Strength and Conditioning
Our mission is to help our student-athletes reach their maximum potential. As we work with all athletes from all sports with a variety of skill levels, we acknowledge the unique challenges that this presents. Because of that, we do not take a “one-size-fits-all” approach. We offer a unified program within the athletic department. This allows our qualified coaches to implement a variety of programs that closely aligns with their personal goals. We believe the weight room is the catalyst for a winning culture and promotes such traits as: positive, mental toughness, and grit. Toiling together builds a team, through daily workout sessions and shared sweat brings camaraderie. Through our program, students will build a spirit of perseverance with the understanding that hard work is required to achieve great things. We want our students to recognize that putting in repeated effort over time, rather than looking for shortcuts.
We have an open-door policy, so feel free to reach out or come for a visit. GO EAGLES!
Scientific Principles followed by the TCA Strength and Conditioning Program
Ground-Based Exercises: Ground-based, or closed chain, movements mean that the activity is being performed with the athlete’s feet on the ground. The more force you can exert against the ground, the faster you can run, and the higher you can jump. Our athletes training requires the majority of exercises to be ground based in order to develop muscle recruitment patterns from the ground up.
Multiple Joint Movements: All athletic skills require multiple joint actions. We maximize the efficiency of each workout by prescribing multiple joint movements as much as possible.
Explosive Training: One of the most critical training aspects for our athletes. Training explosive, quick muscular contractions with free weights allows more fast twitch muscle fibers to be recruited which results in power.
Progressive Overload: The load of weight lifted for each exercise is a very fundamental component of strength training. Overload happens when the body responds to training loads greater than normal. This causes muscle tissue to go into a catabolic state or to break down. The body then adapts, through good nutrition and rest. By compensating repeatedly over and over, the muscle develops more strength and endurance.
Why Do we put such an Emphasis on Olympic Lifts?
“[The Olympic Lifts] not only require high power production if executed properly, but also involve large muscle mass and multiple joint movements that relate well to everyday work, recreational, and sport activities. Thus, by specificity of training, these lifting exercises result in adaptations that transfer well to improve performance in other common movement activities, as well as sports requiring high power output.” —John Garhammer, Ph.D., CSCS. Professor, Director - Biomechanics Laboratory California State University
“The mere practice of the Olympic lifts teaches an athlete how to apply large amounts of force. Part of the extraordinary abilities of an Olympic lifter arises out of his having learned how to effectively activate more of his muscle fibers more rapidly than others who aren’t trained to do so. This becomes extremely important for athletes who need to remain at lower body weights for athletic purposes but need to learn how to apply greater force.”—Artie Dreschler, Author of “The Weightlifting Encyclopedia: A Guide to World Class Performance”
1. Increases Power. Power is scientifically defined as the amount of force applied multiplied by the distance traveled divided by the time it takes. This is simply broken down as power being the ability to display strength with speed. The Olympic-style movements are great for enhancing this ability. Easier, simpler, compound movements such as squats and deadlifts are important foundational exercises that help build a person’s to promote power output, the power outputs of the Olympic lifts are significantly higher than those of the basic exercises. Powerful movements work the fast twitch fibers of the muscle, helping you to accelerate faster and recruit more muscle fibers to do work. Overall, having power makes you more efficient.
2. Increases Jumping Ability. As stated before, performing Olympic-style movements helps to strengthen the fast twitch muscle fibers that are responsible for quick explosive movements we sometimes demand from our bodies. Jumping is one of those movements – Olympic lifts help by mimicking the fast contractions our bodies need to make in order to quickly move ourselves and other weight against gravity.
3. Increases Speed. While combining the above mentioned benefits 1 &2, the ability to create power and the ability to move resistance against gravity together can be referred to as starting strength. Starting strength enables us to use our muscles and bodies to create enough force or power to push off a surface and propel our bodies quickly and effectively.
4. Improves Core Strength/Stability. Just like the more basic compound movements, Olympic-style movements involve a lot of core stability and strength. As many weight lifters are aware, the core is the foundation to the strength of all the body. It helps to keep the body upright and gives a source of balance. These both are tested and trained when performing Olympic lifts due to the complex, powerful movements required as well as the angles and placement of the bar (weight). Your “core” is so much more than just your abdominals – Glutes, lower back, and obliques all are sources of core strength and stability. Olympic lifts leave no muscle untouched, as they require strict form and sequence in order to optimize power production.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association is the leading authority on youth/adolescent strength training. They have published a position paper that I have posted below. We adhere to their recommendations.
6th Grade (Introduction): TCA students will begin their involvement with the strength and conditioning program during this time. This will not include year-round lifting, but rather short, non-progressive phases for introduction. Light loads will be used with an emphasis on body weight exercises, mobility, and flexibility.
Focus: Mobility/Flexibility/Introduction to the basic lifts
Basic lifts: Air squat, Goblet squat, Front squat, Lunge, Hip hinge, Bench press, Shoulder press, Push-up, Band rows, and Chin-up
Light loads/proper technique
7th and 8th Grade (Foundation): During these years, mastery of the basic lifts should be achieved. The amount of weight lifted is of little importance, with focus and attention being directed toward technique and control. Mobility and flexibility are still heavily emphasized. The athlete will be introduced to the hex bar deadlift, overhead squat, hang clean, and Turkish getup.
Focus: Mobility/Flexibility/Mastery of the basic lifts
Basic lifts: Air squat, Goblet squat, Front squat, Lunge, Hip hinge, Bench press, Shoulder press, Push-up, Band row, and Chin-up
Introduction to the Back squat, Overhead squat, Deadlift, Hang clean, Push press, and Turkish getup
9th and 10th Grade (Strength): As the athlete enters High School, mastery of the basic lifts should have been achieved. Focus will shift to speed and strength. Progressive movements will be introduced. Weights are adjusted for athletes as needed.
11th and 12th Grade (Advanced development): As the athlete enters the last two years of Upper School, the focus of our programming shifts to strength from bodyweight ratio. Any weaknesses hindering the goals below will be addressed. Weights are adjusted for athletes as needed.