Building a Champion one Phase at a Time: 3

24-7 and partner Chad Ikei of Ikei Performance would like to present part three of Chad's series that hopefully can be used by Arizona athletes to help improve performance on the field

Building a Champion one Phase at a time

Part 3 – Maximal Strength Phase


This is the third installment of a four part series on our unique and proven system for producing the very best athletes.


Four Phase Approach for Elite Athletes

Phase 1: Structural Phase

Phase 2: Functional Hypertrophy

Phase 3: Maximal Strength

Phase 4: Power


This third installment will be focused on increasing the athlete's strength, Phase 3 – Maximal Strength.  This phase will focus on increasing lower body strength with an introduction to improving lower body power.  It is important to follow the strict guidelines for the technique and rest intervals.  Nutrition and supplementation, especially pre & post workout nutrition, plays a large role in building muscle.  In this article we will be focusing on the exercise portion.


Maximal Strength

If you were following our programs closely, you should now be in a stage where your lower body function is prepared for greater loading parameters.  At the same time, you should have packed on a few pounds of lean muscle mass on your lower body (assuming you have been following proper nutritional guidelines).  By manipulating key variables and selecting the proper exercises we are able to increase strength in the major muscle groups within a very short period of time. This phase is critical and is the foundation for the last phase in this 12-week plan in preparation for the power phase. Our athletes tend to put on an average of 40 lbs on their bench press, 80 lbs on their squat and 30 lbs in their power snatch.  Please note that we are training our athletes to be the best in their particular sport, therefore, how much they lift in the gym is not our primary goal but as they improve their gym strength overall performance in the game is maximized.


Basic Guidelines

Don't forget the importance of Tempo, Rest, Sets & Repetition.  Please refer to Part 1 of this installment from the last issue.  However, please note that the tempo of several exercises is designed to be explosive in nature with minimal or no eccentric loading.  Also note that the rest intervals are longer which may seem more then one needs but the realization of neurological recuperation is our goal.  It is also important during this phase to challenge the loading parameters by continuing to progressively overload the bar if you complete all the designated repetitions for the designated exercise.


An individualized Program

This program is focused on improving hip extensor strength (lower back, glutes and hamstrings).  Please note that the workout below is only 1 of 2 lower body programs our athletes perform in the weight room during the week and the entire program changes every 3 weeks.  Our athletes will also be performing 2-4 days of energy system training through sprinting, agility drills, stadium stairs or strongman training to name a few, to enhance lower body conditioning and speed.


During this phase it is important for each athlete to choose the appropriate weight for each lift.  These lifts require proper technique and can lead to injury if inappropriate weight selection and poor coaching is made.  Before attempting this program it is advised to consult with a qualified professional.  However, those of you who are qualified to perform these exercises remember this one phrase:  "you will only get stronger when you lift heavier weights."  Select the appropriate weights and your goals should be to break your personal bests each time you workout.


A)        Power Snatch

Tempo = XXXX, rest = 120 sec, sets = 5, reps 4


B)        Inertia Half Squat

Tempo = 3-2-1-0, rest = 120 sec, sets = 5, reps 3


C1)      Barbell Low Box Step-up

Tempo = 2-0-1-0, rest = 90 sec, sets = 3, reps 6

C2)      Glut-Ham Raise

Tempo = 3-0-1-0, rest = 90 sec, sets = 3, reps 6


D)        Pendulum Db RDL

Tempo = 3-0-1-0, rest = 90 sec, sets = 2, reps 8

Watch Video of Workout

Note:  The above exercises that are paired with a C1/C2 represents performing one exercise (C1) followed by the second exercise (C2) with the designated rest interval between each exercise.  For more information on training programs, log onto or email questions to  Our next installment will cover Phase 4: Power.

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