This is a guest post from Joe Meglio
, the Jersey Bandit, The Beast Coast Breaststroker, The Not So New Kid On The Block, the Bieber Fever Believer, The Deadlift Denominator, The Slayer Player, The Zach Even-Esh Liquefier, The Mid-Atlantic Fiber Frosted Fruitcake Flinging Flabergaster, The Bitchin Banana Hammock Hootenanny Host, the dude who has a bigger pull than you! When someone with ten badass nicknames talks, you listen. You're on, Joe...
One of the biggest problems I see in high school and college athletes is their off season training program. Too often I see high-level athletes performing the WRONG exercises. Instead of focusing on the basic exercises that have been proven to work, they focus on these gimmicky exercises that don’t improve athletic performance.
Simply put, you don’t have time to waste in the gym doing exercises that might work. Focus on the basics, as they are proven to deliver the best results. If I ask you why you are doing a specific exercise and you don’t have a legitimate answer, then scrap it.
When it comes to choosing the best strength exercises, you need to consider training economy, getting the most bang for your buck. As an athlete you need to spend time and energy developing your positional skills.
In this post I will focus on the ‘Top 5 Lower Body Strength Exercises’ for athletes. While jumps, medicine ball throws and sprints are critical to developing rate of force development and explosiveness, it is really useless unless you have a solid foundation of strength.
Here are the Top 5 Lower Body Exercises For Athletes:
Trap bar deadlifts are an awesome exercise for you to strengthen your entire posterior chain. While conventional or sumo style deadlifts are great, trap bar deadlifts are easier to learn and very effective when done properly. Trap bar deadlifts are also less taxing on the body than traditional deadlifts.
When you do trap bar deadlifts, make sure you are sitting back and are keeping the tension on your hamstrings. Do not turn it into a squat.
I am sure you have heard 1,000 times that squats are the king of all lower body exercises and should be a staple in your training program. There is no denying that but a better question is what type of squats should you do? While some coaches prefer back squats, I find front squats to be superior for a few reasons
. Front squats are much easier on the lower back because there are less compressive forces on the spine when compared the back squat. In addition to this the trunk is engaged much more in front squats compared to back squats.
Not to mention, you will have easier time learning front squats compared to back squats because it is much easier to maintain a neutral spine and upright torso in the front squat. Front squats can be done with kettlebells, sandbags or a barbell.
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Popularized by Bret Contreras, hip thrusts are the best way to train the glutes. Simply put, if you want to run faster, jump higher or do any explosive athletic movement, you need to have strong glutes.
Check out the video of Bret Contreras breaking down proper technique on the hip thrust. Also check out his report on Dispelling the Glute Myth.
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Hooray for the Glute Guy, Bret Contraras!!!
Unilateral leg training is critical to your performance because all athletic movements require you to produce force off of one leg. Think about anytime you go to make a cut on the football field, go up for a layup or dunk on the basketball court, or range to your right to field a ground ball on the baseball diamond.
Front loaded reverse lunges place a greater emphasis on the core compared to other unilateral leg exercises where you are holding the weigh at your side or on your back. Another major benefit of this exercise is it will improve your hip stability and help you overcome muscular imbalances caused from your sport.
Matty couldn't let everyone else have all the fun, he had to throw in at least one video of himself. Here is one of his very first videos, doing some front loaded unilateral work (pistols), along with some super sweet kipping pullups. For the record, I, Joe Meglio, think Matty is the dopest fucker out there, yo! (ok ok, Matt wrote this, I'm sure you're fooled)
The prowler and sled are awesome tools because of their effectiveness and their versatility. They can be used for many different goals and can be good for beginner athletes all the way to the professional rank.
The prowler is a great way to improve work capacity and general physical preparation. You can also load the prowler up with super heavy weight and push it for shorter distances to improve lower body strength with minimal stress on your joints. And finally, the sled and prowler can also be used as a rehabilitation tool when you are recovering from an injury and you need to do low impact exercises.
While there are a ton of other great lower body exercises, these are my go to ones because they work! In the next part of this installment I will share my top 5 upper body exercises for athletes.
If you want a program specifically designed to increase your athleticism and transform you into a freak athlete, check out my Lift Like A Man Training Course
This is the exact system I use to get my athletes bigger, faster and stronger.
