Student-Athlete & Adult Performance Training

Breaking Down The Broad Jump

In the second portion of our football testing series we will take a look at the standing broad jump. This test is a fantastic assessment of lower body horizontal power. This tool works great for football players, who have to explosively move of the line of scrimmage once the ball gets snapped. A common misconception is that you merely stand on a line and jump. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this assessment. Horizontal jumping can be a complex coordination pattern because the upper and lower extremities must move harmoniously in order to achieve optimal results. Let’s take a look at a few factors that can help you or your athletes add a few inches.

The Arm Swing

It’s no surprise that lower body power is what propels you forward during this test but the arms play a vital role in projecting you higher off the ground and further down the tape measure. The most efficient swing technique would be to start in a standing position with your arms out in front of you. As you drop down to “load the spring” your arms should sweep back, followed by an immediate, powerful swing forward as you takeoff.

Build Those Glutes

The hip complex packs a lot of useful muscles that are crucial in just about every sport and activity of daily living. Unfortunately, many people do not train this area of the body as much as they should. We often sit in chairs, whether at school or work, and that equates to hitting the “off” switch for this important muscle group. Driving through hips during the jump and getting this area fully extended will propel the athlete further. Simple hip extention exercises like glute bridges, whether bodyweight or weighted, will help bring life back to your butt. Below are a couple videos to help with the exercise selection:

Own The Descent

Does it matter how awesome the take off was if a plane crashes near the end of its flight? The same theory (obviously to a lesser extent) holds true during the broad jump test. Height and distance are all based upon the action taken prior to take off but this in no way omits an individual from having to properly land each jump. When landing a jump it is important to land in a position that allows the force to dissipate. This is achieved by bending the knees and sinking back the hips. An athlete should never land in a stiff-legged position. When landing, it is also important that the knees land in a position stacked in-line with the ankles and do not collapse or cave medially. Both of these habits place a high amount of stress on the joints and can lead to serious injury.  Below is a chart with normative data to see how football players stack up in this test and other common tests by position. Check back next we as we move on to discuss the bench press.



Lockie, R. G., Schultz, A. B., Callaghan, S. J., & Jeffriess, M. D. (2012). PHYSIOLOGICAL PROFILE OF NATIONAL-LEVEL JUNIOR AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYERS IN AUSTRALIA. Serbian Journal Of Sports Sciences6(4), 127-136.

The Ron Reed Project

One of our clients, Ron, recently went through an incredible body transformation that I wanted to share with you. Ron had been training with us for a little while already, but he told us that he wanted to enter a focused fat-loss plan as his health was beginning to suffer due to some weight he had put on.

We gave him an individualized nutrition plan, and tweaked his workouts so they would be a bit more "fat loss" oriented in nature. His results were nothing short of fantastic! See the video on the right, or you can view it HERE.

I'd like to point out a few things that may be helpful to those of you reading:

  1. Ron works full-time, both in the business world and at home as a dedicated father and husband. So, a transformation like this is certainly possible if you consider yourself a busy person (and I don't know anyone that doesn't). 
  2. Ron FREQUENTLY has to travel for work - often for 5-7 days at a time. So, even for those you that travel, you can definitely make worlds of progress with a schedule that demands regular travel. Ron would tell me what equipment he had available at the hotel (sometimes the hotels didn't even have a gym), so I would give him some "hotel room workouts" in which he could still get in some training with just his bodyweight, a chair, and a bed as his gym equipment. Your improvements in the physique realm will never depend on what fancy gym equipment you do or do not have available. It's the mindset that is going to be the difference maker. 
  3. Honestly, most of Ron's success was due to his consistency in the kitchen. I've said it before and I'll say it again: You can't out train a bad diet. Ron was constantly emailing me to make sure something was "approved" before he picked it up at the grocery store or added it to his meal. When he was on the road, he was sure to pick items on the restaurant menus that were going to help his progress, not hinder it. 
  4. He did not count calories, eliminate carbs from his diet, or partake in anything extremely complicated. It's important to note that nutrition plans really don't have to be as complicated or tedious as many may make it seem. 
  5. We did not do any carb cycling or sodium depletion leading up to his "After" picture (or at any point in his program).
  6. Ron did not do a single crunch or sit-up throughout his program.  Proof that you don't need to (in fact, you can't) sit-up your way to a lean midsection. It won't happen. 
  7. He performed zero steady state running throughout his program. Again, it is unwise (and unnecessary) to prescribe long distance running for someone in need of weight loss. Considering that all of Ron's blood levels returned to healthy levels during his program, this also goes to show you don't need long distance running to improve the health of your heart. Can it help? Absolutely. But I wouldn't recommend it as a modality of choice for a weight loss client. 
  8. He not only maintained, but increased his strength during this phase. I can't tell you how many times I talk to people (primarily males) that are frightened they're going to "lose all their muscle" if they enter a fat loss program. It's not going to happen if you design the program appropriately. As shown in the video, Ron hit a 40lb PR on his weighted chinup, a 30lb PR on his front squat, a 15lb PR on his close-grip bench press, and a 20lb PR on his trap bar deadlift. Note that these personal records occurred during this particular 16-week program (not throughout the few years he's been training with us). 
  9. Ron just turned 51 years old. 'Nuff said. 

