The 1×20 is a method of training that has only recently come to my attention. I first heard about it a year ago, and like many, I kind of scoffed and thought 1×20 is silly. However, over the past few months it has popped up a few times. Whether that is because I have been searching more around it or that I am just paying attention to it. Either way, the protocol first put forward by Dr Yessis, has grown on me and I’m actually beginning to love it. Before I become a full convert for youth strength training, I am trialling it out with a couple of different athletes. So, what is the 1×20 method.


The Protocol Itself

This is where the beauty begins.  Complete (generally) 10-20 exercises per day and perform 1 set of 20 reps across all movements. You perform the same workout each session but with incremental increases in weight. By doing this you can cover all major movement patterns and joint actions in the body.

The progression comes from the incremental weight increases. You simply keep adding weight to your set of 20 reps. Once you stagnate, you will move on to 1×14. Again, keep adding weight steadily. Once you stagnate again, you can move to wither 1×10 or 1×8. Guess what? You simply keep adding weight once again. Once you are at this stage and start to stagnate you can start to add in extra sets. Here the progression is most likely going to become a more specific to your needs. Whether you build to 3 sets of 8 or revert back to 2 sets of 20 is kind of up to you.


Why it’s Great for Youth Strength Training

The programme is on the lower end of the scale in terms of intensity. However, it does enough to stimulate adaptions in strength and muscular endurance. This means you have less risk of burning an athlete out and less risk of injury. One of the main goals with youth athletes, particularly at NK Fitness, is to improve physical literacy. The format of 1×20 allows athletes to be exposed to a large variety of movements every session. This gives them time to learn, develop and practice movement patterns. As well as doing more sessions, the high number of concentrated reps allows for rapid learning to occur for each exercise.

From a physiological point of view, the programme should stimulate greater levels of capillarisation. Capillaries allow for oxygen and nutrients (via the blood) to be delivered to the muscles. Greater levels lead to faster recovery, and more energy. The increased blood flow is also good for the health of connective tissue, such as tendons and ligaments.

One of the final things i love about the protocol is that it can be done in a relatively short period of time. Why is this so great? It allows more time to be given to other areas of training. While it is hard to believe to all us gym monkey, some athletes want to simply play their sport! Not just spend time in the weights room.


Final Thoughts on 1x2o for Youth Strength Training

When it comes to youth strength training, we want a number of things. We want to deliver the smallest amount of stress to the system that returns the greatest gains in performance. We want to do this in a manner that allows them to learn and discover movement. Finally, this needs to be done in a way that reduces their risk of injury. If you want to learn more about the 1×20 programme, check out this post by Elite Lifts.