Reminiscing back to my high school days I can honestly say I am grateful for the exposure I received to weight training. Myself and my teammates would meet at the crack of dawn during football season to pump iron in the Dungeon weight room. In the off season we would meet after school and spend hours bench pressing 3 times per week. We also squatted and practiced power cleans, and of course did a ton of bicep curls. I remember working my biceps so hard at times I couldn’t wash my hair in the locker rooms, not because they were sore, but they were actually unable to move…

Having said all this I can honestly say that our training time was rarely supervised and I don’t ever remember being taught how to squat or bench. I do remember a few moments of instruction at times after school on the power cleans, but it really was just a 3 minute introduction to one of the most complex movements in weightlifting. Having been a high school athlete I walked around for the next decade thinking I knew how to lift weights, but the truth is I was in and out of injuries that were created in the weight room. I was taught a few things, but I was never taught the fundamentals, the most important things. I was never taught how to set up a squat. I was never taught how to breath during the movement, which is crucial for not only safety, but also improvements in strength.  I will never forget being taught to look up at the ceiling when squatting. They actually had a smiley face drawn on the ceiling above the squat rack and yelled at us if we weren’t staring at it.  Knowing what I know now this was one of the worst pieces of advice I ever received and lead to a squat injury the year after I graduated. That injury is still with me today.

high school athlete program tucson

Circa 1989, A whopping 120lbs..

Fast forward over 20 years later and we are seeing very little improvement in the development of high school athletes in the weight room. We are still seeing kids come to us staring at the ceiling while doing squats. Even with all the advancements in sports science over the past couple decades we’re still rarely seeing improvements at the high school level.  I cannot count the times I have had young athletes come to us at Evolution Fitness with horror stories of the lack of supervision and instruction in high school weight rooms. The Math teacher who has been “lifting” weights for years is supervising open gym yet the athlete comes to us without the ability to master a few bodyweight movements and somehow has been doing heavy power cleans all year… These are red flags!


I was asked recently about our high school athlete program and what it was about. The words that came out of my mouth were: “it is what a high school weight training program should be.”  After those words came out I realized that is exactly what it is.  Each new student will start with a 6 week course, training 2-3 times per week with instruction in the principles of strength. We will teach each student how to set up for each lift, the appropriate breathing, foot position, and execution of each lift from beginning to end. We will also teach the fundamentals of programming for optimal gains. Strength is crucial for each sport but we also understand that a Volleyball player does not have the same strength requirements as a football player so we tailor each program accordingly.

At the end of the 6 weeks we will offer supervised open gym for the athletes and each individual will be working on a personalized program based on their needs. A qualified and certified strength coach will be in the room to spot, coach, and adjust programming as-needed for all of the athletes. Yes….. Exactly what high school strength training should be.


Our kickoff for this program will be April 2nd. Coaching times will be Tuesday/Thursday 3:45pm and Saturday Mornings at 10am. This first group will run for 6 weeks. If some athletes can only meet 2 times per week we will adjust their programming to make sure they will receive what they need in those 2 days. Each training time will run about 75-90minutes.

During these sessions we will not only work on strength, but also mobility and conditioning. After the 6 weeks is up we will have open gym times in the afternoon with supervision.

June 6th we will kick off our summer program. 

 3pm-4:30 MWF. We will limit each group to 12 Athletes.

For more information on our program visit our Athletic Development page.

High School athlete program tucson