders, and upper back. By incorporating max effort upper training into their regimen, athletes can develop the strength necessary to dominate and excel in their position.

Key Exercises for Max Effort Upper Training

Axle / Fat Bar Bench Press

  • The increased diameter of the barbell in this exercise places greater demand on the arms, leading to accelerated improvements in strength.
  • Athletes should focus on applying maximum grip pressure to engage all muscle groups effectively.
  • Recommended rep ranges include max effort singles and triples to improve absolute strength.

Swiss Bar Floor Press

  • This exercise targets the arms, shoulders, and upper back while promoting controlled movement.
  • Athletes should aim to lower the barbell until their triceps are parallel to the ground, emphasizing control and stability.
  • Swiss bar floor press can be performed for max effort singles to gauge strength levels effectively.

Push Press

  • Mimicking the explosive triple extension of the ankle, knee and hips required in play, the push press is an excellent compound movement for upper body strength.
  • Proper execution involves incorporating leg drive to maximize power output.
  • Athletes can work up to three or five-rep max sets to develop strength and athleticism.

Benefits of Max Effort Training for Youth Athletes

  • Enhanced Performance: By targeting specific muscle groups involved in play, max effort training helps improve strength and power, translating to better performance.
  • Injury Prevention: Developing absolute strength can help reduce the risk of injuries by ensuring athletes have the physical capacity to withstand the rigors of the game.
  • Confidence and Dominance: As athletes become stronger and more confident in their abilities, they can assert their dominance in competition, contributing to team success.

Embracing Max Effort Training for Youth Athletes

While some coaches may hesitate to implement max effort training due to concerns about injury risk, properly planned and executed programs can be safe and highly effective. By providing youth athletes with the tools and knowledge to train at optimal intensity levels, coaches can empower them to reach their full potential and excel in their sport.


At Hardbody Athlete, we recognize the importance of targeted training for youth athletes, especially those in physically demanding positions. By incorporating max effort upper training into their regimen, youth athletes can develop the strength and power necessary to dominate and achieve their athletic goals. Join us at Hardbody Athlete and discover the transformative power of personalized training designed to unlock your hardbody potential and maximize your performance in whatever sport you play.