View Full Version : Programming for teenagers

Sara Fleming
10-04-2009, 06:58 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for some advice. I tried the search function, but couldn't find anything relevant.

I am a Crossfit trainer and USA Weightlifting Club Coach. I have three teenage girls I would like to take to local competition in the spring/early summer. I would like to use PM programming with them, but will only be training with them 3 times a week. They participate in other sports and have demanding academic schedules. They range in age from 13-17.

Does anyone coach teenage weightlifters? Aside from not maxing then out prematurely, does anyone use PM programming with kids and do you adjust it in any way? I'm guessing I would probably hybridize some of the training days as we wouldn't be getting more than 3 a week, but since they are just beginners and we're not worried about setting world records, I'm not going to sweat it.

Thanks for any feedback.


Brian DeGennaro
10-04-2009, 08:22 AM
How familiar with the lifts are they, what other sports do they play, and how many hours during those three days do they have to train? Also, what days do they train?

My general opinion is, if they can do the lifts with moderate proficiency (it looks like a snatch and a CJ and not something else) or once you get them to that point, have them do it every single workout, epsecially if they are only training them 3x/week. They are young so they will see progress. However, this does not mean maxes every day a la Bulgarian training. Take it up to a weight that looks and feels slightly chalenging, and take several singles there. Rest 10 minutes, move onto the clean & jerks.

Regarding skill work and weaknesses, use their warmup to address such issues. I've noticed that people have a hard time doing skill work and having it benefit their lifting. You do the skills and the lifts on separte days or cycles it, IMO, loses the effectiveness. Doing skill work such as tall clean/snatch, muscle clean/snatch, complexes, snatch balances, positional lifts, etcetera are perfect primers and warmups for the lifts. People will understand why because they will (hopefully) see the immediate carryover.

Gavin Harrison
10-04-2009, 09:09 AM

Contact Glenn Pendlay, he's the coach of the US younger people WL team.

Sara Fleming
10-04-2009, 10:03 AM
Thanks guys!

My 17 year old is a volleyball player, my 14 year old plays soccer, and my 13 year old is a dancer (fantastic flexibility). I'll be working with them 1 hour on Monday and Thursday and then have about 2 hours to work with them on Saturdays.

They are all relatively proficient in both lifts, but weight is still relatively light. For their first meet, I'm really just looking for techinical proficiency with reasonable weight so skill work is going to be very important. A good taste of success will suit them well I think so I just want them to make their lifts.


Arien Malec
10-04-2009, 10:17 AM
Checking in with Glenn is a good idea. Also give the folks at Hassle Free Barbell a call or email. There are two articles in the last two Milos about how they set up their high school weightlifting.

Derek Simonds
10-04-2009, 11:30 AM
I had the pleasure of seeing Glenn work with kids he coaches in one of my trips to Texas. He is awesome. Another resource might be Danny Carmango. I have seen Danny coach his kids several times and he is also phenomenal. Leo at Crossfit Evolution can probably get you his contact information.

However it works out I think it is awesome that you are taking them to a meet!

Sara Fleming
10-04-2009, 12:57 PM
However it works out I think it is awesome that you are taking them to a meet!

I am very excited to have these girls to work with. Its amazing to see what this does for their athletic performance AND their self-confidence. It is a pleasure and a privilege! :D

10-04-2009, 08:37 PM

What I have done with teens and pre-teens who train 3 days a week is very simple. Each day get them to do some amount of snatches and clean and jerks (10 singles works well, as does 5 sets of 2) focusing on a weight that they can do consistently and with good form, and work to bring this weight up over time.

After this is done, a strength exercise or two... like maybe squat one day, military press the next, and front squat the next... just as one example.

for those that have certain problems, such as holding a snatch in the overhead squat position, you might combine snatches with overhead squats, so that the girl does a snatch plus one overhead squat on each of her 10 snatches. Again, just an example.

Thats pretty much it... very simple. And it works pretty well. Many, many national champions have come from my club and were trained on nothing more than this simple scheme.


PS, I will add this, it is your ability as a coach, to get them to do the lifts in an effecient manner right off, that will be the biggest determinant in their ultimate success or failute. You can never pay too much attention to correct performance of the lifts.

Sara Fleming
10-05-2009, 12:55 PM
Thank you Glen, I appreciate your feedback. That sounds like solid advice and not likely to overwhelm them.