Build Sports Strength and Power With This 12-Week Workout

Get stronger in 12 weeks with a workout plan created by STACK Expert John Cissik.

Strength is the foundation for jumping high, throwing hard, running fast and changing direction. It is also extremely important for injury prevention.

The bigger your muscles, the stronger you will be. But strength training is more than building size. It also has a lot to do with your ability to use your brain to recruit your muscle fibers. In other words, it is a skill. And like any skill, you only get better at it with repetition. That's why I'm a big proponent of training strength year round.

Strength-Training Essentials

  • Start with four to eight weeks of high-volume training to prepare your muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons for strength workouts.
  • Practice being strong. I like to include at least one very heavy session each week.
  • Focus on a handful of basic exercises. I use a Squat, a Hip Extension exercise, a variation of the Bench Press, a Row and a variation of the Military Press. With those five exercises, I hit every muscle of the body.
  • Do not sacrifice technique to lift more weight.

I've put together a 12-week workout program to help you become stronger. It can be repeated as many times as you need.

Guidelines

  • If no weight percentage is specified, select a weight that will leave one to three reps in the tank after each set.
  • Always perform your workouts on non-consecutive days.

Weeks 1-3

The first three weeks will develop your foundation of strength.

Day 1

Day 2

  • Hang Clean - 3x6 (bar above knees)
  • Hang Pull - 3x6 (bar above knees)
  • Power Clean 3x6 (weight + 10 pounds)
  • Push Jerk - 3x6 (Power Clean weight)

Day 3

  • Superset: Lunges - 3x12-15 each leg + Pull-Ups 3x12-15
  • Superset: Step-Ups - 3x12-15 each leg + Dips - 3x12-15 each
  • Superset: Rear Delt Raises - 3x12-15 + Dumbbell Shoulder Press - 3x12-15
  • Superset: Reverse Hypers - 3x12-15 + Bicep Curls - 3x12-15
  • Superset: Calf Raises - 3x12-15 + Tricep Extensions - 3x12-15

Week 4

This week combines testing with some strength development.

Day 1

  • Back Squats - 1-rep max
  • Romanian Deadlifts - 3x8-12
  • Bench Press - 1-rep max
  • Bent-Over Rows - 3x8-12
  • Standing Military Press - 3x8-12

Day 2

  • Hang Clean - 1-rep max (bar above knees)
  • Hang Pull - 3x6 @ 70% of Power Clean max (bar above knees)
  • Push Jerk - 3x6 @ 50% of Power Clean max

Day 3

  • Superset: Lunges - 3x12-15 each leg + Pull-Ups - 3x12-15
  • Superset: Step-Ups - 3x12-15 each leg + Dips - 3x12-15
  • Superset: Rear Delt Raises - 3x12-15 + Dumbbell Shoulder Press - 3x12-15

Weeks 5-7

The third phase continues to develop your foundation of strength by changing some exercises and increasing the intensity.

Day 1

  • Back Squats - 3x6-10 @ 75-85% max
  • Romanian Deadlifts - 3x6-10
  • Bench Press - 3x6-10 @ 75-85% max
  • Bent-Over Rows - 3x6-10
  • Standing Military Press - 3x6-10

Day 2

  • Hang Clean - 3x6 @ 60-70% max (bar below knees)
  • Hang Pull - 3x6 @ 70% of Power Clean max (bar below knees)
  • Push Jerk - 3x6 @ 60% of Power Clean max

Day 3

  • Front Squats - 3x6-10
  • Lunges - 3x12-15 each leg
  • Good Mornings - 3x12-15
  • Reverse Hypers - 3x12-15
  • Calf Raises - 3x12-15

Day 4

  • Dumbbell Bench Press - 3x12-15
  • Superset: Push-Ups - 3x12-15 + Pull-Ups - 3x12-15
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows - 3x12-15 each side
  • Dumbbell Front, Side and Rear Delt Raises - 3x10 each
  • Supersets: Bicep Curls - 3x12-15 + Tricep Extensions - 3x12-15

Week 8

Here, you'll test your progress again and continue to develop strength.

Day 1

  • Back Squats - 1-rep max
  • Romanian Deadlifts - 3x6-10
  • Bench Press - 1-rep max
  • Bent-Over Rows - 3x6-10
  • Standing Military Press - 3x6-10

Day 2

  • Hang Clean - 1-rep max (bar below knees)
  • Hang Pull - 3x6 @ 70% of Power Clean max (bar below knees)
  • Push Jerk - 1-rep max

Day 3

  • Front Squats - 1-rep max
  • Lunges - 3x12-15 each leg
  • Good Mornings - 3x12-15
  • Reverse Hypers - 3x12-15
  • Calf Raises - 3x12-15

Day 4

  • Dumbbell Bench Press - 3x12-15
  • Superset: Push-Ups - 3x12-15 + Pull-Ups - 3x12-15
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows - 3x12-15 each side
  • Dumbbell Front, Side and Rear Delt Raises - 3x10 each
  • Supersets: Bicep Curls - 3x12-15 + Tricep Extensions - 3x12-15

Weeks 9-11

At this point, your foundation of strength is fully developed, so the workouts focus on power development.

Day 1

  • Back Squats - 3x4 @ 80-90% max
  • Romanian Deadlifts - 3x4-8
  • Bench Press - 3x4 @ 80-980% max
  • Bent-Over Rows - 3x4-8
  • Standing Military Press - 3x4-8

Day 2

  • Power Clean - 3x3 @ 70-80% max
  • Clean Pull - 3x3 @ 75-85% of Power Clean max
  • Push Jerk - 3x3 @ 70-80% max

Day 3

  • Front Squats - 3x2-4 @ 80-90% max
  • Good Mornings - 3x4-8
  • Close-Grip Bench Press - 3x4-8
  • Pull-Ups - 3x4-8
  • Seated Military Press - 3x4-8

Day 4

  • Dumbbell Power Clean - 3x4-6
  • Hang Pulls - 3x3-6 @ 80-90% of Power Clean max (bar above knees)
  • Dumbbell Push Jerk - 3x4-6

Week 12

The final week of the program measures the progress you've made.

Day 1

  • Back Squats - 1-rep max
  • Romanian Deadlifts - 3x4-8
  • Bench Press - 1-rep max
  • Bent-Over Rows - 3x4-8
  • Standing Military Press - 3x4-8

Day 2

  • Power Clean - 1-rep max
  • Clean Pull - 3x3 @ 75-85% of Power Clean max
  • Push Jerk - 1-rep max

Day 3

  • Front Squats - 1-rep max
  • Good Mornings - 3x4-8
  • Close-Grip Bench Press - 1-rep max
  • Pull-Ups - 3x4-8
  • Seated Military Press - 3x4-8

Day 4

  • Dumbbell Power Clean - 3x4-6
  • Hang Pulls - 3x3-6 @ 80-90% of Power Clean max (bar above knees)
  • Dumbbell Push Jerk - 3x4-6

Start the program over again after you've completed the first 12 weeks. The cycle of building your foundation of strength will ensure continued progress and gains.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: STRENGTH TRAINING | POWER CLEAN | BENCH PRESS | WORKOUT PLAN | WORKOUTS | MILITARY | POWER | EXERCISE | BENCH | CLEAN | PRESS | RAISES