Here are his Before and After pictures (the before picture was taken while he was on vacation shortly before the start of the program. And yes - for the fitness gurus out there - there is some scapular asymmetry):

After (front)
After (side)
After (back)

Congratulations, Ron!

It's not too late for you to make the same transformation - Steve

Don't delay any longer...

Something that not everyone who reads this site may realize is that we don’t only train student and adult athletes. While we certainly know how to make athletes stronger, faster, more explosive, possess greater endurance, and develop a more “bullet-proof” body; we also love working with people who simply want to look, move, and feel better. I think that sometimes the fact that we do work with “general fitness” clients is overshadowed by the fact that the majority of our clientele consist of competitive athletes.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE working with athletes, and having the privilege of hearing countless testimonials of how they’re performing much better (and recovering more rapidly) on the playing field. This is awesome (to say the least), and is a huge part of what keeps me going throughout the workweek.

However, another aspect of my job that I thoroughly enjoy is having the pleasure of assisting an adult to make an incredible body transformation. I was reminded of this yesterday when I took Ron’s “After” picture.

For those of you who don’t know, Ron recently went through a comprehensive, “SAPTastic” fat loss plan. This included an individualized nutrition plan, and 3x/week resistance training regimen specifically designed to melt fat off of him AND maintain his strength levels (and, as you’ll see, he even GAINED strength during this fat loss phase).

All I could think of last night as I took his picture was “Wow.” I’ll say that again backwards: woW.

As Summer rapidly approaches, many of you may be worried that you haven’t met those New Years Resolutions in the exercise and nutrition realm (and thus Summer – along with shedding layers of clothing – may not be not be the most welcomed season for you). Not to fear: it’s not too late to get started on a body transformation program.

Imagine how you’ll feel at the beach, or a neighborhood BBQ, with a smaller waistline and a higher percent of lean body mass?

Don’t wait to get started. Be it joining our women’s Buttkamp (see Chris’s post below), or joining our semi-private training structure to workout alongside other like-minded individuals, SAPT can get you there.

I tried to think of something clever to sign-out with but nothing came to me, so this will have to do - Stevo

Buttkamp training footage!!!

Check-out the video to the right (or click HERE) of our Buttkampers getting it done Tuesday morning!  Low handle Prowler pushes, Medicine Ball Slams, suspension strap rows and Zercher carries…all aboard the pain train for the posterior chain!

So what is Buttkamp?

These scientifically designed classes are for women only (sorry guys), and are aimed to cure what ails your regular fitness routine!  Using the principles of functional training and athletic conditioning, these classes will boost your metabolism, decrease risk of injuries, and improve your strength!

Buttkamp is held every Tuesday and Friday at 7, 8, and 9am at our Fairfax location, and every Monday and Thursday at 6, 7, 8 and 9am at our Sterling location!

Click HERE to get more information about these classes!

The Buttkamp Cheermeister

Do the Opposite

A strategy I often give to people seeking training advice is to follow the 180 Rule. I think I may have originally heard this phrase from Charles Staley, but, wherever I heard it, it’s extremely simple and works in almost every scenario.

Basically, walk into any commercial gym. Take a look at what most people are doing, and then do the exact opposite (hence the name “180 Rule”). If you desire success in the gym, then do not follow what the majority is doing (I wrote about this a while ago HERE).

For example, most people don’t warm up at all (or, if they do, it’s usually a 5-minute walk on the treadmill). Following the 180 Rule, we will warm up to set ourselves up for success. Considering that most of us sit at a computer for 8+ hours a day, we’d be wise to “unglue” ourselves a bit. Even taking two minutes to do a Walking Spiderman with Overhead Reach to Hip Lift will give you some thoracic extension and rotation, on top of opening up your adductors, hip flexors, and hamstrings.  Sounds like a winner to me.

Instead of wasting time sitting on the adductor/abductor machine (as you’ll typically see many women doing), you can perform a split squat, single-leg RDL, or stepback lunge to engage the Glute Medius, Adductor complex, and Quadratus Lumborum (on the “non-working” side) all in one punch! Not only will this give you the physique benefits you’re seeking, but it will also noticeably improve your quality of day-to-day movement.

Most commercial gym goers perform copious amounts of single-joint lifts (think: tricep kickbacks, bicep curls, and leg extensions), which really don’t do much for you besides giving you a chance to look at yourself in the mirror as you do them. Instead, perform multi-joint movements such as pushups, squats, deadlifts, single-leg variations, horizontal pulls, etc. to accomplish much more in far less time.

Most people don't hire a coach to point them in the right direction and give them a blueprint that will guarantee results when followed. Consider hiring a coach in your area to point you in the right direction. 

I think you get the idea. It’s unfortunate that the majority of the population (despite consistent efforts in the gym) show up day-to-day and still look/move the exact same a few years later. Follow the 180 Rule.


