10 Powerful Hardbody Strength Training Tips for Maximum Gains

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Strength Training for High School Freshmen
  3. Initial Training Phase (Weeks 1-6)
  4. Advanced Training Phase (Weeks 7-12)
  5. Benefits of Incremental Increases
  6. Conclusion


When it comes to high school strength and conditioning, how much weight athletes use over an extended period drastically influences their athletic performance. Different approaches must be taken depending on the training age of the athlete. For example, athletes in the eighth and ninth grades who have never lifted weights before will see linear increases for about a year before they plateau. Less variety and more consistency in training are needed.

Understanding Strength Training for High School Freshmen

In this scenario, we have found that using the same exercises for a twelve-week period will help instill confidence and demonstrate increases in strength by about 100%. In week one, we recommend slowly working up to a challenging set of 12 reps, which will provide a great starting point. In week two, the athlete should use the starting point weight from week one across all four sets. If all sets are performed perfectly, the athlete will increase weight by 2.5 lbs in week three. Here is an example:

Initial Training Phase (Weeks 1-6)

Exercise: Barbell Zercher Squat

  • Volume WK 1-6: 4×12
  • Tempo: 4-0-1-0
  • Rest: 90 seconds
  • Progression:
    • WK 1: 45 lbs
    • WK 2: 47.5 lbs
    • WK 3: 50 lbs
    • WK 4: 52.5 lbs
    • WK 5: 55 lbs
    • WK 6: 57.5 lbs

Advanced Training Phase (Weeks 7-12)

In weeks 7-12, our rep scheme will alter the sets and reps so the athlete has a chance to increase the weight used. For athletes with a training age of under one year, we equate one repetition to five lbs. In this scenario, we look to progress linearly by decreasing four reps and multiplying that by five, giving us our new starting point for week 7 of 77.5 lbs. The tempo and exercise stay the same, but now we are priming the nervous system for gradually more weight.

  • Volume WK 7-12: 5×8
  • Progression:
    • WK 7: 77.5 lbs
    • WK 8: 80 lbs
    • WK 9: 82.5 lbs
    • WK 10: 84 lbs
    • WK 11: 87.5 lbs
    • WK 12: 90 lbs

Benefits of Incremental Increases

The small incremental jumps allow for safe and effective increases. Based on our force plate data, we have found that this simple approach quickly increases power, explosiveness, and lean body mass. There are many methods that might look cooler on Instagram. However, advanced methods are earned, not given. If you are just starting out, try using this standard loading method, and you will not be disappointed with the results.


Simple and effective always wins! By following these Hardbody strength training tips, high school athletes can achieve significant gains in a safe and structured manner.