Single Leg Strength and Power Development for Sprinting

Michael Johnson World Record 200m

Michael Johnson World Record 200m


The 5-yard hop has been an accepted measure of a person’s ability to accelerate since the early 80’s. The 10-yard and 20 yard sprint have also been accepted measures of the ability to accelerate in a sprint. The question becomes how does one prescribe exercise to enhance this ability? Over the years, I have come up with some drills and exercises that when combined tend to positively impact this ability.



The Exercises / Drills

Single leg RDL: This exercise is done as an RDL (meaning the hands go no lower than the kneecaps and the eccentric movement is controlled while the concentric movement is quick. *see my article on the difference between RDL and good mornings for clarification) The reps are linear with a relatively intense load using a bar or two dumbbells / kettle bells while hinging at the hip with the knees flexed. The core is braced and the spine is natural and tight. I usually begin by prescribing 25 – 35% of the power clean max.

Single leg rotational good morning: This is executed with a lighter load than the RDL using 2 dumbbells / kettle bells and rotating at the hip and lifting the swing leg up in order to hinge at the hip while reaching both implements inside or outside of the foot. This will better engage the full musculature of the hamstring. I usually begin by prescribing 25 – 35% of body weight in dumbbells / kettle bells.

Single leg box hop: This drill is used to improve the hips ability to impart force into the ground when using only 1one leg in a range of motion similar to the sprint. I understand it is vertical, but I have found an athlete must learn to summate force vertically before we ask the athlete to summate force linearly. I train the athlete to make use of not only the arms in an explosive / ballistic manner but also the swing leg should be reach back in hip extension and forcefully driven into extension to assist the jump. The athlete can land on one leg or two, but we do NOT jump down. Rebound box jumps can very easily lead to calf injuries and are an elite drill which, in my opinion, have a very high risk to benefit ratio.

Single leg long jump: This is a single response hop like the single leg box jump up in which the athlete can land on one leg, two legs or run through the landing. The key is to summate force on a linear plane and explode out. This is a learning or strength drill prescribed prior to the learning to execute the multiple hop drill or used exclusively in place of the single leg box hop up.

Stump run: Before the multiple response hop or full bound is introduced, I have the athletes do stump runs. The stump run is executed by trotting forward in a slow jog and bending one leg at the knee and continuing to run quickly (NOT necessarily fast) while hopping on one leg and driving the swing leg explosively front to back while keeping it flexed and never touching the ground as if the flexed leg did not exist below the knee. This teaches single leg impulse (without the cycle of the actual sprint when the heel recovers above the knee near the glute), short impulse time upon ground contact in the support leg and intensely stresses the hip flexor of the “stump” leg.

Single leg linear hop:  This is executed for distance and power covering ground is similar to the stump run but more force is imparted into the ground resulting in more air time. This drill can be prescribed for reps or a distance. For example, if I assign a distance of 20 yards, then I will have asked the athlete to “sprint” on one leg a similar number of ground contacts as they would do in a 40 yard sprint.

bounding-632x421Bounds: This is the highest level drill of a plyometric nature that I ask my athletes to do as the rhythmic ability and neural stress is extreme and can take several sessions before an emerging athlete or one that is not a natural motor athlete can master. Unless the drill is mastered, the training effect is certainly dampened at best and could be non-existent in many cases.



When I am combining or programming theses drills – I first must look at the athlete’s abilities. If they lack strength – then more strength volume (in sets – NOT reps) will be assigned. I will do 5 x 5 or 6 x 4 or 8 x 3 type of strength work in the double or single leg RDL or good morning exercises. If the athlete is strong yet not very powerful in terms of starting / explosive strength then I will assign more single response plyometric drills. If the athlete has some strength and power yet is lacking elastic power, then the multi-response drills will be assigned to a greater degree.

Contrast / complex training versus linear stacking of the drills: This is usually dictated by the space in which we train. If the drills can be done contrast / complex in nature – then we will alternate the loaded exercise with the plyometric drill and finish with some sprints. If the area does NOT lend itself to contrast / complex training then we will do the loaded exercises first, then the in place plyometric drills (which I will alternate with the multiple response drills in order to go from strength speed to speed strength) and then finish with the sprints.


