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Strength Training - Specific

Following on from a general strength training program, the training needs to be related to the particular demands of the event (specificity) and the exercises must be specific to the type of strength required. The coach should know the predominant types of muscular activity associated with the particular event, the movement pattern involved, and the kind of strength needed. Exercises should be identified that will produce the desired development. Although specificity is important, every schedule must include exercises of a general nature.

Development of the Quads

The following is a selection of exercise that could be included in a sprint athlete's specific strength training program.

  • Jump Squats
  • Step-Ups
  • Half Squats
  • Split Jump Squats - as per Jump Squats with legs positioned in the lunge position
  • Forward Astride Jump Squats - as per Split Jump Squats but swap leg positions on each jump

Other exercises to be used with the Quad exercises above

  • Calf Raises
  • Leg Curls
  • Leg Extension
  • Leg Press
  • Bench Press
  • Shoulder Press
  • Pull Downs
  • Biceps Curls
  • Triceps Press
  • Sit-Ups
  • Lower Back Extensions
  • Sprint arm action (5kg to 10kg dumbbell in each hand)


Identify a series of training sessions using 3 or 4 exercises from each of the above groups. Conduct 2 or 3 weight sessions per week with a 48-hour recovery between each session. Allow 3 to 5 minutes recovery between each set and exercise.

Example 15-week program

  • 3 weeks of 3 sets of 14 to 20 repetitions max (RM)
  • 1 week of 2 sets of 11 to 14RM
  • 3 weeks of 3 sets of 11 to 14RM
  • 1 week of 2 sets of 6 to 11RM
  • 3 weeks of 3 sets of 6 to 11RM
  • 1 week of 1 set of 3 to 6RM
  • 3 weeks of 2 sets of 3 to 6RM

Before You Start

Before starting any training, it is recommended you have a medical examination to ensure it is safe for you to do so. Any application of this training program is at the athlete's discretion and risk.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Strength Training - Specific [WWW] Available from: [Accessed