Jarrett Brumett

Creating Mobility for Taller Trainees

Screen any basketball team and the first thing you'll notice is that more often than not, they have the mobility of the tin man. Yet, prescribing static stretching and traditional mobility drills yields very little results. This is because their lack of mobility is often a protective mechanism. What is being protected? Their joints.

Due to the long lever arms of most of their joints, a high amount of stability is required from the surrounding myofascial tissue. When the body senses that it does not have enough stability to safely use a range of motion out of a particular joint, it will lock those tissues down. Therefore the key to getting a taller individual more mobile, is to actually get them more stable first. 

Below are my favorite drills to help with this process, ordered from most to least important. Keep in mind that since these exercises are supposed to focus on the CONTROL of fiber length and tension, they should be kept within a low-threshold and should be done very slowly. 

90/90 Abdominal Wall Activation

There's nowhere more important to have stability than in the deep spinal stabilizers. This drill helps to activate and sequence the intrinsic core subsystem. If the individual has tight hips and a tight T-spine this is stop number one. Not to mention the tremendous benefit it has for cleaning up anterior pelvic tilts. 

Deadbugs and Single Leg Lowerings

Riding off of the Abdominal Wall Activations, these drills are very similar, but focus more on creating hip separation which is extremely important in gait. The deadbug requires less hamstring length than the leg lowering, thus should be the first progression. Pairing this along with a hinge movement is a sure fire way to expedite the progression. The variations shown are core-engaged versions that provide external cues to keep the correct core stability. 

Lateral Lunge On Sliders

Adductor lengthening is very underrated for what it can do to someone's movements. I personally have noticed that most taller individuals tend to be adductor dominant and are more likely for groin pulls. If the previous drills have been addressed, then progressing a Slider lateral lunge may be a wise training investment. Brandon LaVack also showcased one of his favorite drills for this not to long ago, you an find it here. 

Hands Elevated PUPP With T-Spine Rotation

I decided to use this video so that I could embarrass one of are athletes who snuck into the shot. Sorry Erin!

This drill helps teach the correct tension to for t-spine rotation. The objectives are to keep the hips still, drive the supporting hand into the bench and get the opposite hand as far from it as possible. This can also be done on the floor, but for newer trainees, this may result in a high threshold pattern, which is no bueno. On that note, it's also important to KEEP BREATHING as locking down for a brace will make it harder to rotate. 

Dowel Rod Trap Raise

This drill helps to engage the upward rotators of the scap and can improve shoulder flexion bilaterally. The cues are to focus on pulling the dowel apart as you raise it overhead., slowly. Another exercise that I like for a similar affect, but with more t-spine engagement are SFMA Rolls with a dowel rod.

Remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Some lanky individuals can still benefit from classic mobility work, I just find these drills to have more bang for your buck. Especially when complimented with a sound strength program. 

So You Want to be a Trainer

It seems almost weekly that I meet or speak with someone who wants to become a trainer. Many of them have a passion for staying fit, some want to help others and the rest just seem to hate their current job. There are usually two different questions that I’m asked by these individuals. Here they are with my usual responses:

Them- "Hey, what resources should I look into to learn to become a trainer?

Me- "There’s a lot! Let’s grab coffee and talk."

OR

Them- "Hey, what’s the easiest and quickest way to become a trainer?"

Me- "Bite me."

Well, the second response may be a little exaggerated. But honestly, I’m very tired of dealing with the quick-buck type of individual trying to push their way into a field that is meant to help people become empowered and healthy. As I mentioned in my post: Owning the Trainer Profession, the current state of the fitness field is deplorable. There is no regulation of the profession and society has a very hard time judging the quality of the product. The last thing we need is more D-bags aiming to shortcut all the necessary skills of being a good trainer and watering down our profession.

To me there are a few very obvious things that quality trainers practice which separates them from the rest of the field. This is usually what I preach to the first individual who is actually inquisitive on becoming competent. Let’s dive in:

1. Know the Certification is Just the Start

In all honesty, you will probably absorb the least amount of information from your certification. Most certification processes just give you a mold of understanding how to do the basics. It’s really up to you to learn how to manage the rest of the variables. That’s not to say your certification is not important, it does set you up for professional development and the more serious ones often times show who is willing to put in the work. But I’ve seen trainers of the same cert that practice on totally different levels and it rarely defines you as a trainer. With that said, the ones I usually recommend to new trainers are:

NSCA CSCS

FSC

Any Strongfirst Cert

ACSM, NASM, ACE or NSCA CPT

 

I personally have a bias for the strength and conditioning certifications and they usually hold more street cred for trainers as they require a higher understanding for the physiology. The Strongfirst certifications are very hands on and consist of a very practical exam, meaning you WILL understand how to coach correct form. They also provide you with an awesome network of qualified professionals. The personal training certs at the bottom are just general training certifications. They’re usually the standard when it comes to most gyms and do provide a good starting point for most people.

