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The Five Laws Of Strength Training - Especially Important For Youth Athletes

Dr. Tudor Bompa is a Romanian-born sports scientist who has written 14 books on sports performance and has influenced countless strength coaches including the likes of Charles Poliquin. In fact, if there is a strength coach you follow the chances are more likely than not they have been influenced either directly or indirectly by Dr. Bompa's work.

His books on youth athletes and training for their sports performance have been translated into 18 languages.

He is regarded as bringing the idea of periodization to the western world. Periodization is essentially planning. More specifically it is the dividing of an athlete's yearly training into smaller periods, or phases, to provide better, long-term success. This is an idea that many athletes fail to grasp and, therefore, don't get as much out of their training as they could otherwise.

"Failing to plan is planning to fail"

As an athlete - and especially a youth athlete - it is important to work with a strength coach who understands periodization and can guide you through your training to have each phase build on the last. This planning should culminate with that athlete peaking at the perfect time and ready to start their competitive season.

Dr. Bompa's five laws of strength training are:

1. Develop joint flexibility

It is critical to use full range of motion in your lifting. This can help prevent injuries by strengthening and protecting the joints. In a recent article I wrote about full range of motion at the ankle joint being a necessity to help prevent jumper's knee. All too often athletes perform movements not using the full range of motion. This is detrimental to their development.

2. Develop tendon strength

If a muscle is stronger than the connective tissue it's connected to it can overcome it and cause injuries, even tears. Healthy and strong tendons (and ligaments) are critical for high performers.

3. Develop core strength

The core is the bridge from the lower body to the upper. It transfers the power - or energy - from the lower half to the upper half of your body. It stabilizes your spine while your arms and legs are doing their job. Without a strong core your arm and leg strength will be negated to a degree. Core strength will help your body absorb contact and finish plays in sports like football and basketball.

4. Develop the stabilizers

Newton's third law of motion says, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". This is a common and understood idea. The problem in the weight room is not enough athletes train accordingly. Take external rotation at the shoulder, for example. Your pressing movements, as well as chin-ups, are internal rotation movements at the shoulder. If your external rotators are weak the body will inhibit the ability of the internal rotators and the weight you can press (or pull) will not be as optimal. This is a protective mechanism of the body to avoid injury. Strengthening your stabilizers "unlocks" your body's ability to recruit more muscle and become more powerful and explosive.

5. Train movements, not individual muscles

Athletes, please stop training like bodybuilders. You do not perform your sport in isolation. Train movements and the muscle will follow. Train to become a better athlete basing your training around ground-based exercises for the lower body and presses and pulling movements for the upper body.

Dr. Tudor Bompa

From Dr. Bompa:

Training guidelines fulfill a given training goal. Proper application ensures superior organization with the fewest errors. The principle of progressive increase of load in training leads to better adaptation and improved strength gains.

Any strength training program should apply the five basic laws of training to ensure adaptation, keeping athletes free of injury. This is especially important for young athletes.

Those last two paragraphs were an excerpt from the article The Five Basic Laws Of Strength Training written by Dr. Bompa.