Frequency and Dosage

These drills are usually done in some fashion once or twice a week in the off-season. They are always done early in the workout (after activation, warm – up and build up) and after a rest / recovery day. Remember, the nervous system is being trained, not the musculature system. Therefore the nervous system must be fresh and recovered to above 90-95% in order for a training effect to occur.


Full rest is required between drills and exercises for maximum training effect to occur. I do this by prescribing upper body exercises, core exercises, stretching or corrective exercise drills in order to maximize time, focus and training and minimize discipline problems.

Remember it is the quality of the efforts we as coaches are interested in, not the quantity. These drills and exercises are for strength and power and it is counter productive to prescribe this in team building, competitive and “mental toughness” training sessions as the technical aspects /recover requirements of the drills are paramount. Increasing the density of sets or the volume of reps will dampen the stretch reflex as well as the neural rate of force development ability and will increase / solidify the ability of the athlete to exhibit the “slowness” in ground contact time when sprinting and jumping.


Come Down Sets – Leg Press Til You Puke

130315-Z-SM234-001Come Down Sets

This is a fun way to do a bench or maybe a deadlift workout. I would NOT recommend it for a squat workout due to the technique failure.

Work up to 92.5% – 95% of your max.

As soon as you hit your last rep – the clock starts. You have 35 seconds to drop 20 pounds and do 5 reps. If you don’t do 5, the clock starts again as you drop another 20 pounds and try again. Keep dropping 20 pounds and trying every 35 seconds until you successfully do 5 reps. As soon as you do 5 reps – hit the floor and do push ups.  Whoever does the most push ups wins.


Leg Press Til You Puke –legpress2

Work up to 92.5% – 95% of your max.
Rest 1:00 and drop 10% of the load on the leg press and go to failure.
Rest 1:00 and drop 10% again and go to failure.
Rest 1:00 and drop 10% again and go to failure.
Rest 1:00 and drop 10% again and go to failure.
Rest 1:00 and drop 10% again and go to failure.

Rest 1:00 and do a wall sit at 90 degrees squeezing a mediball between your legs and holding a 10 or 25 pound plate like a steering wheel. Your partner that was unloading the weight will push the plate down, up, right and left for a 2 second count each way. The person the goes the longest on the wall wins.

Warm Up Menu

Here is a warm up menu for flexibility and injury prevention I have developed over the years.

We always spent 12-20 minutes in warm up and injury prevention drills prior to the work out.

My last few years in college we had NO major surgeries in any sport – any athlete.

That was a very proud event for our staff.



Foot Work Drills – Pick 1-2

# 1 Ladder Drills –
L1 Shuffle R/L Scissors R/L Hop Scotch
L2 Qtr Eagle R/L Crossover R/L Carioca R/L
Do Each 1X
L3 Ins & Outs R/L Over & Backs R/L Icky Shuffle

#2 Line Hops
L 1 In – Place X20 Scissors Skiers Front to Back
Hammer R/L Hammer Crossover R/L Lateral Hop
R/L Front/Back Hop Qtr Eagle R/L *180-240-360 R/L 1xRt/1xLt

L 2 Moving X10 Yds Scissors R/L Skiers F/B Hammer R/L/X-Over F/B R/L Hop F/L/B R/L Zig Zag Hop F/L/B
Qtr Eagles R/L Circles R/L

L 3 Hop and Stick L 4 Jump Rope moving

#3 Platform Step Ups X20 Seconds
R/L Ft Forward R/L Ft Lateral R/L Ft Crossover
SGL Leg Frwrd R/L SGL Leg Lat. R/L SGL Heel Tap Lat. R/L
L1 1 set L2 2 sets L3 3 sets

#4 Jump Rope X 120 Jumps
(2 Ft, Scissors, Rt, Lft, X-OVR Rt & Lft) 20 each
L1 2 sets L 2 3 sets L3 4 sets

Shoulder Drills – Pick 1 – 2

#1 Shoulder Activation Series – Do each Drill X 10
Short Wings 90/90 Pec Dck Ret. Pump It Up
L1 1 set L2 2 sets L3 3 sets OR Add weight

# 2 Shoulder X’s 10 Reps Each
X Retraction rt up X Retraction lft up T Retraction
Hip Hinge – Bent Over
Posterier Shoulder Y’s T’s A’s
Prone TD’s Angel Wings
L1 Body weight/20’s L2 2.5 lb X 10’s L3 5 lb X 10

