Foundations Of Athletic Development Training Plan

If you are aiming to excel in your sport, feeling, faster and stronger whilst reducing the risk of injuries, then you are in the right place. 

Training for elite sports is what we’ve done personally and what we support others to do for a living. We’ve worked with over 250 athletes from over 18 sports from national development programmes all the way up to Commonwealth medalists and European finalists. 

Decoding Your Athletic Potential: The Science Driving Athletic Development 

What is General Athletic Development?

General athletic development lays the foundation of fundamental movement skills that are considered the building blocks to more specialised and complex sport-specific skills required for success in sport and resistance to sport-related injuries, which have life-lasting effects.

What are the Foundations of Athletic Development?

The foundations we share are how most athletes start before they move on to more specialised programmes.

These foundations incorporate landing, jumping and rebounding mechanics, which form the groundwork for subsequent plyometric and agility-based work to develop speed. 

Integral to these foundations are fundamental movement skills, which are important for strength development and fostering the foundations of general athletic development. This approach is backed by research, emphasizing the importance of movement skills, including: 

The Athletic Motor Skill Competency Model (Moody et al 2013) 
Lower Body Unilateral Exercises focusing on one leg at a time, emphasizing the quadriceps and glutes.
Lower Body Bilateral Exercises working both legs at once, emphaizing the quadriceps and glutes. 
Upper Body Pushing (Vertical & Horizontal)Upper body exercises that involve moving the arms horizontally or vertically away from the body.  
Upper Body Pulling (Vertical & Horizontal)Upper body exercises that involve moving the arms horizontally or vertically towards the body.
Anti-Rotation, Core and BracingExercises that require you to stay still and resist your body moving despite forces trying to cause your trunk to rotate. 
Jumping, Landing & Rebounding MechanicsExercises focusing on how you land safely and absorb force, and then how you bounce back and produce force. 

Experience a 1-Week Trial of an S&C Programme to Enhance Your Athleticism

Mobility & Activation Warm-Up:

The warm-up is a vital step in preparing you for getting the most out of your session, whilst also providing you with additional benefits, which include: 

  • Increase blood flow to muscles and the muscle’s ability to generate force. 
  • Improve range of motion at the joints and reduce muscle stiffness. 
  • Reduce the risk of injury and increase robustness. 

The warm-up will target: 

  • Mobility of the thoracic, hip and shoulder. 
  • Activation of the glutes, quads, core and upper body.
  • Stability of the ankle, knee and hip.

Foundations Of Athletic Development Warm-Up

ExerciseHow ToSets x Reps
Yoga Flow2 x 3
Glute Bridge2 x 10
Lateral Step Up2 x 6 ES
Plank Shoulder Taps2 x 6 ES
Hop & Holds2 x 6 ES

Foundations Of Athletic Development Training Plan

Here we have put together a 1-week strength and conditioning programme, designed as an introduction to kickstart your journey towards overall athletic development – particularly tailored to enhance your movement capabilities and strength.

Here we have some guidance on how to approach the programme: 

  • Complete the warm-up above as a circuit before both sessions.
  • Complete exercises as supersets or tri-sets (two or three exercises respectively as a mini-circuit), as represented by the letters and numbers below.
  • Aim for a rest period of 60-90 seconds between sets.
  • For guidance on how to perform exercises, please use our “how to” resources by clicking on the links provided – focus on your technique! 
  • Ensure there is a break of at least 1-2 days between sessions to allow you sufficient time to recover. 
  • It’s advisable to maintain a record of the weight you use as a means to track your progress. (can we have a free Excel for them to download?)

Foundations Of Athletic Development Session 1

Session 1
OutcomeExerciseHow ToSets x Reps
1ABilateral Squat Goblet Squat3 x 10
1BLanding MechanicsAltitude Landings3 x 4
2AVertical Press½ Kneeling DB SA Press3 x 8 ES
2BHorizontal PullInverted Row3 x 8
3AUnilateral HingeSingle Leg RDL3 x 10 ES
3BCore Bracing Deadbug3 x 6 ES

Foundations Of Athletic Development Session 2

Session 2
OutcomeExerciseHow ToSets x Reps 
1ABilateral HingeTrap Bar Deadlift3 x 10
1BJumping MechanicsBox Jump3 x 4
2AVertical PullEccentric Pull Ups3 x 4
2BHorizontal PressPress Up3 x 8
3AUnilateral SquatReverse Lunge3 x 10 ES
3BCore Anti-RotationPallof Press3 x 6 ES

Top Tips:

  • Do the basics well by paying attention to your technique
  • Be patient as improvements take consistency and time over weeks and months 
  • Have fun and enjoy the process! 
Athletic development plan

Final Notes

Here, we have shared a glimpse of a strength and conditioning programme infused with the science behind it to enhance your athletic development.  

If you have any questions or are interested in a 4-week strength and conditioning programme aligning to your training needs, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]

Thank you & Go Well 

Emily Dingley (BSc, UKSCA S&C Coach) & Will Shaw (PhD Sport Scientist, Golf Pro)

Co-Founders of Sport Science Insider

On Sport Science Insider, we have over one hundred evidence-based articles for FREE that covers the principles of training and how to perform exercises. We’re here to support you on the path to achieving your athletic goals.  

Health Statement & Disclaimer 

The information in this programme is provided solely as general educational and informational purposes only. Use of this program, advice and information contained herein is at the sole choice and risk of the reader. Always consult your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning any exercise programme.

Full exercise list

Yoga Flow

Glute Bridge

Lateral Step Up

Plank Shoulder Taps

Hop & Holds

Goblet Squat

Altitude Landings

1/2 Kneeling DB Single Arm Press

Inverted Row

Single Leg RDL

Deadbug

Trap Bar Deadlift

Box Jump

5 Second Eccentric Pull Up

Press Up

Reverse Lunge

Pallof Press