A key thing to remember that I stated above: none of these will define how good you are as a trainer. It’s really up to you and how serious you take your craft, which leads me into my next point...
 

2. Never Stop Learning

This is very similar to point 1, but I believe it’s warranted. When you really think about it, as a trainer you are being part biomechanist, part exercise physiologists, part psychiatrist, part nutritionist and part coach. There are many different avenues in which you can further your understanding and many different attributes that can separate you from the pack.

Cueing for example, sounds simple, but there’s way more to it then what you first comprehend. To go in more depth on the subject:

Some may look at a simple cue as just telling someone how to do something. But there’s so much more to it than that. There’s variables such as focal points, internal vs external cues, visual, vocal and kinesthetic cues and specific times to apply each one. (This is without even stepping into the realm of identifying how to manipulate the limbic system via coaching). When you first start out, you may not see a difference in telling someone to use their glute medius to push the knees out as they squat versus telling them to rip apart the floor with their feet as they squat, but there is a huge difference. And if you want to understand it, just start googling some of the terms above. Next thing you know, you’re that much better at coaching an exercise.

Never get comfortable with your current knowledge base and always look to expand it. This is a key difference from people who train just to make money and people who train to make a difference.

3. Know How to Assess the Risk vs Reward Ratio

This is probably the biggest mistake that new trainers will make. Every exercise that you prescribe has inherent risks to the client. Often times if your understanding of biomechanics and functional anatomy is lagging, this may be harder to assess, but it’s still no excuse. The first rule of training is, “Do no harm” and that needs to stay in the back of your head at all times. The fastest way to be bad at what you do is to hurt someone in a session and that usually happens because there is no assessment of risk for the chosen exercise.

 

Assessing the risk of what you program is a combination of taking into account the client’s age experience, training level, past injuries and ability when writing a program. If you use an exercise that may be considered riskier, there better be a damn good reward towards their goals. I would say a barbell snatch is a higher risk exercise due to the high mobility and technique requirements, but it also offers a high reward to many track and field athletes. If they are untrained, or immobile, then the scale certainly tips towards it being too risky. If they’re studs and have been progressed correctly, then let’s get the track-stars to snatching. What if it's a baseball player who has good mobility and is well-trained? No freakin' way, there's virtually no reward since there's so little carryover to their sport, not to mention the likelihood of screwing up their shoulder during the exercise. 

Sadly, most new trainers or coaches may not fully understand the risks posed by certain movements and therefore will not be able to make accurate calls. Which is why my fourth point is so crucial

4. Get a mentor

Even Arnold had someone help teach him to lift. At SAPT, we require an extensive internship before we even consider hiring you as a coach. The reason being is that there’s only so much you can learn from a book or dvd and the hands-on knowledge you obtain from a good mentor is priceless. Their guidance can save you from spinning your wheels and can actually show you where to put most of your attention. I can’t describe how quickly I saw improvements in my craft after spending just 75 hours under Coach Steve.

It’s important that your mentor actually knows their shit too. Shoot for the stars and follow under someone you aspire to train like or at least ensure that they follow the previous 3 points. Just as a good mentor can help guide you to a successful career, a poor one can totally derail it.

This also applies in hand with point #2. The easiest way to learn, is from someone else. The common thought is that only greenhorns should be spending their days following around someone else. In reality, there’s always someone better who can teach you a thing or two and not pursuing opportunities to learn from them only hinders you. I’m 5 years into my career and I still venture up to Silver Spring regularly to shadow Dr. Aune of Capital Sports Medicine. Coach Steve and Kelsey chose to spend their honeymoon at Cressey Performance to learn from their program. There are no excuses not to find someone better at something than you and ask to shadow them. Chances are, they will welcome the opportunity.

5. Know the Business Side of Things

There's a difference between being good and successful. Being good gets your clients results. Being successful gets your wallet results. As much as we like to think the two are married, they're not. The Personal trainer Development Center has LOADS of info on this, so I'm not going to beat a dead horse here. 

Keep these five points in mind as you go forth into the field. Adhere to them and you will quickly be on your way to making a promising and fulfilling career. Now set forth and conquer!
 

