My Favorite Exercise Combinations: Installment 14 – Improve Your Speed Today

There are tons of ways to improve explosiveness and athleticism. One of the coveted ideas for achieving athleticism involves “triple extension” – extension of the hips, knees, and ankles in a very rapid manner.

Since there are a plethora of exercises can help develop the quality of explosiveness and power, many may throw the baby out with the bath water, instead of identifying the goals of the individual. With this in mind, it is always important to keep in mind these things:

  • Does this person have the requisite joint position to get into the desired position?
  • Does this person have a pre-existing context for which this movement can be taught?
  • Does this person have any soft tissue structures that can be limiting them from moving well?
  • Does this person have any pre-existing anxieties about the movement?

After identifying these items, quickly move on to the fitness side of things, and try this exercise combination out!

Let’s Talk Power

The DB Snatch is a great exercise aimed at improving triple extension in a unilateral fashion. In this exercise you can achieve a lot of great power qualities, on top of improving your ability to stabilize a weight overhead, something not many people can do effectively (simply because they are uninitiated with how to do so).

When performing the 1-Arm DB Snatch, make sure to keep these external cues in mind!

Coaching Cues

  • Throw the weight to the ceiling.
  • Snap your arm like a whip/rope.
  • Head goes to the ceiling.

It is common to be unfamiliar with the movements of the DB Snatch, so make sure to keep these “phases” in mind.

DB Snatch - Phases
Left – Hip Hinge, Middle – High Pull, Right – Receiving Position

However, sometimes individuals do not have the initial ability to bring their arms overhead – they may need better control on how their humerus moves in conjunction with how their scapulae move on their ribcage…


… on top of relaxing their neck muscles!


The Shoulder Joint is Connected to the…?

By improving shoulder and scapular stabilizers, you are better likely to improve upon your neck motion. The reasoning for this is because you are now improving how your shoulder feels, instead of often “shrugging” or using compensatory patterns that involves your head/neck to take the brunt of the workload.

By performing the next exercise in this combination, the Supine Band Resisted PNF Diagonals, you are better able to keep reinforce these qualities:

  • Reintegrates anterior core stabilizers (IOs, EOs as you exhale)
  • Reintegrates anterior neck (SCMs as you rotate neck)
  • Improve scapular control (as you hold band in position)

Practical Programming

Ideally, you can super set these movements back and forth. If you’re in a supine position for the band pullaparts, you are in the easiest progression their is – which isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes you need to relax in order to move fast. No one just stays “tight” in order to develop athleticism – you need to move quick, and also relax in order to develop that “whip” like feeling.

So with this in mind, let’s combine these movements in a pairing.

A1. 1-Arm DB Snatch – 3×4/side
A2. Supine Band Resisted PNF Diagonals – 3×8-10/side

One thing to keep in mind is that power development can be justified as being used in the 3 to 6 rep range. As long as force development is the main goal, adequate rest is improved upon, and technique is on point, utilizing the DB Snatch is a great choice of an exercise!

With respect to the band pullaparts, I view these items as simply improving upon the various functions of the scapula and shoulder motion. That is, when you go down by your side, you are performing shoulder extension and scapular retraction/depression. When you bring your other arm up, you are working on shoulder flexion, and scapular upward rotation.

Also, if I am moving my neck after locking my shoulders into position, I am forcing my neck to turn on my SCMs, which help with rotary motion with the neck, something that I is often an issue with our athletes and even everyday folk.

With these things in mind, it is easy to see how you can integrate a great power development exercise, while still respecting the need for your overhead mobility and stability!

As always,

Keep it funky.


My Favorite Exercise Combinations: Installment 12 – The Hip Bone is Connected to The Knee Bone

Before I begin, I just want to comment and mention that many individuals want to begin talking about pathoanatomy and all of the complex items that happen in the body, but not many even master the basics and fundamentals before moving onto said items!

In fact, Tony Gentilcore had a funny quip to a tweet I had ranting about this very item.Tony G Tweet

With that under your belts, let’s dive into my newest and most favoritest exercise combination!

The Hip Bone is Connected to the Knee Bone

One common theme that happens quite a bit in many populations that I come across involves the knees exhibiting genu valgus. This is a fancy schmancy word meaning the knees cave in – this could be due to a few things:

1. Increased q-angle, in which a line is drawn from the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) to the center of the patella, and another line is drawn from the center of the patella to the middle of the femur.


2. Over-pronation of the medial arch of the foot, in which the arch of the foot is rolled inwards. If the foot collapses, the tibias could lose integrity and also fall in height as well, thus causing the patellas to fall towards one another.

Arch vs No Arch

3. Lack of hip internal rotation, which could be due to several factors, such as:

  • Lack of abdominal contribution in controlling the motion of the pelvis during gait
  • Lack of strength in glute medius
  • Lack of space in the posterior portion of your hip capsule due to congenital (or you were born with it) reasons
  • The individual does not know how to control the range of motion given to them

…among many others such as contact and non-contact injuries.

Look here for more information on hip internal rotation.

Observations vs Pragmatic Actions

So the mere observation of said information does not help us, rather we (you and I) can intervene in a few ways:

  1. Perform rehab like exercises in order to improve what we are looking at.
  2. Improve gait patterns (over-pronation, reduce postural swinging during gait, etc.)
  3. Improve the individual’s ability to control their body during athletic movements

Today I’ll be going over how to improve option three, in which I introduce the single leg hop where the landing is “stuck,” paired with a single leg squat, or bowler squat, with a subsequent medial band pull.

