Jun 15, 2018In Top Form
Andrew Wun, CSCS, USAW, is Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif. His program was recognized with the NSCA’s Strength of America Award in 2017. We asked him for his thoughts on training upper-body strength.
What is your philosophy on upper-body training?
Wun: As a strength and conditioning coach at the high school level, my athletes do not have much experience, if any, in the weightroom. They are very young in their physical development, so it is important for me to teach them the fundamental movements and progress slowly from that foundation. Therefore, our general approach for training the upper body is to have a pulling movement for every pushing movement and work through all planes of motion. I also make sure to focus on the dominant side of the body just as much as the non-dominant side because I want my athletes to be well-balanced.
How do you target different areas of the upper body — such as the shoulders, arms, chest, and back — in your training?
Wun: With the exception of some shoulder prehab work, all of our upper-body movements are multijoint lifts. These hit all the major muscles of the upper body and work a lot of the smaller stabilizing muscles. So we pair lifts like the bench press with barbell rows, the push press with pull-ups, push-ups with TRX rows, and the incline press with landmine rows.
How do you incorporate injury prevention/prehab into your upper-body work?
Wun: I suffered a major shoulder injury when I was in high school that essentially ended my athletic career, so I have all my athletes perform upper- and lower-body injury prevention exercises with an emphasis on shoulder prehab. I don’t want to see any of them suffer a preventable career-ending injury like I did.
My overhead athletes perform different shoulder prehab movements every workout. These consist of rehab exercises a sidelined athlete would use to come back from an injury, such as Ys, Ts, Ws, and Ls from a bent-over position or some external rotation work with a band from different angles and positions. I finish each session with this injury prevention work and core stability, so that everything I say about doing the extra things to stay healthy is fresh in athletes’ minds as they leave the weightroom.
Image by Staff Sgt. Christopher Griffin