All About The Hype

 

It’s generally thought that being more amped up, means more weight on the bar and a better lift. This is true, SOME OF THE TIME. With any seasoned lifter, it only seems advantageous to get hyped, pump yourself up and crush your workout. Heck, there are even powerlifting PR soundtracks packed full of heavy metal and Batman soundtracks to put you in that state of mind. There are then of course those who take this too far to the extreme…

 

Anyone who has trained individuals from the ground up knows that you can’t pump up the newbs for training the same way that you can veteran lifters. Well… you can, but it may look something like this:

 

Getting a newbie hyped will often times give them misconceptions about their own ability and cloud their judgement of what they should be doing. The internet is full of montages to prove this. It will also ensure that they just have a hard time learning the new movement in general, according to the Inverted U Theory.

 

The Inverted U Theory

Have you ever been looking for something when driving and instinctively turn the music down when you know you’re close, almost as if the loud noise would somehow hide what should be in plain sight? This seems pointless and silly, right? It also seems like that same idea would have nothing to do with getting better at lifting heavy things. Both are wrong. The reason for this, is you are adjusting your arousal level

 

I know hearing me talk about your arousal levels is kinda weird. But the definition for arousal is: “A general physiological and psychological activation of the organism that varies on a continuum of deep sleep to intense excitement.” To keep the rest of this blog from sounding morally questionable, I’ll be subbing arousal  out for other synonyms like excitement when I can.

 

The Inverted U Theory states that for every task, there is an optimal level of arousal. Meaning that if the individuals becomes too excited, it could potentially hinder their performance. Tasks that are heavily influenced by things like fine motor control, decision making, and attentional requirements generally require less excitement for optimum performance. Today, we’re going to be looking at it from a strength training point of view, but this can easily be used within any sport.

                                                                                        The Inverted U... Kinda looks like an n... Why didn't they call it the n theory?

                                                                                        The Inverted U... Kinda looks like an n... Why didn't they call it the n theory?

 

To try to decipher the correct excitement level for a skill, you first need to consider the experience and ability of the individual.  If I have little Billy-Bob on his first day of learning how to squat, I’m going to prefer to not have him too amped up so that he can pay attention to my cues and focus on the movement. If he had too much Mountain Dew or his friends start hyping him up before his first set, you can bet that I’m going to have a heck of a time getting this kid to focus on the finer points dropping it low. This will be the case until he becomes autonomous and skilled with the movement, making it second nature for him. Once that occurs, little Billy-Bob can pump up the music, chug some Dew and get hyped to squat to his little heart’s content. In this way the apex for the individual on the inverted U is going to always change as they become more skilled. They will be ab able to get more pumped and use that extra energy correctly.

 

On the other side of the spectrum we’ve all dealt with the individuals that have the ability, but are lacking the drive. The notion of putting more weight on the bar does little to drive more effort in their session. These individuals may actually need a little more pep in their step to be performing optimally. Raising their arousal level will help with their workout and skill acquisition for the session.

 

The exercise being executed is important to note in regards to technicality. I’m going to psyche myself up way more for a heavy deadlift than I am a heavy Turkish Get Up. In fact, some days I’ve even had to bring myself down to better execute my TGUs. My current get-up PR of 130lbs actually came from a session of listening to Phantogram and doing breathing resets between sets.

 

With that being said, even some of the less technical lifts can be over-hyped in execution. This may not necessarily result in a poor lift, but it does result in wasted energy. The amount of mental effort that it can take to get yourself hyped for each set can take that much more out of you without adding anything to the workload.  It becomes a skill on how to identify the needed excitement level for each movement and is definitely something worth thinking about during your next training session.

 

Applying it in your own training:

Applying these ideas to your own training is actually easier said than done. I try to keep this in mind fairly often in my training and I have seen many benefits to it. Days that I have more skill-based movements, I generally have more breathing-based core work to help keep me from getting ahead of myself. I also make sure that these are the days I put on a more steady style music. This all helps me to maintain more internal focus and allows for me to more easily better my technique. It’s also a great model for active recovery days as the next day I feel great.

 

For days where it’s time to just rip heavy things off the floor I go with a different approach. I’ll blare some, “Rage Against The Machine” and go to town. I’ll occasionally talk to myself (shut up, it’s not weird) and I’ll hype myself up whenever I’m coming up to a challenging set. If I feel like something may be feeling off, I’ll grab another coach and have them watch the lift I’ll then calm myself down and focus on whatever advice they gave me for the remaining sets rather than keeping myself hyped and still pounding away. You are your own hardest person to pull back and I’ve learned the cost of not doing so at appropriate time. It’s hard to swerve back onto the road when you’re still flooring the gas pedal. So even if the training session is feeling great, if there’s a problem, pull yourself back and fix it.