Dynamic Effort Training to Fuel Huge Strength Gains

Dynamic Effort Training to Fuel Huge Strength Gains

I had something wonderful happen last week: the George Mason Throwers – who just came off the season – retested in the squat and everyone PR’d. I’m not talking 5lb PR’s, we had HUGE PR’s of 55lb and even 60lb (that’s a 365lb squat moving up to 425lb and a 455lb squat moving up to 510lb)! The lowest PR was 20lb. This progress occurred over about 16-weeks. By the way, I called the depth on each attempt myself, anyone who knows me personally knows I’m a stickler for proper squat depth.

I will be (and that day I was) the first to admit how shocked I was at our new numbers. You see, we were retesting so everyone could be sure they are working off the correct percentages for their summer training program. Coming off the season, I figured everyone would be down around their old max (if we’re lucky) or even below… that’s how it works, right? Maybe not…In hindsight, my approach to this team (much like the sprinters and jumpers I wrote about last week) has been extremely conservative. So what was the catalyst for all these great PR’s? Dynamic Effort Squats (or Speed Squats as they’re sometimes called) are the key to their success.

What are they? Dynamic Effort squatting is a squat that is performed using relatively low percentages and performed as fast as possible through the concentric portion.

Why did we use them?
The Throws’ coach communicated to me at some point in December or January that the group, generally speaking, needed to learn to accelerate through to the “block” portion of the throw. I suggested Speed Squats.

How do you use them? Don’t mess with success: There is a pretty tried and true method to speed squat success and you can work off of these parameters for YEARS. If you are new to speed squatting try this wave over a three-week period: Week 1 10x2@50% - Week 2 10x2@55% - Week 3 8x2@60% - stay strict with a maximum of 60 seconds rest between sets.

Can Olympic lifts take the place of Dynamic Effort Squats? Theoretically, yes. In practice, absolutely not! The problem with the Olympic lifts and their variations is the complexity of the movement – it is, after all, its own sport. You are better off taking a simple movement that an athlete is familiar with and squeezing out every drop of progress (which will last through 4-5 years of a college career, I promise).

It blows my mind how relatively unknown Dynamic Effort lifting remains to many coaches. But, then again, the only reason I know the ins and outs of the method is via my colleagues over the years.Okay, I NEVER do this, so since you’re probably already sitting down – stay there! I don’t want anyone injured… Below are a full 4 waves of lower body lifting I wrote for the throwers this past semester. You’ll see that we did a lot of speed squatting and very little heavy accessory work. Really take a close look at the last few weeks. Oh, and a note about Wave 3, the team’s CNS was trashed so I took the DE squats out to let the team recoup. Finally, in addition to this mandatory team session lower body training day, we had an additional Saturday lift that was to be completed on their own. It consisted of very basic movements to “clean up” what we couldn’t get to during the two days they see me.

Wave 1: Weeks 1-3

A1 High Pull 6x3@65% 5x2@75% 4x1@85%+
A2 Rocking Ankle Mob 2x10 2x10 2x10
Banded DE Box Squat 10x2@40-50% 9x2@45-55% 8x2@50-60%
B1 Band Pistol Sq 2x5 3x5 3x6
B2 Pallof Press 2x6 2x7 2x8
C1 DB Swing 2x12 3x10 3x12
C2 Plate Pinch 2x:15 2x:20 3x:15

 Wave 2: Weeks 4-6

DE Box Squat 10x2@50% 9x2@55% 8x2@60%
A1 Oblique Deadlift 6x3 6x2 4x1
A2 Body Saw 3x10 3x10 3x10
B1 Bulgarian Split Sq 2x5 3x5 3x6
B2 St. Arm Walkout 2x6 2x7 2x8
C1 OH Plate Squat 3x6 3x8 4x6
C2 Plate Pinch Driver 2x10 3x8 3x10

 Week 7: Deload Week – light DB and bodyweight work… step away from the barbell!Wave 3: Weeks 8-10 – Taper Begins

“Low” Bar Squat (1/4 Squat depth) 4x3@75% 3x2@80% 3x1@85%+
A1 Oblique Deadlift 4x3 3x2 skip
A2 Partner Plank 4x:15 3x:20 2x:10
B1 SL DB RDL 3x6 2x8 2x5
B2 MB Side Throw 3x6 3x7 2x5
C1 OH Plate Squat 2x10 3x8 3x6
C2 Hex Hold 2xFAIL! 2xFAIL! 2xFAIL!

 Wave 4: Weeks 11-13 – Taper Continues to Conference

DE Box Squat 5x2@50% 4x2@55% n/a
 “Low” Bar Squat 3x1 3x1 n/a
A1 SL ¼ Squat 2x5 2x5 2x5
A2 MB OH Throw 2x5 2x5 2x5
DB OH Squat 2x6 2x5 3x6

Here are my final thoughts: if you're an athlete or the parent of an athlete looking to get these same kind of gains, then contact us here! We've been offering exceptional programs privately for 4 years and now we're also offering our same crucial coaching and programming for distance clients! It doesn't get any better than SAPT.

- Sarah