Primary Schools
Youth Strength and Conditioning


Here at Amaven, we really care about our athletes and the development of all those that want to be active and unlock their own potential, that is why that all our programmes and services are designed around a model of Long-Term Athletic Development (LTAD).

We have detailed this many times before, but if you have missed it, we view it as as the basis of success, it allows athletes to develop all of their skills and qualities not only to support skill acquisition and physical development but also to reduce the risk of injury and burnout.

This methodical order consists of:

  1. Developing the Fundamentals – Unstructured activity for younger athletes.
  2. Development Stage – Follows on from stage one, slightly more structured, but fun is still the most important aspect of training.
  3. Mastery Stage - Training becomes more specific, this is usually (but not always) post peak height velocity.
  4. Advanced Stage – Specific and structured training usually sport and position specific.
  5. Elite – Athletes at the top need to stay there, this phase is usually centred around maintenance and marginal gains.

The concept of LTAD is supported by many researchers and sports scientists, with one of the more well-known models coming from Llyod and Oliver (2012), who throughout their model, highlight a training structure during each of the stages in an athlete’s life. These structures are useful to acknowledge and would fit into each of our stages/order above.

The structure of training starts, as we have identified as UNSTRUCTURED, allowing children to experiment with and to develop their fundamental movement skills in a fun and enjoyable environment.

Next, come LOW STRUCTURE, as discussed, fun is still the key, but this stage allows coaches and athletes to ‘plug holes’ in their physical development

Following on from these early stages, training will become MODERATLEY STRUCTURED, HIGHLY STRUCTURED and VERY HIGH in STRUCTURE.



Despite common misconceptions, strength can be ‘developed’ at any age, any stage or with any type of training structure, in fact it should be encouraged.

Following the work of Llyod and Oliver, they state “Despite previous concerns, it is now accepted that children can safely and effectively participate in strength training, when prescribed and supervised by appropriately qualified personnel”

Strength provides a foundation for so many skills related movements and so many different components of fitness – as we discussed in last week’s blog – so whilst we encourage Strength training, and Llyod and Oliver are stating it is safe to do across the LTAD Model, we thought we would have a look at what type of training helps develop strength when training starts to become ‘structured’

Over many of our blogs, we recommend Bodyweight Exercises and exercises with External Load such as dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls etc. So, what is best?


Body – Weights!!!

All movements require a level of strength or force production, from walking, running, jumping, dancing and specific sporting skills. Pre-peak height velocity, as young athletes do not have the relative hormonal production to increase muscle mass, the body goes through a period of learning on how to generate strength/force via the nervous recruiting and organising muscle fibres. This is collectively known as neuromuscular and neuromuscular adaptations.

Neuromuscular adaptations allow for an increase in strength/force production without an increase in muscle mass. Therefore, giving young athletes the opportunity to explore different activities from free-play, dancing, yoga and bodyweight movements, along with sporting drills, these will all drive essential neuromuscular adaptations.

As the young athletes learn and develops (through post-peak height velocity – usually post 10 for boys and 9 for girls) the body requires a new level of training to further develop strength. Adding external resistance/load stimulates further neuromuscular adaptations, as it recruits higher threshold muscle fibres, known as fast-twitch.

Bodyweight exercises, such as Squats, Walking Lunges, Press Ups, Pull Ups and Tuck Jumps can be an ideal introduction to more structured strength training for young athletes, not only does it allow the nervous system to recruit muscle fibres, but also organises inter and intramuscular coordination in conjunction with balance. Bodyweight training provides the younger, less experienced athletes with the confidence to start strength training, as most of the exercises can be loaded as they mature and develop.



The impact of body weight training will be limited in trained athletes, and it can also be less effective in younger athletes that are training regularly for a period of 6 weeks (or more), this is due to bodyweight training not being enough stimulus, and to develop further strength benefits external load is required.



It is important to note that Bodyweight Exercises and exercises that have external loads, such as weights, do not need to be completed exclusively, it is fine to mix and match bodyweight and external load exercises as part of your training programme, however, you need to consider what is going to give your athletes the best possible results.