 

Applying it in a Trainee’s Session

Knowing what level of excitement the trainee should have is one thing, getting them there is the other half to the puzzle. To amp them up, which is way easier in my opinion, you can do any of the following:

  • Raise your voice and own level of intensity- First and Foremost

  • Slap them on the back

  • Blare some of THEIR music - I actually know a guy who gets pumped to lift with acoustic guitar solos

  • Do your Ronnie Coleman impression and yell, “Yea-buddy” or, “Light weight!” - my personal fave

  • Bet with them -yes I constantly lose bets with my clients.. it’s almost as if I knew they could do what I bet them they couldn’t….

Bringing them back down to work on skill development is a whole ‘nother beast. Once someone is pumped up, they seem to like to stay in the heightened state. This goes double for if you ever have the misfortune of getting a new client that’s already riding the pre-workout supplement train. It’s awesome to have clients that are raring to go, but if you can’t get them to respond to your cues try any of the following first:

  • Breathing Drills - Yet again they answer another problem

  • Calmer music - I usually go with Pink Floyd or Phantogam

  • Temporarily distract them - I know this sounds like taboo for a training session, but if they don’t seem to be adhering to your cues and are just off, you probably need to pull them back. Ask about their family or something close to them to get them out of the intense state of mind. Then revisit the exercise.

  • Make ‘em walk- If someone’s got too many ants in their pants, I’ll have them do a quick lap around the gym, then they’re usually at a more coachable level when they get back.

With all of this, everyone is going to have their own level at which they perform best. A good coach or trainer should be able to identify this and match their coaching to it. Doing so will only expedite their results and progress them quicker.

In summary

Having intensity in the weight room is a good thing, but being intense and amped without already having mastered the required skills is almost always a wasted effort. If you haven’t mastered the movement, you have not yet earned the right to slap yourself to get psyched and crush the bar. Even if you do have the movement down pat, if anything ever feels off, pull yourself back and spend a session or two greasing the groove at the appropriate level of excitement for skill-building. Manipulating the environment through your own presence and the music can have incredible results on the energy level of your trainees. In fact there are several studies out on the effects music can have on an individual for learning new skills. Just like everything else, it’s a tool in your toolbox to make yourself and others better.

 

Own Your Profession

With the Spring semester coming to an end, many of our interns are preparing for their graduation and saying their final goodbyes as they move on to the work force. This has made me somewhat sentimental as I reflect back to my graduation just a few years ago, remembering the panic and worry as the thought, “what now?” ran through my mind. I have been a trainer since I was 18, and I still love it and know it is what what I want to continue to do. But at the time of beginning my senior year of college, I felt as though I still had no idea what I was actually doing. Yes, I had improved from when I started, but I hadn’t obtained the overall understanding of human adaptation  that I thought I would get from a college degree. There had to be more.

Even though I was just a few classes and an internship away from finishing my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, I felt as though I was still a blank slate for knowledge within the field. And I was. I still am. At the time, this filled me with frustration. My whole intention throughout  college was to get out and crush it as a trainer and performance coach, but when I got done, I realized how little I still knew. I started thinking that I had to go back to school to get the rest of the puzzle. Maybe get a doctorate in physical therapy? Surely then I would understand the body and its neurological, physiological, and mechanical variables upon movement and how they could all be manipulated in training. I could master the realm of corrective exercise and then use the background knowledge to conquer the performance realm. “Yeah, that’s what I’ll do,” is what I thought as I began to immerse myself in the idea of going back to school.

After looking at my already daunting student loans and the prerequisites that I would still have to fill to get into a DPT program, I became nauseated with how much more needed to be done just to be able to apply. I told myself it would still be worth it and decided to just study what I could in the meantime and then figure out how to tackle the prereqs later.

I started reading more into clinical work and research. I read about the Janda and his ideas, about DNS, some Kendall & Kendall, lots of functional anatomy and several blogs that focused less on performance and more on rehab and general function of the body. I followed Gray Cook, read all of his books, took several of his workshops, whent to other seminars on human movement. I loved all of it and started applying the new concepts and methods with my clients. I became very good at correcting movement. I started to figure out better progressions, better ways of coaching movements and I started to notice something… Many of the PTs and chiros that I saw at these seminars were just as new to many of these ideas and concepts as me.