Serious strength training for athletes
We get all caught up in the finer things in life so often that we forget what is most important. We focus on new trends instead of tried and true effectiveness. There are a lot of innovative new technologies that change our lives for the better. Yet for every successful invention, there's thousands of dead ideas lying on the side of the road.
Stop trying to be different for the sake of being different. Experimenting is fun, but you know what's more fun? Getting better and seeing massive results. If you're doing a bunch of silly shit, always looking for the next big thing, knock it off! Get back to your roots, keep things simple and skyrocket your gains and really enhance your performance. Here is a quick video of simple training (assuming you have the requisite skill), with very limited equipment, that has the potential to boost almost anyones performance. Use what you have wisely and get your mindset to achieve greatness with what you have available instead of focusing on what you are lacking. It does not matter if you only have a barbell, or just a dumbbell, or only a rock. As long as you have an able body and a dedicated attitude, you can achieve greatness.
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, then only $9.99 a month after that. Cancel anytime with no questions asked, just be ready for my momma to kick in your back door and threaten you with that crazy big wooden spoon of hers, that shit hurts! Also, please check out our new tee shirts and hoodies here.
I have gotten a questions about how my rehab is coming along. Here is a video I made today during training. It was a light full body day, as yesterday was a heavy full body day. I love training the full body almost everyday. Not many people can handle it, and depending on your goals, it might not be the best training style for you, everything depends. This certainly is not the best training rehab protocol for everyone, but based on my ability prior to my injury, this is what I am capable of doing now, just 5 weeks after a grade 3 MCL tear. The best thing you can do for an injury is prevent it. Smart training can help prevent injuries, but sometimes shit happens. When it does, if you are stronger, not only will the injury be not as bad, but the recovery will be much easier. If I wasn't as strong as I was before my injury, I wouldn't be doing what I am doing today. Start early and never quit, it is the best possible thing you can do.
Polish Sports Magazine I am featured in this month
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Day 1, we've come a long way
Barbell complexes, I love em, you love em, we all love em!!! If I had a favorite ice cream flavor, it would be "Barbell Complexes and Sweaty Man Cream." Wait, no, that's kinda gross, cream isn't paleo. Screw it, we would just call it "Barbell Scream" for short, it would catch on, I know it.
Anyway, here is a fun little video of some complexes we did on Christmas Eve. I love the barbell, I really do. But I also like to sleep around with other bells as well. I got this little crew of kettlebells that come out and dance once in a while, man are they sweet. Their bottoms are so round and perfect, I love putting my hands all over em. I also know this group of idiots, dumbbells really, they like to come out and get freaky in pairs a lot, sometimes they even bring their knucklehead friends, the damn sandbags. They can be real dicks sometimes. We didn't get a chance to see em this time, but soon enough, they will make an appearance.
Train hard, and please post some of your favorite complexes and equipment pairs you like to combine for a great session.
One of my favorite exercises, or complexes, to perform with weights is the one handed Snatch+Jerk. Its as simple as ripping a weight up from the ground to overhead in smooth movement, then bringing it back to the shoulder and punching it skyward to full lockout again before returning it to the ground or for another rep. Myriad implements can be used here, Kettlebells are a very popular and excellent choice, but so are dumbbells and even a barbell. It sounds simple and the best make it look easy, but it can be tricky to learn how to perform correctly and efficiently. Here are a few of us performing the movement below. Don't forget to inquire about our kettlebell and bodyweight workshop being held 11/06/10. Email me or comment below for more details.
1. DB snatch + jerk 4x4
2a. BB press 6x2-3
2b. Ring face pulls + scarecrows 6x5/5
3. Muscle ups 3 x submax
4a. Pullups 3-5 x max
-touch chin to fist every rep, switching fist every rep
-rest 30 seconds
4b. Dips 3-5 x max
-use rings or parallel bars according to your ability and availability
-rest 60 seconds
5. Various Conditioning Drills - Have a little fun!
-We played with sandbag and push up races today, again! Take 4 sandbags from 75-125 pounds and carry each about 30 yards as fast as possible, then perform 20 pushups, carry them all back to the starting point and perform 15 pushups, repeat one more time and finish with 10 pushups. Times ranged from 4:24 to 5:39. Tough but fun.