# 3 Standing BW Series
Empty Can Bnt Ovr Empty Can T’s Bent Over T’s
Int/Ext Rotation Hip to Lip 90/90 Rotation
Bnt OVR 90/90 Rot. Bnt OVR Angels
L1 Body weight/20’s L2 2.5 lb X 10 L3 5 lb X10

# 4 Shoulder Tubing Series x 5 – 10
Int/Ext Rotation 90/90 3 Way Int/Ext Rot.
Hitch Hiker 90/90 3 Way Retraction
Y’s, T’s, A’s
Level 1 LITE Tubing 5-10 Level 2 Lite + Tubing 5-10
Level 3 Medium Tubing 5-10

Core Exercises – Pick 1 – 2

# 1 Body Wt Core
McGill Sit Ups: Rt/Lft Straight & Rt/Lft X-OVR 10’s Ea. X 10
Lat. Leg Lifts R/L Each X 10
X Superman’s: Same Arm/Leg & Opp. Arm/Leg 10 – 20 per set
Parachutes: X Superman 10 – 20 per set
Level 1- 1 set Level 2 – 2/3 sets
Level 3 – Hold on Coaches count

# 2 Planks
Prone Leg Abduction, Chicken Wing, Alternate Reaches
Lateral Outside Hip Leg Up, Leg Swings, Apple Pickers
Lateral Inside Hip Hip Up, Leg Swings, Apple Pickers
L1 all x 3’s L2 all x 6’s L 3 all x 9’s

# 3 Chop-Lift-Twist Ea. 1-2 X 10
Use Keiser, Cable Trainer or Tubing
Twist stance parallel Chop/Lift stance half kneel
Knee/foot/ankle L1- 1 Fist apart stance L2 Either side of a line stance L3 In-line stance

Hip Hinge Training – Pick 1

# 1 Bridges Ea. X 5
Two Feet Rt/Lft X-OVR Rt/Lft X-OVR Rotate
Skips(Knee Punch) Rt/Lft Leg Up Rt/LFt Leg Out
L1 1 set L2 2 sets L3 3 sets

# 2 Tip to a T L1 ½” Band Ft to Shldr – Same and Opposite Side Reach Back Swing Leg
L2 1/2 ” Band Ft to Neck – Same and Opposite Side Reach Back Swing Leg
Ea. X 5 L3 ½” Band Ft to Hand – Same and Opposite Side Reach Back Swing Leg

# 3 AB/AD Series Squat and Squeeze Bridge and Squeeze Good Morn & Squeeze
Ea. X 5 Ankle Band Shuffles X – Band Shuffles
L1 1 set L2 2 sets L3 3 sets

Knee Flexion / Stopping – Pick 1

# 1 1 Leg Balance Squat Series Reach Front, Lateral, Back, Scorpion Each 3’s Right and Left
L1 1 x 3 of each L2 2 x 3 of each L3 3 x 3 of each

# 2 Push Back Lunge Series Forward Push Forward Diagonal
Ea. 3’s Lateral Reverse Diagonal
Drop Step Scorpion
L1 1 set L2 2 sets L3 3 sets

Core/Shoulder Series

Crawling Planks Forward/Backward Shuffle R/L Cross Over R/L
10 YARDS Each Carioca R/L Spiderman F/B Alligator F/B
L1 1 set L2 2 sets L3 3 sets

Functional Flexibility Series – Pick 1

#1 Squat Flexibility L1 Cat to a Squat to a 1 Arm Reach and Stand
L2 Stick, Bar, Band, Rope, Jump Rope Overhead Squat
Ea. X 10 L3 ½” Super Band O – Overhead Squats

#2 Windmill L1 Get up with 10% of Body Weight
L2 Get up with 15% of Body Weight
L3 Get up with 20% of Body Weight

#3 Turkish Get Up L1 Get up with 10% of Body Weight
L2 Get up with 15% of Body Weight
L3 Get up with 20% of Body Weight

Things You Can’t Learn in Books


images-1Heart Rate is Heart Rate – Whether you are running your athletes, doing a circuit, riding bikes or just doing super or giant sets – as heart rate responds to the workload, fitness (work capacity) is being trained. Can you be in great shape running but not in doing agilities? Yes! Doing distance work but unable to maintain tempo in executing a giant set workout (legs, push, pull)? Yes! In post season – general physical preparation (GPP or working to work) is very acceptable. Even in very early off-season it is OK. But, with time becoming such a cherished commodity, special fitness / work capacity training focused on the energy systems of the competition is the key to elite performance preparation.