How could that be? These people had spent YEARS learning about functional anatomy, physiology, joint arthrokinematics, and all things tied to pain and movement. Surely they could already tell what compensations were apparent in the individual’s squat with whom we were using as an example. I had been certain that they would know great regressions, progressions or even breakouts to help correct the issues and train the person with restored function… That certainty turned to disappointment as it became apparent that many of them had little experience with this.

The idea of going back to school started to lose its luster. I started to shadow a PT of whom I really respect. I then noticed how much of current physical therapy is actually manual therapy followed by isolation work. I noticed how insurance limits them to working on and rehabbing one body part at a time. I saw clear compensations going on in many of the patients, yet he could only focus his work on one area due to time and/or insurance restraints. I started to realize that this is what they had been prepped for in school and it did not seem to be in line with what I wanted to do. Why had I thought that this would provide me with the answers I wanted?

Then it hit me. I had put the clinicians on a pedestal, viewing them as the next step up from trainers, when in fact it’s not even comparable. It’s a totally different profession with different objections and entirely different scopes. This is also not to say that one scope ranges further than the other. Yes PTs can do manual therapy and other treatments, but when was the last time you saw a PT write a macrocycle to prep a soccer athlete for their season, including such factors as injury prevention, conditioning and applied agility work (put your hand down Charlie Weingroff). A GOOD trainer is just as valuable as a PT, we’re just going to have an entirely different skill set and knowledge base. In order to become a great trainer you do not need to try to mimic another profession, you just need to really own what you do. (I’ll get more into this at the end.)

This made me then wonder: Why was it that I originally viewed Physical Therapists to be a step above trainers rather than in their own rightful category? I mulled this over while scanning facebook one day, then it hit me like my mama would have had I been rioting in Baltimore once I saw this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXnzDKUm7-s

The fitness industry is stupid. There I said it and I’m not taking it back. Yes, there are some REALLY smart trainers out there, but they RARELY get credit for the genius that they put into their craft. In fact, look at the 100 most influential people of the fitness industry. The top 50 alone  is full of misinformed zealots who preach, “muscle confusion” and an ignorance of exercise form, not to mention that quack, Dr. Oz, being number 2.... This aspect alone had harvested a distaste for the industry within me since my introduction to it. Deep down I wanted to separate myself from it, I wanted to be evidence-based and results driven. I wanted to be like Cook, like Weingroff, like Boyle and Gentilcore. I realized that one of the other differences in trainers and PTs is that PTs need to know their shit, in and out, to be able to treat a patient. Trainers just need to be able to sell. I wanted to know my craft, in and out, just as PTs do theirs. I had put them on a pedestal because they practice in an industry that regulates competence, whereas my industry couldn’t be any further.

Society has no way to quality-check a trainer (other than, you know, fact checking their claims with research) so people often go with the hype and dump their money into whatever shows the most pictures of a six pack. Because of this, the industry has grown less science and results-based and more sales and revenue-based. Certain “fitness” academies, associations, councils and groups of  monkeys wearing silly hats will even sell personal trainer certifications consisting of a weekend or even online course just so they can get a high turn-around. There is no way possible you can learn everything you need to know about training an individual in one weekend... Just to prove my point more, Jilian Michaels holds the weekend certification that I linked. That's the one she's had since 1993...

This has  flooded our profession with individuals who don’t take the time to apply themselves in their craft. Trainers who may drive their clients into the ground, regardless of what training stimulus they’re trying to achieve. Trainers who don’t program and just do a different workout every session, hindering their client’s results. Trainers who have no rhyme or reason for the exercises or methods they prescribe. Yet, their clients may still feel exhausted, giving a false confirmation that their session was actually productive towards their goals. Or maybe the trainer is really well liked by their clients, gaining trust and hiding their actual competence level. I’m not saying they’re bad people, but if they aren’t programming a systematic progression of workouts and do not have science-based reasoning behind what they’re prescribing, then I can absolutely say they are bad trainers.

I can say this because that was me when I started training at 18. My clients got very little results, yet I never got questioned or even put on the spot like I should have because again, there was no way for my clients to understand the quality of what I was dishing out. Even though I had gone through a legitimate certification program, I was still equipped with only a fraction of the knowledge needed to truly, in my mind, be competent. I slowly improved with experience, but I don’t think I really reached any clairvoyance until that point in my senior year when I started asking myself, “what am I doing?” and, “why?”

I’m still very early on in my career, but I can honestly say that the more questions I ask myself, the more it pushes me to know and own my profession. To know movement correction, to know programming, to know energy system training, to know nutrition, to know the subtleties of cuing, it’s literally endless. Each variable of training in itself has a wealth of detail and other factors contributing to it. This plethora of details can seem daunting when considered, but we should view it as a challenge. It’s a plethora of opportunities to become better and a plethora of things to understand to better serve people within your scope. It's actually quite empowering when you realize all the different ways your role as a trainer can positively influence someone's health, happiness and well-being.

