Strength Training

“Behind the Scenes” – Lower Body Strength/Power Workout


One of the things I’m going to start incorporating into my blog posts are random, “Behind the Scenes” videos of entire workouts at my facility. As my business continues to grow and my plate continues to get fuller and fuller, I haven’t had the time to update my blog as often as I would like. (Unfortunately, I need to give top priority to the aspects of my business that actually pay the bills 🙂 But, I’ve always loved answering questions on my website and providing great content for my website readers. My “ASK JOE” column is something that I plan on keeping around for a long, long time. So I’ve been thinking of more efficient ways for me to provide content to my site more frequently. Since I still spend the majority of my days in the gym, training athletes, I will periodically film entire workouts and then just post them. I obviously won’t show every single set, rep, rest period, etc. What I WILL do is write out the entire program, along with the rationale behind it, and provide a video to tie it all together. This will give everyone a cool look “inside” the gym and see some of the different programming we use with our athletes.

So without further ado, here’s a “Behind the Scenes” look at a Lower Body Strength/Power session performed by my 12:00 crew this past Tuesday!


1. TKE’s w/ Average Band – 3 x 15

2A. Safety Bar Squats off pins – 5 x 2
2B. Box Jumps – 5 x 3

3. Sled Accelerations – 4 x 15 yards

4. “Big Dog” Swings ( 124lb. KB) – 3 x 12

5. Band-Resisted sit-ups – 4 x 25

The method behind the madness:

**TKE’s: I’ve spoken about the benefits of this exercise on countless occasions. Almost every single athlete with patella tendonitis or general “knee pain” can’t believe how much better their knees feel after just 2-3 sets of this exercise. You’d be crazy not to do them! Always conclude your warm-up with TKE’s when squatting, jumping or deadlifting. Period.

**For athletes that are only performing 1 lower body ‘strength’ session per week, starting their workout with a heavy squat or deadlift variation followed by a jump, gives them a great “bang for their buck”. In the above workout, I chose Safety bar squats off pins as my “heavy” movement. Notice I said “heavy”, not “max”. Lifting “heavy” weights excite the CNS and recruit your fast-twitch fibers, without burning you out (like “max” singles often do). This increases neural firing when you perform your jumps. Athletes will notice that they are able to jump higher, with less “effort”, during their squat/jump pairing with this workout. (The “technical” term for this type of training is called ‘post-activation potentiation‘.) Perform at least 5 “supersets” to get the most out of this part of the workout.

**After the squat/jump pairing, you want to try and transfer the high-threshold motor units into a synchronized activity (like acceleration sled sprints). Simply put, while your CNS is in a heightened state, I like to have my athletes perform an “athletic” movement that is more “specific” to their sport. Since the 4 athletes that performed this workout were all football players, I chose a weighted, short sprint. When training for power, I’ve always felt like this helped “bridge the gap” from the weightroom to the athletic field. I’ll give another example to help clarify my point: If you were going to have a boxer or MMA athlete perform this type of workout for the upper body; you may have them start with bench presses and medicine ball throws. Then, your next exercise can be hitting the heavy bag for 4 sets of 10-15 seconds to help transfer/synchronize the motor units that were previously recruited.

**Heavy Kettlebell Swings: I wanted to finish this lower body workout with a hip extension exercise that also had a little bit of a “conditioning” component (since mini camp may be right around the corner for a few of these guys); what better way to hit the posterior chain and finish everyone off than a 124-pound kettlebell?!

**Band-resisted sit-ups: I have to give credit to Brian Cushing for this unique sit-up variation. When he was home last month, he came up with this…we tried it…I loved it…most of the athletes HATED it…so I kept it in the program!!!

Finally, I gotta give props to William Paterson University wide receiver, Joel Rivera. This was his very first workout with us! I threw him to the wolves with some of our longtime ‘disciples’ to “test” him…and he passed the test!! He definitely earned his DeFranco “wings” after that workout!!

What did you guys think of the workout? Drop us a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

-Joe D.




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