How Much Fitness is Enough? – Aerobic Base is a waste of time. Distance in virtually every sport has NO place in the preparation plan. A recovery run for soccer or basketball in the post season around campus wearing your gear to have fun and look good is great. But the other 11 months of the year distance is compromising speed and power. Building the intervals of training, be it short burst agilities or long intervals of 1:30 – 2:30 in order to train the energy system to work and recover is critical. What is the rest interval? It can be heart rate (recover to 121) OR just watch the quality of the work. The quality MUST remain high or you are doing crap reps. A competent coach would never load a bad squat pattern, so why continue to do reps when the speed, turnover and quality is less than optimal? To make them tougher. . . . ? On occasion, yes. I think that if you want tough people, recruit tough people.

Frequency and Dosage of Training – Physical preparation is like medicine.  It must be the correct amount, taken in the correct timing for the optimal period of time. Training fitness and work capacity is easy. More is better in terms of volume. Less is more in terms of rest. However, what if you are                   training speed, 942140_100623085827_flu_medicineacceleration and power? Then the QUALITY of the rep is the MOST important factor of training. How do I increase quality? Rest longer or break the reps up into sets. How do I rest longer when sport coaches are watching? Make the groups bigger, add planks, or insert shoulder body weight alphabets or stretching between work bouts. The athletes are “working” but are recovering the energy system and nervous system for the next rep. Muscles and fitness take more reps and fewer sets while the nervous system (speed/power) require more sets and fewer reps.

Training Effect – It takes about 6 weeks to effect a training effect that will be a long-term change in the status and abilities of the athlete. Anything less tends to be temporary. Recovery is critical to the training effect. If the athlete is not allowed to recover, the rebound effect to the training stimulus is muted and the results of training are dampened. This in turn will create less buy in as testing results will suffer. And, of course the sport coaches will not think you know your stuff if your numbers are not outstanding!

imagesRest – In training volume, once the volume goal is attained in terms of distance, loads, sets/reps, etc. the next step is to begin to shorten the rest bouts. In sport, it is generally not who can dothe most work in the shortest time (crossfit, cross country, distance racing) but rather who can do the highest quality work and recover in the time allotted in order to be ready to perform again at an elite level (this is also the definition of work capacity).


Running – Most sports are based on running and sprinting. The nervous system must be re-set after a heavy leg session to be elastic and dynamic in the run/sprint pattern. If the athlete is 1375570653allowed to do nothing after a heavy leg session, the next days workout is compromised and over time, the athlete will begin to lose the elasticity required to run, jump, start, stop and change direction in a fluid, dynamic and explosive ability. So, run what after a heavy leg day? 6-8 x 50m, 6-8 x 100m or something in that volume range (300 – 800m). Run, walk, run walk and as the athlete loosens up, the speed will come to them and make their last one their fastest one and look like a sprinter again.

Running II – If you are working with an older population and doing interval ladder sprints (50-100-150-200) or pyramid interval sprints (50-100-150-200-150-100-50) always go from long intervals to the short interval in order to protect the calf from strains and pulls. If you want to work on speed and turnover, start short in terms of distance and go up because when you prescribe the workout this way, the athlete will maintain the faster turnover through the longer intervals. When the workout is prescribed from long to short, the athlete will tend to run rather than sprint the shorter distances.

Special Strength – Special Strength is loading an athlete so that the rep is above 90% of the best effort in terms of speed, power and quality. Hill sprints and agilities, loaded jumps, sled and parachute sprints, resisted starts. The load is usually 10% or less of body weight.

Volume – Many injuries are a result of volume. Generally, only in competition will accidental injuries occur (getting rolled up, shoved, tripped, etc.) or catastrophic non-contact injuries happen (the dreaded ACL). Training injuries are almost always volume related. Volume is training age and sexual maturation age related. A novice emerging athlete that is a late maturing child will need much less volume than a child with a training age of 3 years and is an early maturing child.