If you’re a trainer, I urge you to never stop questioning yourself. Always look for better ways to improve and don’t dare stop seeking out new information. If you’re a client, I urge you as well to always ask your trainer, “why?” Hold us accountable to be the trainers that we claim, want and charge to be, it is what you’re paying for after all.

For those that are graduating this Spring, congratulations! But don’t stop there. College gives you the tools to grasp a very basic understanding of many of the variables you will encounter in your line of work. It’s up to you to continue to ask questions and seek out the answers you need. Start to know everything about what you do and never get comfortable with your knowledge base, then you will really start to own your profession.

**Just a quick note: I by no means am saying that ALL of the individuals listed on the aforementioned top 100 list are incompetent, there are many on there whom I very much admire and aspire to be like.

That Time of Year for a Track Workout

The other day, I got a message from an old friend asking if I could give him advice for a track workout. With Spring here, there's no better time to be outside huffing and puffing on a track. He was interested in doing some HIIT and other methods that he had read about to help get in shape for the summer, but didn’t know how to put the program together or how to progress it. I know exactly how he feels, it's gorgeous outside and if I can do my workouts in the sun, I feel better for it. I like HIIT training, especially for general fitness and weight loss, but I think often times it’s misused and put on a pedestal as God’s greatest gift to anyone owning a stop watch.  The problem is there aren't many good resources that explain many of the popular conditioning methods such as HIIT or how to progress into them. So when I write track programs for my weight loss and general fitness clients, I like to structure it like this:

*Though this is a track workout, this is not what I would give track athletes. This is for the gym goer who wants to get some workouts outside, improve their work capacity, lose weight and add to their overall level of bad-assery.*

Phase 1: GPP (General Physical Preparedness), Aerobic Power Development

If you’ve been training over the Winter, then you can probably forgo this phase. If you’re just getting off the couch, you need this. GPP is needed to ensure that your body is functioning and moving well before you start to stick it with more intensive and specific movements. Going into an intense track program without a good movement base to ensure proper mobility/stability would be akin to riding a bull without ever having rode a horse. It’s going to hurt and it won’t last long.

A standard weight-training plan, chalk full of diverse movements, should get you where you need to go. Recently, Coach Kelsey did an article on the subject of GPP, powerlifts and all things heavy for Tony Gentilcore that may give you better understanding of the subject.

The other goal of this phase should be some aerobic power development. Aerobic Power refers to the amount of energy (ATP) your aerobic system can produce in a given amount of time. This is needed to build an aerobic base for recovery between bouts on the track. Unless you’re performing slow, long distance runs (booooooring), the energy for almost all sprint work you do will largely come from the anaerobic system and depend on your aerobic system for recovery between the bouts. Therefore, if you lack an aerobic base, you’re not going to make it through many rounds of the “meat and potatoes” of wave 2.

Translation: Lets say you have a solar-powered hybrid (and hopefully you don’t drive like most hybrid owners). It runs on electricity and gas. The electricity can last a long time, but not produce a whole lot of energy at once or get you where you need to go fast. The gas can make you go faster, but is used up at a much higher rate and usually forces you to revert back to using electricity when it runs low. In this way, your body’s aerobic energy pathway (the one that uses oxygen) is like the electricity and the anaerobic pathway (no oxygen needed) is like the gas. If you aren’t driving hard, then the solar-pannels can actually charge your battery as you drive. If you drive really hard then you are forced to use you gas until it depletes and you must slow down and use electricity.

Now the cool thing about your body that unfortunately our cars can’t do, is it can use those solar panels (breathing) to regenerate the gas (anaerobic pathway), just at a very slow rate. Traditional distance running at a slow, steady pace will give you a bigger battery (aerobic capacity), but will not help you to recharge any faster (aerobic power). For phase 1, we’re going to be improving the battery slightly, but mainly focus on connecting those solar panels to help you recharge faster.

I personally like to develop aerobic power work while performing GPP work through circuit training. Maintaining your heart rate somewhere between 110 and 160 (+/- 10 bpm depending on age)  throughout a workout of 40-60 minutes is really all you need to get a training stimulus for the aerobic pathway. Not letting your heart rate dip much below 110 will keep your aerobic system going and help with overall work capacity, though the main adaptation we want comes from the brief rest periods between exercises that should help with aerobic power. After each set, it’s important to let the heart rate drop back down to around 100- 110 bpm so as not to rob yourself of the power adaptation. We then get it back up and repeat. Doing this 2-3x/week at varying intensities will produce the aerobic power needed in roughly 3-4 weeks. I should also note that it really helps to put running style movements into the workout.

