During the summer we train numerous college athletes here at FAST Gilbert, and each athlete has their own set of challenges. When they arrive, they usually are holding an off-season training plan given to them by their college strength coach. Some of these are very good, others are not, and some of them are given nothing at all—only a mandate from the coach to be in the best shape possible when they return to campus. At FAST, we get them ready for their upcoming college season by finding a balance between their coach’s program and our own.

Our biggest challenge is that we only have a small window to execute the training plan. When we receive our college athletes in early June, they return to school by late August, which is not a lot of time. If they only just finished their season in the spring, it will be easier for them up to ramp up when compared to athletes who completed their seasons in the previous fall or winter.

When working with these college athletes we make sure to know what conditioning tests they will be given when they return. Even if they don’t compete in the fall, most coaches will run a test on the athlete to see what kind of shape they are in. Common drills a coach might ask for are a 300-yard shuttle, a timed mile, and the beep test. All athletes need to be ready to complete these tests in good time. If they have an off-season program, we will ask which types of lifts and drills they will be doing when they return so we can prepare them for when they work with their team’s strength coach.

Finally, we make sure to educate them on proper nutrition, efficient recovery, and hydration techniques. College sports are far more rigorous than high school; nutrition and recovery control are in greater focus especially when athletes are balancing sports, school work, and college life. We are training some best athletes this summer here at FAST, and can’t wait to see them pull it out for their team in the upcoming year.

Post Attributed to Glenn Steele MA, ATC, CSCS and FAST Facility Manager at the South Gilbert Location.

Lower body training has changed significantly over the last decade. The most important change seen in this field has been the advent of single leg exercises, in addition to traditional double leg exercises, in lower body training programs. The most important change seen have solely relied on double leg exercises; some still do. Yet, it is a recent revelation that these exercises actually have little to no transfer to athletic sports. The movement patterns practiced in double leg exercises do not often transfer to the athletic movements needed to play these sports. I believe in the benefits of using some double leg exercises. For example, the Sumo squat, also known as the Goblet squat, and hex bar deadlift are two of my favorites, but I focus a majority of my lower body training programs on single leg exercises such as the single leg RDL, split squat, single leg squat, and multi plane lunges.

Why single leg strength exercises? Simply put, how many sports are played with both feet in contact with the ground at the same time?

Sprinting, cutting, and most jumping during the course of an athletic event are single leg dominant tasks. Single leg strength is very specific and cannot be developed with double leg exercises because the stabilizing muscles of the pelvis (the gluteus medius, adductors or inner thigh muscles, and the quadratus lumborum) are stressed differently when performing single leg movements than when performing double leg movements. These pelvic stabilizers are necessary to the development of the sports skills mentioned above, but their stabilizer function is not used when performing double leg exercises.

These exercises, when performed with female athletes, can also greatly reduce the likelihood of ACL tears because they focus on developing the main stabilizers of the knee, which traditionally tend to be very weak in high school aged female athletes: the glutes, the hamstrings and the adductors

At the Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training Gilbert location, we start most of our athletes off with body-weight loads for the split squat, single leg RDL, single leg squat and lunges, then progress to gradually heavier loads as their stabilization strength increases. We have seen great improvements in our athletes and clients overall lower body strength, balance and power output as a result of focusing on single leg training.

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).