These are some of the things I have learned over the years in training athletes of all ages. I hope it helps! Robb

The Art of Interviewing

MED0000192I have interviewed probably 30-40 times in my career as a strength coach. As I write this, I am in interview mode again as congress abruptly ended the THOR3 Special Forces support program. We were assured by our leadership this was fully funded for three years (we were only 18 months into this contract . . . !!) .

Interviewing is done different everywhere, but is actually very similar in my experience. The keys are knowing yourself, your philosophy, doing your homework, being competent and confident, understating the deal breakers for you and finally, being a fun guy. After all, how is a strength and conditioning coach measured? I have asked several administrators this question over the years and yet to have a good answer. It is usually is he a good guy/girl, easy to dance with and no complaints. If so, you get an 85 and are retained. Remember, having a job is the new raise . . . !!!

The Phone Interview

This is either level one of the interview process, or the institution is not investing or won’t spend any money in the process. Either of these is a red flag if you’re above entry level. The institution does not value the position or is underfunded in terms of this program in my experience.

I have had some experiences in interviewing on the phone. Years ago when Tubby Smith went to Kentucky as the basketball coach. I was at Baylor University. After 2 presidents, 3 A.D.’s, two football coaches, two basketball coaches in the men and women’s programs, it was time to look! One of our new football coaches got me in and I got a phone call. This was just before the world wide web took off mind you. The interview was going along well enough until the end. The assistant doing the interview told me “I just have one more question”. I said sure and he asked, “Is your wife BLACK?” I began to chuckle at his smooth delivery and replied “No, but she is willing to learn.” Taken aback, he stammered around, thanked me, hung up and that was the last I ever heard from him.

Also at Baylor, Dennis Franchione went to Texas A&M and his record with strength coaches and testing was legendary. (Coach Fran demanded everyone go up in every lift at least 5 pound every test or the strength coach was made miserable). He was in the process of running one of my best friends and one of the best strength coaches in the business off. (Mike Clark – currently with the Chicago Bears). An assistant coach called to interview me. The process went well until the end. (Notice the pattern . . . the last 5 minutes of any interview or personnel review process is where the real issue is presented). This guy asks me “How many guys do you have benching over 500?” I chuckled and responded “Every one that benched over 300 when they got here, haven’t been injured and been in the program for over three years.” Perplexed he was, as the silence set in. I told him 6-8 like always. We train for fitness, playing low and injury prevention before I even think about bench press. I told him that I knew of Fran and I was not going to have bogus testing in my program and besides, he had one of the best coaches in the business right there who was a good friend of mine. He thanked me for my frankness and honesty and I never heard from him again, either.

Those are two of the worst examples of boorish interview questions and behavior. Both of those situations told you something. One, bad place to work and two, the first place wanted a minority and the coach was too lazy to do his homework and the second place wanted a guy that made up numbers.

Good phone interviews include standard questions such as your strengths and weaknesses, philosophy, types of exercises and lifts, handling conflict with players, coaches, staff and administration. Many times questions will be asked in terms of “tell me of a situation where . . . and how did you handle it?” Another line of typical questioning is “why do you want to come to . . . . ?” or “What can you bring to State U that will make us better?”

Any of these phone interview questions is normal. The better the questions and deeper the thought process that went into framing them before the interview, the more the interview person is interested in either hiring a competent coach or one that will stay and not cause problems. Remember, being able to give good phone is important!!

The Personal Interview

This is where you get the job in the first 30 seconds! Are you old enough? Not too old? Are you big enough? Mean looking enough? Are you female or male enough? avoiding-common-misconceptions-about-the-interviewing-process_1152_510931_0_14064727_500Are you of enough color? This is level one. You can lose it along the way if you demand accountability and the coach is a player’s coach. You can lose it along the way if you are a science guy and they want a yell, scream “energy” guy. You can lose it along the way if everyone love’s you except one guy! The great coach at Oklahoma, Jerry Schmidt once told me of his discussions with Lou Holtz when Jerry was at Notre Dame. Jerry wanted to squat the players and coach Holtz was against it – adamantly against it. Jerry felt squatting was critical as a cornerstone of his program. After several discussions, coach Holtz grew weary and told Jerry “Fine! You want to squat them, SQUAT THEM!! But if ONE KID misses ONE REP of practice and he says it is cause of squats, YOU’RE FIRED!” Notre Dame never squatted under coach Holtz. The rest of the story – they were National Champions in 1989. Moral of the story – EVERYTHING is negotiable!