For example, the workout would look something like this:

3-5 Rounds: :20-40 between exercises 2-3:00 between rounds of active mobility work (not static stretching)

A1. RDL                                                       x5-7

A2. 3 Point Row                                          x8/side

A3. Spiderman Crawl                                  x 10 yds down and back

A4. Stepback Goblet Lunge                        x8/side

A5. Plank                                                     x:30

3-5 Rounds: :20-40 between exercises 1:00-2:00 between rounds

B1. Goblet Squat                                          x8-12

B2. Pushup(adjust as needed)                    x6-8

B3. Lateral High Knees                                x10-yds/side

B4. Side Plank                                             x:15/side

* The rest periods should be manipulated so that that individual can stays within the 120-160 BPM throughout the circuit. When you rest between sets, let it drop down to 100-110*

This initial stage is when you should start running and acclimating your body to the repetitive motions, strides and forces if you haven't already. Let the aerobic development of the circuit training be your main conditioning whereas your actual running work should be more technique focused. Nothing fancy, work up to running 1.5 miles TOTAL at a steady working pace in one training session. I recommend doing this by just breaking it up in shorter bouts and making sure you’re RUNNING, not jogging (jogging makes you easier to kill). Again, if you already run one to two times per week, you’re probably good to go. This could even be a game of any field sport on weekends. The purpose of all this is more to be sure that when you start adding time on the track that your body doesn't have a negative response to the sudden increase in running volume.

Phase 2: Explosive Repeats and Extensive Tempo

The quick bursts of explosiveness followed by longer rest may seem easy, but you’re actually maximizing the quality of work being done for the session. The fast twitch muscle fibers that we’re addressing have the most capacity for growth. They are also more anaerobically based. This workout is designed to help teach them to recover aerobically (beefin’ up dem solar panels) and allow for more overall quality sprint work to be done. It also allows us to ease into our sprint work more efficiently. Waaay too many programs take you into high intensity sprint work too quickly which usually results in muscle pulls.

The constant repetitiveness of the acceleration phase of the sprint is also going to tax your muscles without taking you into the max velocity phase of the sprint. Plainly stated: in the acceleration phase, your muscles must primarily focus on the overall force output. In contrast, during the max velocity phase you have to fight to keep up the pace and maintain a high rate of force production. It is then that you have a higher chance of muscle pulls or strains, especially as you try to maintain that speed longer.

It’s for these reasons that for this first day,most of our work is in the acceleration phase. Each work bout should last between 8 and 12 seconds and be timed so that you don’t reach your max velocity of the rep until about 5-15 meters from your finishing point.

On the second day, we’re going to introduce some longer distance sprint work at moderate intensities. The longer distance helps trainees to self-regulate their sprint speed so they can maintain form for the duration of the sprint. This should negate any issues that usually arise from training the max velocity maintenance phase that was mentioned in the previous paragraph. It’s also going to help the trainee to collect his/her sprinting rhythm.

Sprinting rhythm is something that must be practiced before indulging in any sprint-style conditioning program. That’s why we’re doing it now before moving onto the most intensive phase. Many people like to over-tense their body, thinking more effort means more speed. More effort often means wasted effort and the longer distance sprints will make you think twice before wasting it. It also gives you more time to collect said rhythm.

These workouts will be done in an A-B-A-B fashion, totaling 3 workouts per week. Meaning over 4 weeks, you should have had 12 track workouts. If you’re limited on time, doing these each once per week will still provide huge benefits, however I would scale the next phase back a little. Also, I should note that I’d recommend still maintaining an intelligent weight training program in cohesion with this twice per week.

**A quick note on the intensity percentage: It’s meant for the intensity of the relative distance. Meaning that if I can run 100m in 10 seconds at 100% intensity, then it would take me 12 seconds to run 100m at 80% intensity. Your estimated time does not have to be 100% accurate, you’ll have a feel for it after your first couple workouts. But, if you start missing your projected/estimated on bouts, then add more recovery time.**

A Day

1)General Warm Up

2)Striders 3-5 rounds increasing intensity with each set

3)Explosive repeats: 

*Vary your reps based on heart rate. 8:00 minutes of active rest between sets. Fit in some dynamic mobility work and form drills in the 8:00.*

