Applications of ConjugateU for High School O-Linemen



This winter, I started a new opportunity to train a group of high school offensive linemen at my side hustle, The OH Line Academy. I find this experience worth sharing as there are a few constraints I had to navigate while programming which may be of interest.


Background

I originally started The OH Line Academy two years ago to provide skill and technique development, mentoring, and film study during the off-season and scouting opponent film during the season. My intentions were originally to stick within these two lanes until two things happened in 2020: 1) COVID and 2) I started noticing my kids were being held back by strength deficits that, I feel, are left underdeveloped in most high school programs.

When COVID hit, my wife and I decided to ensure we would have a place to train, so we outfitted our pole barn with a ton of equipment from elitefts. Furthermore, as the 2020 football season ended, many schools were forced to vanquish their athletes to what little (if any) home gyms they had to train. At this point, most of my athletes had very little access to equipment to train with, and it was decided that there was an imminent need to step into the strength training lane.


Working Around Constraints

As I mentioned, there were a few constraints when setting up this program. The main constraints are our schedules only permitted two training days (Saturday and Sunday), an upper and a lower. This meant that all of my athletes would be training two or more days a week with their school program once they could return. I would also be using a conjugate template for this training with the framework of ConjugateU in mind. I like this approach as it addresses a lot of the needs of the athlete. It also fills two gaps that many high school programs are likely not—development of speed and maximal strength in the weight room.


The glaring questions were:

  • How do you train speed and max effort in an athlete with only two days?

  • How do you make sure you are not overtraining the athlete between them playing another sport or training with their school two or more times during the week?


This would take some thought and also a conversation with Nate Harvey to navigate. So we jumped on a phone call and came to the following conclusions:

  • Dynamic effort is performed every week, and max effort is performed every other week.

This would be done for two reasons. The first is that it is difficult to build speed if you are doing dynamic effort too periodically. Therefore, dynamic effort would need to be done weekly; otherwise, it is essentially pointless.

  • When max effort is performed, speed work is cut in half.

This accomplishes the task of keeping dynamic effort in every week while also making sure the athlete has gas in the tank to do max effort. Doing max effort work every other week would also help make sure that the athlete is not getting overtrained and can recover.


To learn how to prepare each training lane and how to build up deficiencies in the back, glutes, hip flexion strength and ROM, hamstrings, torso, and explosiveness, please visit the full article by Tyrel Detweiler on elitefts.com.

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