My experience includes going into Oklahoma State for a marathon process that went from boarding a plane at 5:30 in the morning to arriving back home at 9:00 at night. I met every coach. Coach Eddie Sutton did a GREAT job interviewing me. He sat still and asked a question every 3-4 minutes whether he had to or not!! The silence went on for 1-2 minutes at a time! The questions were well thought out. For example “Can you make a kid quicker?” “Can you make a kid shoot better?” “Can you keep them healthy?” “Do you train 5’s like 1’s and 2’s?” He was awesome. Since I knew my stuff and was competent and confident, the pauses did not bother me. Coach Simmons, head football coach was another matter. Coach Simmons was being recruited by Les Miles at lunch as coach Miles tried to convince him I was the guy. Simmons was bored. Later when I met the team leaders and taught them the system, coach Simmons took a nap in the back. Granted, I was not what he wanted (he wanted an “energy” guy). When I returned, my mentor stated, “When the other two finalists are black, you’re going to come in second son”. THIS IS NOT RACIST for those wanting to pick a fight. It is REALIST. Coach Simmons wanted a minority energy guy. I did not fit that bill. I was the token interview like the NFL rule on the hiring process. It did not bother me either way and coach Simmons got what he wanted.

I interviewed with a very high profile hockey coach in New York. During the interview he asked me if I could coach “stinky Russians?” I told him I’d coached women, children, country kids from rural Texas and black kids from the 5th ward of Houston and I could coach anyone. He liked that answer. You have to be ready for the curve ball. Answer it from your gut. You may not get the job, but there is a reason for that. If you lie, you may be a bad fit and get the job and HATE EVERY MINUTE of it!

I had left Missouri in January 1989 to be the assistant at the University of Southern California. Russ Ball, another mentor and friend left in March of 1989 to become the assistant at the Kansas City Chiefs so the head position was open. I applied knowing the job as I had left it was a bad job. Since 1982 Russ and I had coached almost every athlete; filmed every football practice and game; painted the locker rooms, meeting rooms and weight room and worked 6 or 7 days a week year round and as the assistant when I left, I was making 13k+ with NO benefits!! But, it was a head job and maybe the new A.D. (he had been the assistant) and new football staff things would change. I arrived the night before and was to interview at 8:30 with a committee. My pick up was at 8:00. Finally, at 8:15 my pick up person arrived. No sorry, just a “you ready?” and we were off to meet. (This was someone I had previously worked with . . . ?!?) Upon arrival I was to meet with the women’s basketball coach, the women’s track coach, two of the new football staff, an administrator and maybe one other at 8:30. Since we started late, I walked into the room at 8:28. NO ONE WAS THERE! The track and basketball coach were not coming because “they know Robb”. Men’s track and basketball were not interested in the process. The administrator came in at 8:35, the assistant football coach at 8:40 and said the head coach was on his way as they had just finished their morning run. Needless to say, the process was over in my head. Bad job. Have situational awareness! Recognize what is going on around you. Are people prompt? Are they engaged? Are there follow up questions? Are they leaning into the interview or slouched back on their phones? Moral of the story – 12 months later Mike Clark left for Texas A&M and I was the head coach at the University of Southern California.

Finally – network!! Every day – NETWORK!! I just did my job, I was not a network guy. BIG MISTAKE!! The people that may hire you MUST hear from you every month. Out of sight, out of mind. Who is going to hire you in 10 – 15 – 20 years?!? IF you knew that, you’d buy lottery tickets, win and NOT be a strength coach!! In the 80’s was a good guy and friend that was an assistant AD at Mizzou. Never in a million years did I think he would first lead Mizzou back to prominence in football by hiring Larry Smith and then Gary Pinkell! Joe Castigleone left Mizzou to lead the athletic department of the University of Oklahoma!!! An assistant basketball coach at the University of Southern California was very quiet and in charge of day-to-day stuff with the players. Just a guy I thought. . . . Paul Hewitt could get players to do the right thing the right way and went on to become the head coach at Georgia Tech University.

Good luck to you! I hope this helps! Learn from my mistakes. Learn to interview. Practice interviewing. Network. But above all, if you are a coach – coach, learn, teach and lead every day.


