10 Powerful Hardbody Strength Training Tips for High School Athletes

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Challenge of In-Season Strength Training
  3. Initial Strength Gains and Incremental Increases
  4. Effective Exercise Selection
  5. Sample Training Programs
  6. Long-Term Strength Training Benefits
  7. Conclusion


The in-season strength training period for high school athletes never truly ends. Most athletes either play three or four sports or play the same sport year-round, especially in basketball and tennis. This presents a unique challenge during the introduction of a high-quality strength and conditioning program.

The Challenge of In-Season Strength Training

The last thing any athlete wants at the beginning of a season is to feel sore, fatigued, or not like themselves. At the same time, getting stronger is critical for their development, reducing injury risk, and improving on-field performance. Starting a strength and conditioning program without a plan is ill-advised.

Initial Strength Gains and Incremental Increases

Initial strength gains are typically due to improvements and efficiency in the nervous system. Small incremental gains are possible for beginners but more challenging for those with a higher training age (4+ years). Adding 2.5 lbs per training session is a great way to increase strength once an athlete has learned to train properly, reduced asymmetries, and improved lagging muscle groups.

Effective Exercise Selection

When it comes to exercise selection, less is more. Focus on exercises that offer the most benefits: ground-based, three-dimensional, and multi-joint movements. These should be mastered after an athlete has learned to train properly and completed necessary prerequisites.

Effective Exercises:

  • Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
  • Flat Barbell Bench Press
  • Incline 30° Barbell Bench Press
  • Dip – V Bar
  • Neutral Grip Chin-up
  • Free Hand Front Squat
  • Barbell RDL
  • Trap Bar Deadlift

Sample Training Programs

Small adjustments can be made from training block to training block, with close attention to weight increases. Longer training blocks are recommended to allow weight increases to occur.

Program A:

Day 1:

  • Bench Press
  • Supinated Grip Chin-up
  • Trap Bar Deadlift

Day 2:

  • Overhead Press
  • Neutral Grip Chin-up
  • Free Hand Front Squat

Program B:

Day 1:

  • Incline 30° Barbell Bench Press
  • Neutral Grip Chin-up
  • Front Squat

Day 2:

  • Dip – V Bar
  • Pullup
  • RDL

Each program could be performed for 4 weeks with a 5×8 set rep scheme. After the completion of this 8-week period, a slight change in exercise selection could be made, and the number of repetitions per set could be reduced. For example, the new set rep scheme could be 5×6, alternating between subtle variations of program A and program B.

Long-Term Strength Training Benefits

Monitoring estimated 1 RM ensures strength gains. Lower reps allow athletes to handle more load on the bar. Repeating program A & B (16 weeks) three times throughout the year results in massive gains. This also accounts for a 1-week recovery period after each 16-week training block.

Starting with a front squat of 50 kilos and increasing by 1 kilo each week results in a 48-kilo or 105 lbs increase over the first year. Increasing by 2 kilos per week leads to a 96-kilo increase. This simple, structured approach allows for steady, significant strength gains.


By following these Hardbody strength training tips, high school athletes can achieve impressive gains in strength while minimizing injury risks. Consistency and proper planning are key to success in any strength training program. Simple, not easy.