Student Athletes


A Message from Phase IV Founder & CEO, Robert Forster, P.T.

Dear Parents and Coaches

Phase IV Student Fitness Academy was created to bring 30 years of experience in training elite Olympic and Professional athletes to the children of our community. As the parent of a Santa Monica High School student athlete I found a great need to implement the scientific approach to student fitness and athletic preparation that we have used successfully to win 38 Olympic Medals, several High School State Championships and dozens of US and World Records spanning a variety of sports. Adolescent training programs must be anchored in science, have a long term perspective and require patience and guidance.

Puberty is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the most dramatic bodily changes to occur with the right exercise program. The hormones provide the physiology for improved strength, leaner bodies, increased balance, agility and speed but only proper training provides the stimuli. Our trademarked approach to adolescent fitness training has been honed over thirty years in the results driven world of elite athletics where injury prevention and performance must go hand in hand. We have distilled all the hype in the fitness world to include only safe exercises with a proven track record of getting results! Typical private training facilities are not scientific at all in their approach to fitness. The Phase IV Fitness Academy is economical, safe and effective. I am so confident that you will agree we offer the first class free!

Robert Forster, P.T.

At Phase IV training the student athlete is our most important task. Developing a young athlete to their greatest potential takes a long-term perspective, a sound scientific approach, support, and patience. The Phase IV student athlete training programs utilize Periodization Training Principles and the knowledge from physical therapy, exercise physiology, nutrition and coaching – the latest in sports sciences – to focus on the long-term development of the student athlete.

The Phase IV Student Athlete Training Program includes age appropriate strength and flexibility exercise work to promote functional joint stability, good posture, and proper nutritional support to fuel your child to their highest possible potential in sport.


Before the hormonal surge accompanying puberty, the pre-pubescent student athlete has little potential to build muscle and develop strength. This does not mean, however, vital strides towards performance excellence later in their career cannot be made now. It is vital to get a jump on the development issues that accompany the growth spurts of athletes this age. The bones will grow at a faster rate than the tendons, ligaments and other connective tissue structures can accommodate. This results in severe tightness and loss of flexibility of the hamstrings, gluteal muscles and lower back, hampering sport performance mechanics.

Often the child who was a superstar as a prepubescent athlete will develop these flexibility problems as the grow, only to find themselves less coordinated, slower, and performing at lower level of proficiency. This athlete needs to be supported psychologically and instructed in an appropriate and safe flexibility and posture program immediately, so as to emerge from puberty a contender once again.

Another area to be addressed safely is joint stabilization exercises with body weight and light hand held and ankle weights. The neurological connection between the brain and the muscle will be improved, and joints will be protected against injury.


For the student athlete in puberty there is a window of opportunity as their body develops and matures, when hormone levels rise and provide a great capacity for fitness adaptation. If training in this period is not future looking, maturation appropriate, progressive and safe it does not serve the highest good for young athletes. Any less thoughtful approach can limit the ultimate level of performance and success attainable later in an athlete’s career.

During puberty is where hormonal surges serve to create bodily changes that are not possible to the same extent at any time later in life. This window of opportunity must be explored with safe and effective total body exercise to increase the size and strength of the skeletal structures of the legs, pelvis, rib cage and shoulders, serving to increase the optimal performance possible later in their career.

The training programs serving to accomplish this involves heavier loads in the weight room, but can only be done if the flexibility and joint stability work is accomplished during the pre-puberty preparation training program.


Studies have shown that young athletes who specialize in one particular sport all year long, as oppose to playing several sports to develop a broad range of sport skills, will peak earlier and most often will limit their potential for ultimate performance levels later in their career. They suffer greater number of injuries and burn out more often, never to achieve their ultimate athletic potential. Phase IV strongly discourages early sports specialization.