Workout 1   2x6-8 40M Sprint at 85-90%. :50-1:00 between reps,

Workout 3   2x7-9 40M Sprint at 85-90%. :40-:50 between reps

Workout 5   2x7-9 40M Sprint at 90-95%. :35-:45 between reps

Workout 7   2x6-8 50M Sprint at 85-90%. :35-:45 between reps

workout 9   2x7-9 50M Sprint at 90-95%. :35-45 between reps

workout 11    2x7-9 50M Sprint at 90-95%. :30-40 between reps

B Day

1)General Warmup

2)Build Ups

3)Extensive Tempo Runs:

*Do not add more than 600M at a time to your total volume between sessions*

Workout 2 3x3-5 200M at 75% 30 with 2-3:00 between reps 5-6:00 between sets

Workout 4 3x4-5 200M  at 75% 30 with 2-2:30 between reps 6:00 between sets

Workout 6 4x3-4 200M  at 80% with 1:30-2:30 between reps 5:00 between sets               

Workout 8 4x2-3 300M at 75% with 2-3:00 between reps 5-6:00 between sets

Workout 10 2x4-6 300M at 75% with 2-3:00 between reps 7:00 between sets     

Workout 12  3x3-4 300M at 80% with 2-2:30 between 5-6:00 between sets

Phase 3: Lactate Capacity

With the exception of certain sporting events, lactate capacity work is really overused  in conditioning programs. However, it does yield nice results in a general weight-loss program due to the increase in GH that high levels of lactate yields. This phase is a bit more grueling as your muscles are going to be pumping battery acid on the 400 M repeats. Recovery-based movements will be done immediately after to move the lactate from the prime movers to the tonic/stabilizing muscles. This will help because tonic muscles are generally more slow twitch and thus better suited to metabolize the lactate and recover. This is also why developing the aerobic power from the last wave will be so crucial. If you did not attain the necessary base, your recovery time between each bout will be significantly longer, making the training stimulus we’re shooting for less effective.

If we go back to our car analogy, this wave is going to get your car to be able to floor it longer, then utilize those solar panels to be able to floor it again. We’re also going to put in a day to ensure that everything stays aligned and running well.

Depending upon how well your body handles it (and how well you can feel your legs the following days) you can do the 400m repeats UP TO twice per week. This will largely depend on your recovery and general training history.

A Day -If only doing once per week, do the odd days

1)General Warmup

2)Build Ups

3)400M repeats: All to be done at 85-95% effort depending on how you feel. Perform a slow cross crawl march for about :30 of recovery time

Workout 1 2x3-4 400M sprint with 1:30 between reps   5:00 between sets

Workout 2 3x3-4 400M Sprint with 1:45 between reps  6:00 between sets

Workout 3 4x3 400M sprint with 1:30 between reps  5:00 between sets

Workout 4 2x5 400M sprint with 2:00 between reps 4:00 between sets

Workout 5 4x3-4 400M sprint with 1:15 between reps

Workout 6 2x5 400M sprint with 1:30 between reps

Workout 7 4x4 400M sprint with 1:00 between reps

Workout 8 2x5 400M sprint with 1-1:30 between reps

The second day only needs to be done once per week as it’s just helping to feed your body for the 400m repeats. This is going to be a less traditional workout and focus on quality sprint work at a lower relative intensity when compared to the A day, but you will be more active with drills in between bouts. The drills serve to add to the efficiency of your form and/or rhythm, keep your HR from dipping down too low and give you a break from the monotony of more or less running in circles. Keep in mind the effort of executing them right should be high and the intensity at which they’re performed should be low.

Where as the A day will have your metabolism ramped up for a more extended period of time after the workout, this workout will burn more calories intra-workout. It will also aid in recovery as your body stays in a predominantly aerobic state and includes movements that will address a greater diversity of tissues/joint motions.

As far as weight training with this phase. A 1-2x/week plan is adequate whereas 3x/week may be a little much for most people.

B Day

All sprints to be done at 80-90%, all form/mobility drills should be done at about a pace of :25-35 execution. HR never dips below 110.

A1) 30-50 M Sprint

A2) 50 M light A Skips

A3) 30-50 M Sprint

A4) 50 M Reverse Open Gate Skip

A5) 30-50 M Sprint

A6) 50 M Goose Steps

2:30-5:00 rest

Some 0ther drills that you can use/swap in and out: B Skips, Butt Kicks, light bounds,  and lateral step overs.

There you have it. Three waves of programming to get you off your butt and onto the track. Keep in mind to listen to your body and track your rest times carefully. From here, you could try traditional HIIT training or tabatta work as you should be pretty well suited for it. Go run and enjoy!