We ask our athletes to use an RPE scale when training. The RPE Scale is the Rate of Perceived Exertion, so we are essentially asking our athletes "how hard (or how easy) was that?" This is normally scored on a scale of 0-10. 0 is very, very easy and 10 being very, very hard.

When athletes report that training is regularly scoring 5 and under on the RPE scale, in terms of bodyweight training, they must find ways to further stimulate the muscles so that neuromuscular adaptations can take place. This is where athletes use the likes of Dumbbells, Kettlebells and Medicine Balls.

The use of this external load also promotes the development of the central nervous drive and encourages muscles to work effectively, when fatigued during competition and when under pressure.

We have put together 5 effective exercises that together will stimulate the whole body.

  1. Kettlebell Goblet Squats
  2. Romanian Deadlifts
  3. Standing Shoulder Press
  4. Dumbbell Overhead Lunges
  5. Dumbbell Bent Over Rows



How to become stronger!

It is extremely common for young footballers to use their sport as their training. Remember, that a long-term athletic development programme is developing young athletes over a relatively long period of time, and it’s the accumulation of training which is arguable the most important factor (sometimes referred to as training age). Research has shown that if strength training in young athletes stops, the young athlete’s strength levels start to decline, even if the young athlete continues playing their sport. Interestingly, the decline in strength levels quickly revert back to pretraining levels within 8 weeks (think about the pause on Grassroots Football due to lockdown)


We provide Neuromuscular Playlists for you

Our Apps can provide athletes, coaches and clubs with the activities that they need to be able to develop strength in their players. As we understand that time is tight for all coaches, our app gives players specialist coaching at home, allowing you to concentrate on specific development during sessions.

As strength training is mostly due to neuromuscular adaptations within players, the importance of variation in activities and drills cannot be overemphasised. To allow each player to explore different activities, each player receives a playlist of activities relative to their development.

Early on, pre-peak height velocity, the activities are based on the movement skills, learning dance patterns, bodyweight and yoga type postures

Post-Peak Heigh Velocity further activities that include increased resistance will be introduced.

If you would like more information on Strength, visit our Website, or contact us to see how we can help support you, your players and your club.


Want to become a better Athlete? 

Our Sports Apps below can help

Total S&C

Strength and Conditioning Platform for Clubs and Academies

Our Total S&C platform helps coaches to deliver a LTAD and S&C programme efficiently to a large number of athletes across all age groups playing different sports.


Our Strength & Conditioning platform consists of a Portal for the coaching team, enabling them to modify training sessions, monitor players training history, input test results and identify players who are sports ready. The athletes are provided their own S&C Player App which allows them to take control of their own training, self-test, log exercise history and track progress.

We get athletes sport ready. We reduce overuse injuries and burn out. We help to develop independent and healthy athletes.

  • Automated session generator saves time
  • Monitor athlete adherence and progress
  • Online management portal for coaches
  • Training App for all athletes
  • Testing and profiling to identify sport readiness


TF App

The Total Football App, is designed to support players of all ages and skill levels. It is the only Football Coaching App that integrates 5 phases of skill acquisition and long-term athletic development, meaning that all sessions and activities are designed to meet your current skill level whether you are just starting out, or are an experienced academy player. All our turning sessions are designed by UEFA Qualified Coaches and are supported by further sessions in:

Ensuring that players aren’t just practicing but are practicing with the highest quality. We also have a range of physical development practices, healthy lifestyle sessions, and psychological tips to help develop the total footballer. If your child needs help developing their turning, or any part of their game, you can try the app for free now!

Order the App         FreeTrial 

Total Sport Logo

Improve Fitness and Develop Sports Skills

The Total Sport App allows children to access fun and exciting activities that will help improve fitness, develop sports skills and increase confidence.

  • Develop Fundamental Movement Skills, such as Agility, Balance and Coordination
  • Learn new sports skills, dance and yoga
  • Improve overall wellbeing and fitness
  • Understand emotional wellbeing


The Total Sport App is completely branded to you school and fully maintained by us. We provide new drills each week to improve Speed, Strength, Power, Agility and Endurance, and provide long-term support for parents and players via training session developed by our experienced team of experts

Order App