HSN Guide: Sportspeople at the Gym. Part 4

HSN Guide: Sportspeople at the Gym. Part 4

The moment has finally arrived, welcome to the fourth part of our sportspeople at the gym series, in which we’ll apply all the key points we’ve highlighted over the previous articles to design a routine aimed at improving your sporting performance.

Quality over Quantity

As we’ve already said, a sportsperson should prioritise quality and intensity in sets in the gym instead of a high number of exercises, repetitions and unnecessary fatigue.

Routine Design

That’s why when the time comes to design your routine you should use a base of basic exercises across all the movement planes, To do this efficiently, we’ll leave aside exercises that only attack one muscle group in isolation, we don’t need them, our body won’t work using each muscle group independently on the field.

Dead lift

We’re going have faith in the: squat, dead lift, military press, power clean, pull-up, pendlay row, bench press, lunge and step-up. These exercise will form the framework for our routine. We’re going to divide them up logically over the week.

Weekly StrategyWeekly strategy

This is the framework for our routine for an athlete that’s off-season and looking to improve their strength and sports performance.

  • Monday

    Heavy squat

    We’ll start the week with a weighted lift in squats and bench presses combined with an intensity running session, which we’ll explain in the following section.

  • Tuesday

    Pull ups

    We’re looking for a maximum of 5 dead lift repetitions and high repetitions of pull-ups to build a strong upper back and muscle resistance, ending the day with step ups for pelvic thrusting strength..

  • Wednesday

    Active rest

    It’s a day of active rest, which means going for a walk, stretching, eating well and recovering for Thursday, not lying on the sofa all day.

  • Thursday

    Bench press

    We return with the batteries charged for a new weighted series of bench presses and squats

  • Friday

    Power clean

    We finish the week with the most technically demanding session, using a power clean to work power to the max, and we’ll complete it with pull-ups of a greater intensity than Tuesday and squats.

  • SaturdayAerobic

    We’ve got our second aerobic session of the week with accumulation running.

Intensity and Accumulation Running

Intensity RunningAccumulation Running
  • Increase your top speed
  • Creates pressure in the circulatory system + Maximum demand on the CNS
  • Increases muscle fibre recruitment.
  • Improves our cardiovascular limits
  • Increases recovery capacity
  • Tests our running technique under fatigue
  • From 4 to 7 sprints maximum (with maximum effort!)
  • From 20 metres to 100 (depending on the distances of your sport)
  • From 8 to 12 sprints (between 80 – 200 metres distances)
  • It shouldn’t exceed a kilometre (if your sport is based on power)
  • Rest when you need to
  • If through the sprints your speed decreases below 92%, end the session. A correct warm up and preparation is vital
  • Rest as a method for progression
  • Start with a ratio of 1:3 [sprint:rest] (eg: 30″ sprint – 90″ rest) and reduce it as the weeks pass to a ratio of 1:1 (eg: 20″ sprint – 20″ rest)

Progression in the Weights Room

We now have the basis of our routine to build the strength we want to improve in our sport. To progress, I’m going to set out a basic linear progression plan that you can use with these basic exercises.

First Week

The first Monday you should be looking for a weight that allows you to carry out 3 sets of 5 repetitions in squats, but that allows you to perform them with ease, with good technique and speed. This will be your starting point.

Do the same with the bench press, dead lift (1×5) and power clean (5×3) during the first week.



This will be the starting point, and each week you should add 2 kilos to the Monday squat, 2 kilos to the dead lift on Tuesday, 2 kilos to the bench press on Thursday, and 2 kilos to the power clean on Friday.

It’s vitally important that you start conservatively, if on the first day your ego makes you try a super heavy 3×5, it won’t take long before you give up.

It may seem like a slow rate, but in 12 weeks you’ll have increased between 20 and 30 kilos in basic exercises without affecting your sports performance. And believe me, it’s a tremendous improvement.

What to Do When We Fail to Progress

Obviously, this linear progression doesn’t last forever, there will come a day when you try your 15 repetitions (3×5) of squatting and reach muscle failure, thus ending the progression. When this happens, you should go 4 weeks back from the last successful lift you had.

Here’s a practical example:

  • Week 5: 3×5 with 97 kilos
  • Week 6: 3×5 with 100 kilos
  • Week 7: 3×5 with 102 kilos
  • Week 8: 3×5 with 105 kilos
  • Week 9: 3×5 with 107 kilos
  • Week 10: 3×5 with 110 kilos – FAILURE
  • Week 11: 3×5 with 97 kilos – RESTART

If the rest of the basics continue progressing, you don’t need to restart them, you only need to readjust the progression on the exercise you’ve failed on

Once you’ve accumulated 3 restarts on the dead life and 3 restarts in squats (the bench press and power clean can be restarted a greater number of times), you’ll have found your strength base level and you’ll need a more complex timeline.

Specifying for your Sport

Seen on a weekly basis, the proposed routine may seem “short”, especially if you’re used to a classic bodybuilding routine, but bear in mind that the demands of these basic exercises combined with speed and sessions specific to your own sport make the weekly training volume considerable.


Support work

There’s a margin for adding extra work aimed specifically at your sport, but first I recommend trying the basic routine for 2 weeks, and if you recover well and your strength improves, then you can include some extra work from the following suggested supports:

Extra work

Remember that your sport is the priority, you don’t want to end up with accumulated fatigue on the day of the match or in technical sessions.

Final Note

With this guide we’ve covered all you need to know how to begin improving your sports performance and identify the most common errors you were committing.

I’ve given you the tools, but your work, consistency and sacrifice will be the keys to success…

And this is just the beginning, I’ve given you the tools and a routine to help you create a total strength and speed base that will make a difference on the field, but this is a process of consistency and time, so you’ll have to keep learning and adapting your routine, nobody knows exactly the demands of your sport, position on the field, experience, etc.

Only you are able to keep developing training plan

I hope the time dedicated to this has been worth the effort, see you on YouTube and in the next articles. Big hugs!

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About Angel7real
Ángel is a NSCA-CPT personal trainer, passionate about sport and evertyhing that surrounds it. He constantly learning and setting himself new objectives to improve and help others improve.
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