The Need for Single Leg Training

The Need for Single Leg Training

bbell-side-lunge-b-maleMost novice athletes train in a double leg stance. Three way step-ups, multi-directional lunges and split squats are not used often in strength performance training. They are not real “max” strength exercises, yet most activities and sports are done off of single leg stances or at the very least transfer of force from double leg to single leg stances. Double leg training is excellent for basic strength, large loads and volumes, but can be bad for individuals that stand, sit or run distance. In addition to double leg squatting, deadlifting, kettlebell swings, RDL’s, box jumps, etc. are repetitions of this double leg pattern.


Overtraining in the double leg stance can cause overstimulation of the outer sling, generally the quadratus lomborum, the glutes and lateral leg musculature and IT band. The corresponding lesser stimulation of the inner sling, generally considered the lower abs, the adductors and pelvic floor leads to an imbalance. This imbalance can lead to a myriad of problems that are generally seen quite frequently for active adults and weekend warriors. Maladies such as runners knee, low back pain and hip discomfort all are exacerbated by excessive double leg training at the expense of single led work.

As the lateral quad and IT band becomes tighter, knee cap tracking problems will manifest themselves in knee discomfort or pain and over time, crepitus (grinding under the kneecap, feeling like “rocks”). Theleg-roll basic remedy for this is the foam roller from the lateral hip to the lateral knee. IT band stretches are also recommended.

Weak QL and glute med contribute to an unstable hip and knee, which can lead to ankle sprains and even ACL rupture. Single leg stability strength training can help to prevent these catastrophic events. Lateral ankle band shuffles with the toes in, lateral single leg skater hops to vertical hops and single leg exercises such as stability squats with one leg reaching in four planes (linear, lateral, reverse and opposite lateral behind (think curtsey posture)).




Low front side core weakness is caused by too much sitting, too little single leg exercise and having children. This can be rectified by adding a ball to squeeze between the legs during basic pushing and pulling exercises as well as when training the core and glutes. For example, squeeze and hip lift or reverse crunch exercises can be prescribed in order to increase the adductor and lower core innervation. Another excellent way to add low front side core stability is to do 3 way leg lowering while laying on a foam roller along the spine. One knee is bent, each hand is near the hips pressing into the ground for stability and the other leg is straight up. This straight up leg will be lowered laterally, diagonally and linearly for reps of 3 – 5 at a time for sets of 9 – 15.


crossfit.eastside.dynamax.rotational.drillWOD Circuit 1 Dakota Meyer
MB Scoop Toss
Feet Up Push Up
MB Chest Pass (off floor)
Pull Up
Tubing Speed Pulls Horizontal
Kb Swings
Long Jumps
DB Push Up + 2 Rows
2:00 Cardio (Row-Run-Bike-Etc)
Recover for 2:00
All Reps are 10
Do 3 – 4 Rounds

WOD Circuit #2 Paul Ray Smith
Plate Chops Rt/Lft
Plate Overhead Lunges Rt/LFt
Plate Squat Jumps
Plate Sit Ups
DB Hang Snatch
DB Push – Up + 2 Rows
1 DB Turkish Get – Up Rt/Lft
MB Push – Ups
MB Slams
MB Twist Toss Rt/Lft
Pull – Ups
Reps are all 10
Rest is 2:30
Do 1 – 2 Rounds

Robb Rogers M.Ed., CSCS, MSCC

Robb Rogers M.Ed., CSCS, MSCC









WOD Circuit #3 Michael A. Monsoor
TRX Push – Ups
TRX Pull – Ups
TRX Saws
TRX Curl Unders
KB Swings
KB Cln+ Sqt+Prs Rt/Lft
KB Turkish Get Up Rt/Lft
MB Scoop Toss
MB Twist Toss RT/Lft
MB Slams
Glute Ham
Row 500m
Rest 2:30
All Reps 10
Do 3-4 Rounds

Neuromuscular Training – WHAT? HOW?

What is neuromuscular training? How do I do it? What makes it different? Neuromuscular training or neural training is training the nervous system rather than the muscular system. Are both still involved? Yes, of course. The muscles are still contracting, load is involved and the neuromuscular system is being stressed. The basic difference is twofold: 1. The volume is in terms of sets over reps and 2. There is speed or extreme load involved in the movement.

