| | An Athlete’s Bedrock Journey

Author / Matt Sullivan

5- 10 minute read

When a brand new athlete approaches you and asks you to be there strength coach, or tells you they want to train with you to get stronger, it can be an exciting time. This individual is approaching you and putting their future in your hands. Visions of PRs and scholarships might start playing through your head as you imagine what life can look like down the road. But then maybe that small voice of doubt starts creeping in.

You start thinking of where you should start so you pull out your phone and do a quick search, only to be met with thousands of pages with programs, tips, tricks, hacks, and so many “ONE thing” reveals to taking your athlete to the next level.

It’s not a secret that social media is a cesspool of fitness these days. There is so much information in the world of strength & conditioning now, both good and bad, that athletes and coaches might be left in confusion on where to start an athlete in the weight room. 

So where exactly should you start?

The answer itself is quite simple: build a Base Level of Strength…a Bedrock.

The Usual Story

Seems simple enough. Strength (after all) is in the name of a strength coach, so it makes sense that starting here is the best move. But then, why do so many get lost in the sauce? It comes down to one major piece: application.

As a private sector strength & conditioning coach, I’ve seen this time and time again with younger athletes. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the best athletes in our area in sports such as baseball, football and softball. The following scenario is something that I see at work very often: an athlete begins training with their team, doesn’t quite see the results they want or need, and comes to a private coach to get additional coaching so they can see faster, better results. 

In August of 2023, I began training an athlete named Peter. Peter is 15 years old and plays baseball at a private school. His main position is pitching. When he first came to me, he was experiencing a ton of nagging injuries in his shoulder, hip and elbow. Before we started on any sort of program, I needed to see how he moved.

I was watching his movement patterns in the squat, bench, press, lunge, and step ups. At first I was very impressed at how well he could move through space; at bodyweight he looked picture perfect. But, once we started to add some pounds to the bar for the squat, he began to fold pretty quickly. After training with me for a period of time, he actually quit coming due to his schedule with baseball. I stayed in contact with him just to check in. He got through his season, but was really struggling with staying healthy enough to pitch and to even complete his pitching lessons with another private baseball coach. He had been repeatedly to the doctor for these issues, and was doing everything from physical therapy, cupping, needling, etc to help combat it. While these remedies did help ease the pain, it was not addressing the root cause: he was just weak. He was experiencing what so many athletes go through, which is not having the strength to actually produce or reduce the force needed for their sport. Placing your body in compromised positions at high velocities can be a recipe for disaster if you are not strong enough. 

Laying the Foundation

We know that strength is a prerequisite for velocity. If you want to get faster, get stronger. If you want to jump higher, get stronger. If you want to throw harder, get stronger….You catch my drift. 

At one point he and his parents thought he might not make the varsity team for baseball. August of 2023, he committed to working 3 days a week to work with me, and started his journey on a modified version of Power Athlete’s Bedrock Program.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bedrock, it’s the program we at Power Athlete recommend everyone start on, if they have never done a traditional linear progression. Our experience has shown us that there’s nothing more anabolic than a traditional, no frills, linear progression – skipping it leaves a lot on the table.

In a perfect world, Bedrock is a 4-day program. But life rarely plays along, so we had to modify. We did a 3 day split that we use for busy schedules:

Day 1- Max Effort Sprint or Change of Direction (COD), Back Squat, Press, Lunge
Day 2- Plyometrics, Deadlift, Vertical Pull, Step Ups, Conditioning/Accessory
Day 3- Capacity Sprint or COD, Back Squat, Bench Press, Conditioning/Accessory

As per the bedrock model, we added 5lbs to the squat each session, 10 lbs to the deadlift, and 2.5lbs per session for the bench and press, repeating the above cycle week after week. 

The Results

Peter started his Bedrock protocol lifting 135lbs for squats, 75lbs for press, 95 lbs for bench press and 185 for deadlift. He’d consistently come in for 3 days a week, unless illness or holidays prevented his attendance. His progress from August 2023 to the time of this article’s publication has been excellent: he has now squatted 260 for 3 sets of 5, benched 155 for 3 sets of 5, deadlifted 330 for 1 set of 5 and overhead pressed 115 for 3 sets of 5. He’s throwing harder, hitting harder, and his nagging injuries have subsided. His coach has even asked him what he’s been doing outside of his school training, and he has helped other kids on his team understand how to get stronger. Peter has since stayed diligent in his training and has greatly improved his performance and athleticism. 

Nothing fancy. No gimmicks. Lift heavy weight, sprint, play your sport. Eat, sleep, recover, repeat.

Practical Application for Professional Results

What Peter was missing was the application of a simple, linear progression strength program. I would venture to guess this is what many young athletes just starting their journey are missing. Getting stronger should be the base of every pyramid to build everything else up from, whether it is another training adaptation or skill for the sport itself. A stronger athlete will always be a more durable athlete.

If you’re interested in learning more about Bedrock and how to properly apply it to your athletes get to them stronger and faster, head over to the Power Athlete Academy and sign up for the Methodology Course today. And if you’re an athlete sign up to Bedrock now, or use our program selector aid below if you’re ready for a program to take you to the next level.

Related Content

Training: Program Selector Tool

Blog: Getting Started with Bedrock by Carl Case

Podcast: Ep 729 – The Path to Athletic Excellence w/ Zach Even-Esh

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Matt Sullivan

Power Athlete Certified Coach
Director of Operations- Columbus Athletic Club (Columbus, GA)
Owner- Magnolia Strength & Performance

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