Hard work with no strength gain

I have a 16 year old athlete who has not made any measurable improvements in strength since August. He currently weighs about 115 pounds. He wrestled at 112 pounds this season. Before that he played football from August until November.
We lift 3-4 days a week on a modified WS4SB template. Ideally we have a ME upper, a ME lower, a RE upper and a light or fast lower day. On Max effort lifts, we work up to a 5 rm. All other work is in the 6-12 rep range.
Technique is solid. Work ethic is good. I am going to look into diet, but I think he is pretty good here. He has been lifting for almost 2 years consistently. His current bench 1rm (predicted) is about 115 and squat max (just at parallel or a tad below) is 150. Is it possible that some kids aren’t developmentally ready for increase in strength?
Any ideas?

You probably don’t need a RE day for a beginner. Also make sure he is eating enough.

Thanks for the reply. What is your reasoning for no RE day? I thought mass building type of workouts would be recommended for a beginner.

From what I have seen with my friends that are wrestlers, wrestling tends to be a strength killer unless you have no concern about weight class.

Did you make sure the kid is solid in basic movements (push-ups, pull-ups, bodyweight squats, walking lunges, etc.) before advancing to weight work?

Dammit RE as in repetition? That should be ok…sorry I was thinking reactive effort. Too many damn acronyms.


Volume is still v. important with novices. Can you post a more detailed program?

This is what we are doing this week. We follow this same general template most of the year. During the summer, we might cut down on some volume to do more football specific drills and more conditioning in a limited time. During peak times (game days, post season, etc) we might cut some things out.
I’m looking forward to some feedback.

Workout 1 - Lower (ME)
1a. Partner Med ball twist = 1 X 30

1b. Decline Situp = 1 X 25

  1. Linear Box Jump or hang clean, 3 X 5

3a. ME Squat or Dead Lift, Work to 5rm
4 steady workup sets, record your 5 rep max

3b. Ankle flexility - in/out/toe/heel/duck

4a. Good Morning or RDL - 2 X 12

4b. 4 way neck, 1 X 10 each way

  1. Reverse Lunge from Incline, 3 x 6

  2. Manual Leg Curl, 1 X 8 each way

1 LAP cool down
Static stretch ham, quads, and groin
Coach Sign:

Workout 2 - UPPER (RE)
1a. Med Ball Twist Throws - 20 each

1b. Crunch - 1 set of 75
1c. Roman Chair - 1 X 15

2a. Lat. Box Jump or push press - 3X5
or 2 X 3 each way

  1. RE Dips or Incline (3 Sets - Chart total)
    1st set=
    2nd set=
    3rd set=

  2. (Weighted?) Chinup - 3-4 X 5
    Set 1:
    Set 2:
    Set 3:

5a. Plyo Pushups - 3 X 5

5b. Face Pull (w/chain on Lat PD), 2 X 15

1 LAP cool down
Static stretch ham, quads, and groin
Coach Sign:

Workout 3 - Lower
1a. Side Plank = 1 X 35 s each way

1b. Front Plank = 1 X 65 s

1c. Slow Penguin = 25 each way

  1. Hang Clean or Box Jump - 3-4 X 5

3a. 4 way neck, 1 X 10 each way

3b. Dead Lift or Front Squat, 3 X 8,
Add weight each set - focus on form

3c. Ankle flexility - in/out/toe/heel/

  1. Good Morning or RDL, 3 X 6

1 LAP cool down
Static stretch ham, quads, groin
Coach Sign:

Workout 4 - Upper (ME)
1a. Partner Lateral Crunch = 1 X 15 each

1b. Partner Med Ball Situp = 1 X 24

1c. Jack knifes, 1 X 40

  1. Lat Box Jump or push press - 3 X 5

3a. Incline or Bench - Work to 5rm
Do 4 steady workup sets before your 5rm

3b. ABCs - do between heavy sets

4a. Bent Over Row, 4 X 6

4b1. Floor Press - 3 X 8

  1. Chinup, 1 X max reps

1 LAP cool down
Static stretch ham, quads, and groin
Coach Sign:

My highschool had a great wrestling team, and several of my friends, all of whom cut alot of weight to make a lower weight class, had trouble gaining much weight later on, even if they ate normally. What seemed to work for many was high calorie protein drinks. Make sure he’s getting his alloted grams of protein spread out over 5 or 6 meals, including the protein drinks. If he takes in more calories than he burns, he should gain weight. If he’s working out hard, musch of it should be muscle. The strength gains will come.

It very well could be a simply problem with adaptation. He might be at a wall because his body as adapted to the program, you said you pretty much follow the same template the whole year, this might be the problem you might need to simply change up what your doing with the kid, by puttin him in different phazes if you follow?