Volume in terms of reps over sets
The workout is prescribed as 10 sets of 3 rather than 3 sets of 10. The volume is the same, but the load/speed of the movement is much greater in 10×3 than in 3×10. The greater the load/speed, the greater the neural demand.

Extreme speed/load
Since the reps are so low, the speed and/or the load is going to be very high in terms of neural demand, especially when combined. High speed/load sets are extremely demanding and need increased rest and recovery in order to train for quality.

Rest between sets is generally 2-3 minutes when very high speed/load sets are prescribed. Why? Remember, the ATP-CP energy system takes 3:00 minutes to be 93-97% recovered. Recovery can take 48 – 72 hours in order to be ready to train again above 93% in any given session. Doubt this? Compare your vertical jump or long jump on any given day in order to determine your nervous systems readiness for training. If it is not above 90+% of your best, why attempt to train above 90%?!? You are under recovered or over trained for any given days training session.

Why train neuromuscularly?
Only if you want to train for speed or power. Only if you want to train fast twitch muscle fiber. Only if you want your intermediate muscle fibers to mimic fast twitch muscle fibers. Only if you want to be explosive and have burst. Only if you train for performance. If you just want to work out, never mind.

How many reps should I do …. ?

Workouts are often designed by fitness enthusiasts that are not coaches, do not have training in human performance or are workouts to test you rather than train you for a specific goal. In performance training, there are rep ranges based upon loads that should be followed for performance enhancement of strength, speed and power. If ignored, overtraining often occurs at best, while illness or even injury occurs at worst.

Alexander Prilepin was a coach for the USSR junior national team from 1975-80 and the national team from 1980-85. During his career as an Olympic weightlifting coach he worked with 9 Olympic champions, 3 silver medalists and 7 world champions. In addition to actually getting it done at the highest levels as a coach he revolutionized training. His chart is still widely accepted as the key to training volumes when volumes are related to load.

Prilepin’s Weight Training Chart

Percentage                                                                        Approximate                                                                      Optimal Total                                                                                  Training Effect
of 1 Rep Max                                                                     Number of                                                              Reps per Workout
Reps (with range)

95-100                                                                                  3 – 1                                                                        7 (4 – 10)

Max Strength (power if Olympic lift)

85-95                                                                                      6 – 3                                                                    10 (6 – 14)


75 – 85                                                                                   10 – 6                                                                  5 (10 – 20)

Hypertrophy and Endurance

65 – 75                                                                                    20 – 10                                                             18 (12 – 24)

Explosive Power, Endurance and Hypertrophy

55 – 65                                                                                    35 – 20                                                             24 (18 – 30)


45 – 55                                                                                    50+ – 35                                                          100 (50 – 150) Endurance

Great chart for squats, dead lifts, cleans, pulls, etc.

Bench can be a little more volume.

Can you do more volume than is recommended? Sure. Are you then training or working? If you do more than is recommended, what is your reasoning? Remember, volume is the cause of injury, not load! Just because you can does not mean you should!!

Recovery Circuit

Dilemma – You want to work out, but you need to recover. You need to train to feel good about your self but you know you are needing recovery. What to do . . . . ? Do a recovery circuit. Build in stretching, foam rolling, easy cardio creating a circuit that will prepare you for tomorrows session of intense training. What would this look like? Check out the sample below:

10 Kg Plate Squat      10 Reps

Row 2:00 Hard

Squat and Alternate Reaches      10 Reps 5/5

Foam Roll Glutes      10 Reps 5/5

Glute Ham      10 Reps

Jacobs Ladder 2:00 Fast

Alternate Mountain Climber Medicine Ball Stretch      10 Reps 5/5

Foam Roll IT Band      10 Reps 5/5

Rotational Push Ups      10 Reps 5/5

Airdyne 2:00 Hard

Foam Roll Quads      10 Reps 5/5

Pretzel Stretch      10 Reps 5/5

TRX Incline Pull Ups      10 Reps

Run 2:00

Foam Roll Figure 4 Rotations 10 Reps      5/5

Stick Drill for Shoulders 10 Reps      5/5

This type of workout is very beneficial to your body recovering. It is actually better than rest alone!! Next time you need a break, try this workout out and I bet you feel better and train with more quality at your next session.



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