The single leg hop is a great regression or even beginning assessment tool to see how an individual interprets how to accelerate away from the ground, along with how they decelerate and negotiate gravity.

When an individual lands, a few incorrect items may occur:

  1. Lack of sticking landing (hopping instead of absorbing force)
  2. Overpronation
  3. Knee collapse
  4. Landing too “tall” or high, as opposed to a lowered position

Long story short, I am looking for alignment of the foot, knee, and hip.

Knee Alignment - Sagittal
Left: Good alignment when landing from a vertical hop. Right: Bad alignment when landing from a single leg vertical hop

Further, starting and ending with a lowered position allows an individual to react appropriately with respect to athletic endeavors – if the athlete lands in a higher position, there is less ability to decelerate using the posterior chain/glutes, and more likelihood the person will have to lower themselves in order to get faster, which takes time they could have saved if they just landed lower to begin with.

The bowler squat with a medial band pull requires the individual to maintain all of these alignment items, along with maintaining a lowered center of gravity.

Single Leg Medial Band Pull
The band is pulling the outside knee into valgus/collapse. The brain will recognize this and fight back, hopefully.

I’d also increase the demands by requiring the athlete to pause for 2 seconds at the bottom position, which will take any momentum out of the equation, and challenge their core integrity.

Note: When you have the band pulling on the leg, make sure your most outside leg has the band pulling them inwards toward the midlineotherwise you are assisting your knee in maintaining appropriate alignment. The purpose is to challenge the vestibular and nervous system by pushing the body out of alignment!

How Can I Program This?

I believe this can be a great precursor towards improving frontal plane development, or even single leg forward hops or bounds. For this reason using this as a “reminder” in the warm-ups may be the best bet.

A1. Single Leg Hop (Stick Landing) – 3×5/s

A2. Bowler Squat with Medial Band Pull with 2 Sec Pause – 3×4/s

Make sure to use a slightly less challenging band, because a very strong, or one inch or thicker band, may be too difficult and might hurt more than help!

As always,

Keep it funky.


My Favorite Exercise Combinations: Installment 11 – Teaching the Weight Shift in Med Ball Drills

I love throwing medicine balls around in the gym. It’s loud and it makes my soul feel good. However, when I give this task to a youth athlete or use it for fat loss purposes, sometimes these medicine ball exercises go right over the person’s head (pun intended).

So with that in mind, I have an awesome combination for y’all today, and it is a great teaching tool for anyone from beginner to advanced athletes.

There are a lot of cool things going on here, and I’ll outline what happens in the first exercise in this combination:

A1. Lateral Mini-Band Walk with Pump Fake – 3×5/s

This first portion I liken to observing how gait patterns occur. Long story short, every time you take a step forward with one foot, you need to accelerate with the back foot.

Every time you take a step forward as well, you need to decelerate with the foot that has just left the ground.

Pelvis - Weight Shift

Integrating Ideas – Introducing the Lateral Mini-Band Walk

How does this integrate with a lateral mini-band walk?

You need to decelerate as you take a step to the side, and the “pump fake” with the medicine ball takes this necessity for deceleration to the next level. Otherwise, well, you’ll just fall over. Further, you need to accelerate away from the side on the other foot.

To take it the next level, you need to observe internal rotation at the femoralacetabular joint on the leg that is receiving the weight shift, which talks beautifully about deceleration, and then in order to re-accelerate you need to push out of that position at the hip, and go into external rotation (and hip abduction as well).

Over-coaching athletes to bring their knees into a position that is biased towards genu valgus may be incorrect – the correct position is to subconsciously cue hip internal rotation through external cuing. That is when you win.

Food for thought – males can also have large Q-Angles, not just females (and vice versa).

Further, this necessity for deceleration at the hip will also need to be translated up from the foot – so overpronation should not be observed, but rather staying on the ball of the foot. Overpronation can be thought of as having a flat foot position – there is no arch, and thus there is no force absorption, or rather there is no authentic and efficient force absorption (force is lost through the lack of an arch, and compensation may occur).

Arch vs No Arch
Flat Foot (Left) vs Arch (Right)

Now, to translate this to a sport specific lingo, what happens when you change directions? What happens when you need to re-direct any forces from one position to the next? What happens when you need to make a cut on a field?

Shuffle - Pronation + Valgus

Now, with these ideas under your belt, you can go into the next exercise and teaching tool of shifting in and out with power and speed – the Step Back Rotational Med Ball Shotput.

A2. Step Back Rotational Med Ball Shotput – 3×5/s, 8lb to 10lb

In actuality this can be any side to side, or frontal plane, variation of a medicine ball exercise.

While this exercise may seem relatively straightforward, there are ways to move erroneously. From a cuing perspective, make sure to do these things:

  • Elbows high, imagine someone is behind you.
  • With your lead or front elbow, try to smack or hit the person behind you.
  • Show your shoulders and chest to the wall in front of you – this will avoid any sidearm like action from occuring.
  • Push the ground away from you – or place an object to step AWAY from, since you need a good follow through with your hips.
  • Break the wall with the ball, which should capture intent for power and speed of movement.

These are all the things that I’m looking for when utilizing a very simplistic drill involving medicine balls. Hope this brings some insight as to how I look at things!

As always,

Keep it funky.