A question remains about the management of nonlinear acquisition of educational, technical, and physical goals. What should be the strategy of the practitioner facing a player who has only partially achieved the desired requirement in a particular stage? For example, they could have completed the educational and technical objectives without reaching the desired physical requirements. Should they keep working in that particular stage until the desired level has been fully achieved or could adjusting the training program be possible to provide adequate stimuli for each developmental objective? This type of consideration implies that S&C coaches should appropriately assess athletes' individual levels to ensure safe and optimal strength and power development. Accordingly, we consider that postural and technical proficiency should be considered the key factors of training progression. Because proper technical execution is not achieved, the S&C coach should not permit higher training loads, at least for complex and skilled exercises, although the athlete demonstrates sufficient physical competency. Similar consideration could also be afforded for players integrating the developmental pathway at older ages. It is not uncommon that players integrate academies later than ages generally prescribed (14–15 years). In this case, we recommend application of the same training principles through assessing the player to position their educational, technical, and physical competencies along the strength and power developmental pathway and consequently adjust their training objectives and methods to ensure progressive and safe overload (43).
This article aims to help optimize the intervention of S&C rugby coaches in young players by providing general resistance training guidelines. Subsequently, S&C coaches can devote much of their time to adjusting training parameters and pedagogical approaches to tailor for individual differences and needs. As stated previously, the training model and associated practical prescriptions should not be viewed as a “gold standard” or as “best practice” blueprints, but rather as a logical pathway allowing for progressive and coherent evolution of training content (44). However, education in and acquisition of proficient lifting skills before solid training overload and physical development is the cornerstone of our strength and power training philosophy and should be the main indicator of progression, especially during the first training stages. This strength and power developmental pathway should be driven by a large and experienced technical staff to provide an efficient coaching environment and build the foundation for future elite performance. Several international-level team sport clubs have already engaged in this direction designating their best coaches to work in the youngest category (55). Improving the coaching environment for youth and junior athletes (e.g., 1 S&C for 6–8 athletes) and allowing sufficient time for evaluation, individualized training, and monitoring would promote foundations for better strength and power training, thereby translating into greater performance levels during adulthood.
1. ACSM. American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 41: 687–708, 2009.
2. Angleri V, Ugrinowitsch C, Libardi CA. Crescent pyramid and drop-set systems do not promote greater strength
gains, muscle hypertrophy, and changes on muscle architecture compared with traditional resistance training in well-trained men. Eur J Appl Physiol 117: 359–369, 2017.
3. Argus CK, Gill ND, Keogh JWL, Hopkins WG, Beaven CM. Changes in strength
, and in steroid hormones during a professional rugby union
competition. J Strength
Cond Res 23: 1583–1592, 2009.
4. Argus CK, Gill ND, Keogh JW. Characterization of the differences in strength
between different levels of competition in rugby union
athletes. J Strength
Cond Res 26: 2698–2704, 2012.
5. Baker D. Selecting the appropriate exercises and loads for speed-strength
Cond Coach 3: 8–16, 1995.
6. Baker D. A series of studies on the training of high intensity muscle power
in rugby league football players. J Strength
Cond Res 15: 198–209, 2001.
7. Baker D, Newton RU. An analysis of the ratio and relationship between upper body pressing and pulling strength
. J Strength
Cond Res 18: 594–598, 2004.
8. Baker D. Cycle-length variants in periodized strength
Cond J 29: 10–17, 2007.
9. Balyi I, Hamilton A. Long-term athlete development: Trainability in childhood and adolescence. In: Windows of Opportunity: Optimal Trainability. Victoria, Canada: National Coaching Institute British Columbia, Canada and Ann Hamilton, MPE Advanced Training and Performance Ltd., 2004.
10. Beaven MC, Cook CJ, Gill ND. Significant strength
gains observed in rugby players after specific resistance exercise protocols based on individual salivary testosterone responses. J Strength
Cond Res 22: 419–425, 2008.
11. Burd NA, Andrews RJ, West DW, Little JP, Cochran AJ, Hector AJ, Cashaback JG, Gibala MJ, Potvin JR, Baker SK, Phillips SM. Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional synthetic responses in men. J Physiol 590: 351–362, 2012.
12. Cormie P, Mcguigan MR, Newton RU. Developing maximal neuromuscular power
. Part 1: Biological basis of maximal power
production. Sports Med 41: 17–38, 2011.
13. Cormie P, Mcguigan MR, Newton RU. Developing maximal neuromuscular power
. Part 2: Training considerations for improving maximal power
production. Sports Med 41: 125–146, 2011.
14. Crewther BT, Cronin JB, Keogh JW. Possible stimuli for strength
adaptation: Acute metabolic responses. Sports Med 36: 65–78, 2006.
15. Crewther BT, Lowe T, Weatherby RP, Gill ND, Keogh JW. Neuromuscular performance of elite rugby union
players and relationships with salivary hormones. J Strength
Cond Res 23: 2046–2053, 2009.
16. de Freitas MC, Gerosa-Neto J, Zanchi NE, Lira FS, Rossi FE. Role of metabolic stress for enhancing muscle adaptations: Practical applications. World J Methodol 7: 46–54, 2017.
17. Duthie G, Pyne D, Hooper S. Applied physiology and game analysis of rugby union
. Sports Med 33: 973–991, 2003.
18. Duthie GM. A framework for the physical development of elite rugby union
players. Int J Sports Physiol Perf 1: 2–13, 2006.
19. Faigenbaum AD, McFarland JE. Criterion repetition maximum testing. Strength
Cond J 36: 88–91, 2014.
20. Faigenbaum AD, Lloyd RS, MacDonald J, Myer GD. Citius, Altius, Fortius: Beneficial effects of resistance training for young athletes: Narrative review. Br J Sports Med 50: 3–7, 2016.
21. Faria L, Campos B, Jorge RN. Biomechanics of the shoulder girdle: A case study on the effects of union rugby tackles. Acta Bioeng Biomech 19: 115–127, 2017.
22. Fenwick CMJ, Brown SHM, McGill SM. Comparison of different rowing exercises: Trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness. J Strength
Cond Res 23: 350–358, 2009.
23. Fleck SJ, Kraemer WJ. Exercise prescription of resistance training. In: Designing Resistance Training Programs. 3rd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2004. pp. 149–260.
24. Ford P, De Ste Croix M, Lloyd R, Meyers R, Moosavi M, Oliver J, Till K, Williams C. The long-term athlete development model: Physiological evidence and application. J Sports Sci 29: 389–402, 2011.
25. Fry A, Kraemer W, Ramsey L. Pituitary-adrenal-gonadal responses to high-intensity resistance exercise overtraining. J Appl Physiol 85: 2352–2359, 1998.
26. Fyfe JJ, Bishop DJ, Stepto N. Interference between concurrent resistance and endurance exercise: Molecular bases and the role of individual training variables. Sports Med 44: 743–762, 2014.
27. Gabriel DA, Kamen G, Frost G. Neural adaptation to resistive exercise: Mechanisms and recommendations for training practice. Sports Med 36: 133–149, 2006.
28. Garhammer J. A review of power
output studies of olympic and powerlifting: Methodology, performance prediction, and evaluation tests. J Strength
Cond Res 7: 76–89, 1993.
29. González-Badillo JJ, Izquierdo M, Gorostiaga EM. Moderate volume of high relative training intensity produces greater strength
gains compared with low and high volumes in competitive weightlifters. J Strength
Cond Res 20: 73–81, 2006.
30. Haff GG, Nimphius S. Training principles for power
Cond J 34: 2–12, 2012.
31. Handa T, Kato H, Hasegawa S, Okada J, Kato K. Comparative electromyographical investigation of the biceps brachii, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius muscles during five pull exercises. Jpn J Phys Fitness Sports Med 54: 159–168, 2005.
32. Helms ER, Cronin JB, Storey A, Zourdos MC. Application of the repetitions in reserve-based rating of perceived exertion scale for resistance training. Strength
Cond J 38: 42–49, 2016.
33. Howe LP, Read P, Waldron M. Muscle hypertrophy: A narrative review on training principles for increasing muscle mass. Strength
Cond J 39: 72–81, 2017.
34. Janz J, Dietz C, Malone M. Training explosiveness: Weightlifting and beyond. Strength
Cond J 30: 14–22, 2008.
35. Jovanovic M, Flanagan EP. Researched applications of velocity based strength
training. J Aus Strength
Cond 22: 58–69, 2014.
36. Keiner M, Sander A, Wirth K, Caruso O, Immesberger P, Zawieja M. Strength
performance in youth: Trainability of adolescents and children in the back and front squats. J Strength
Cond Res 27: 357–362, 2013.
37. Kirby TJ, Erickson T, McBride JM. Model for progression of strength
, and speed training. Strength
Cond J 32: 86–90, 2010.
38. Kraemer WJ, Patton JF, Gordon SE, Harman EA, Deschenes MR, Reynolds K, Newton RU, Travis Triplett N, Dziados JE. Compatibility of high-intensity strength
and endurance training on hormonal and skeletal muscle adaptations. J Appl Physiol 78: 976–989, 1995.
39. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA. Fundamentals of resistance training: Progression and exercise prescription. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36: 674–688, 2004.
40. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA. Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. Sports Med 35: 339–361, 2005.
41. Kushner AM, Brent JL, Schoenfeld BJ, Hugentobler J, Lloyd RS, Vermeil A, Chu DA, Harbin J, McGill SM, Myer GD. The back squat: Targeted training techniques to correct functional deficits and technical factors that limit performance. Strength
Cond J 37: 13–60, 2015.
42. Lloyd RS, Oliver JL. The youth physical development model: A new approach to long-term athletic development
Cond J 34: 61–72, 2012.
43. Lloyd RS, Oliver JL, Meyers RW, Moody JA, Stone MH. Long-term athletic development
and its application to youth weightlifting. Strength
Cond J 34: 55–66, 2012.
44. Lloyd RS, Oliver JL, Faigenbaum AD, Howard R, De Ste Croix MBA, Williams CA, Best TM, Alvar BA, Micheli LJ, Thomas DP, Hatfield DL, Cronin JB, Myer GD. Long-term athletic development
. Part 1: A pathway for all youth. J Strength
Cond Res 29: 1439–1450, 2015.
45. Lloyd RS, Oliver JL, Faigenbaum AD, Howard R, De Ste Croix MB, Williams CA, Best TM, Alvar BA, Micheli LJ, Thomas DP, Hatfield DL, Cronin JB, Myer GD. Long-term athletic development
. Part 2: Barriers to success and potential solutions. J Strength
Cond Res 29: 1451–1464, 2015.
46. Lloyd RS, Cronin JB, Faigenbaum AD, Haff GG, Howard R, Kraemer WJ, Micheli LJ, Myer MG, Oliver JL. National Strength
and Conditioning Association position statement on long-term athletic development
. J Strength
Cond Res 30: 1491–1509, 2016.
47. Markovic G, Dizdr D, Jukic I, Cardinale M. Reliability and factorial validity of squat and countermovement jump tests. J Strength
Cond Res 18: 551–555, 2004.
48. Mcguigan M, Cormack S, Gill ND. Strength
profiling of athletes: Selecting tests and how to use the information for program design. Strength
Cond J 35: 7–14, 2013.
49. McGill SM. Core training: Evidence translating to better performance and injury prevention. Strength
Cond J 32: 33–46, 2010.
50. Morin JB, Jimenez-Reyes P, Brown SR, Samozino P, Cross M. Very-heavy sled training for improving horizontal force output in soccer players. Int J Sports Physiol Perf 12: 840–844, 2017.
51. Myer GD, Kushner AM, Brent JL, Schoenfeld BJ, Hugentobler J, Lloyd RS, Vermeil A, Chu DA, Harbin J, McGill SM. The back squat: A proposed assessment of functional deficits and technical factors that limit performance. Strength
Cond J 36: 4–27, 2014.
52. Newton RU, Kraemer WJ. Developing explosive muscular power
: Implications for a mixed methods training strategy. Strength
Cond J 16: 20–31, 1994.
53. Ochi S, Campbell MJ. The progressive physical development of a high-performance tennis player. Strength
Cond J 31: 59–68, 2009.
54. Rhea MR, Kenn JG, Peterson MD, Massey D, Simão R, Marin PJ, Favero M, Cardozo D, Krein D. Joint-angle specific strength
adaptations influence improvements in power
in highly trained athletes. Hum Mov 17: 43–49, 2016.
55. Ryan D, Lewin C, Forsythe S, McCall A. Developing world-class soccer players: An example of the academy physical development program from an English premier league team. Strength
Cond J 40: 2–11, 2018.
56. Schoenfeld BJ. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength
Cond Res 24: 2857–2872, 2010.
57. Schoenfeld BJ. The use of specialized training techniques to maximize muscle hypertrophy. Strength
Cond J 33: 60–65, 2011.
58. Schoenfeld BJ, Contreras B. The muscle pump: Potential mechanisms and applications for enhancing hypertrophic adaptations. Strength
Cond J 36: 21–25, 2014.
59. Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sports Sci 35: 1073–1082, 2017.
60. Soria-Gila MA, Chirosa IJ, Bautista IJ, Baena S, Chirosa LJ. Effects of variable resistance training on maximal strength
: A meta-analysis. J Strength
Cond Res 29: 3260–3270, 2015.
61. Stone MH, O'Bryant H, Garhammer J, McMillan J, Rozenek RA. Theoretical model of strength
training. NSCA J 4: 36–39, 1982.
62. Suchomel TJ, Nimphius S, Stone MH. The importance of muscular strength
in athletic performance. Sports Med 46: 1419–1449, 2016.
63. Tan B. Manipulating resistance training program variables to optimize maximum strength
in men: A review. J Strength
Cond Res 13: 289–304, 1999.
64. Vanderka M, Bezak A, Longova K, Kremar M, Walker S. Use of visual feedback during jump-squat training aids improvement in sport-specific tests in athletes. J Strength
Cond Res, 2018 [Epub ahead of print].
65. West DJ, Finn C, Cunningham D, Shearer DA, Jones MR, Harrington BJ, Crewther BT, Cook CJ, Kilduff LP. Neuromuscular function, hormonal, and mood responses to a professional rugby union
match. J Strength
Cond Res 28: 194–200, 2014.
66. Willardson JM. A brief review: Factors affecting the length of the rest interval between resistance exercise sets. J Strength
Cond Res 20: 978–984, 2006.
67. Windt J, Gabbett TJ. How do training and competition workloads relate to injury? The workload-injury aetiology model. Br J Sports Med 51: 428–435, 2017.
68. Young WB, Jenner A, Griffiths K. Acute enhancement of power
performance from heavy load squats. J Strength
Cond Res 12: 82–84, 1998.
69. Young WB. Transfer of strength
training to sports performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perf 1: 74–83, 2006.