Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Explosive Leg Workout

Friends, today I am going to continue and widen the vocabulary of training tools we use into the area of explosive leg development and jump training.
Part of my weekly training schedule is dedicated to the development of jumping ability, explosiveness of the lower body and further increases of power.
As an acrobat I use this type of training in combination with basic and advanced acrobatic skills, but one can use similar methods without the actual flipping and spinning in the air. I will provide both options - an acrobatic one and a normal jump one.

Jump Into Box - Standing



Stand in front of a box from knee to head high, create a small knee bend, swing your arms and jump into the box, landing in a squat position on top of it. Come down, leg by leg or jumping down and repeat for reps.

Jump Into Box - Iso Squat



Stand in front of a box from knee to head high, squat down and hold without moving for 3-5 seconds. Explode from the squat up and into the box, landing in a squat position on top of it.
Repeat for reps.

Front Flip - Standing



Stand with an erect body. Swing your arm up and behind your head and initiate a front flip while trying to jump up and tuck hard. Soften the landing, trying to land in place. Front flipping from punching is very different from this. The standing front flip requires a lot of explosive strength in the legs and abdomen because of the way our body is build. It is much easier to initiate a back flip from standing than a front one - one only needs to compare the posterior chain to the anterior body muscles.
Repeat for reps

Back Flip - Iso Squat
Squat down, taking both arms forward. Pause for 3-5 seconds, swing your arms while jumping explosively into a back flip. Try to stick the landing, softening into it. Repeat for reps.
Do not let the squat position at the start of the exercise to change the 'triple extenstion' in your calf, knee and hip from occuring due to different timing. Make sure you completely extend upwards before tucking into the flip.

The Shrimp



The easiest variation starts in the kneeling position one leg behind you placed from knee to foot on the ground.
Balance yourself with the hands forward, pull forward and up, while pushing into the ground with your active leg. Reach a standing position on one leg, lower down the same way and repeat for reps.
The intermidiate variation will be exactly the same, apart from one difference - the back leg is only touching the ground with the knee. (the foot is lifted in the air)



The advanced variation will be to grab ahold of the back foot in a quad stretch position and slowly while pulling forward and up and using no momentum, stand up. Come down the same way and repeat for reps.

The advanced variation is the hardest body weight exercise I ran into until today. I dont need to take my shoes off to count the number of people I have witnessed performing this correctly (no momentum and in the correct positioning) and I have challanged some heavy squaters and heavy pistol practitioners.
The reason is a the bad mechanical advantage of the movement of course. Try it, it is a humbling experience.
Having said that, it is not the hardest variation of the exercise... but we will leave something for the future!

Harop Curl



The Harop Curl or Natural Hamstrings Curl is another brutal bodyweight leg exercise, concentrating on the back of the leg, and especialy the hamstrings muscle group. (Other muscles active here are the Gastrocnemius, Glute, lower back and counteless other small muscles)
Kneel down on your knees with your feet anchored below a heavy object / someone standing on your soles while you point your feet behind you.
If you are a feeling some knee strain feel free to cushion your knees.
The beginner variation will be to break the angle of the knee and lean forward a bit. When you feel you cannot go further anymore, start to break the angle at the waist and touch your nose to the ground/bench. Return to upright kneeling position and repeat for reps.



The advanced variation will include a more acute angle forward in the knees and a minimum break in the chest to knee line.
This is a simple exercise but not an easy one. Expect some serious cramping of the back of the legs, and aproach it with caution. Do not try to go for advanced variations too soon.


Explosive Leg Workout - beginner/intermidiate

Quick warm up
A1. 5 min joint mobility
A2. Ido's Squat Clinic Routine X 1 set

Explosive Movements Training
B1. Jump Into Box - Standing 8 reps X 3 sets / 90 sec rest
C1. Jump Into Box - Iso-Squat 8 reps X 3 sets / 90 sec rest

3 min rest

Strength Work
D1. The Shrimp (foot+knee or just knee of the back leg touching the ground) 5 reps per leg
D2. Harop Curl 5 reps
perform 5 total sets of A1-A2 rest 90 sec after both A1 and A2

Lower leg finisher
E1. 50 reps of jump rope (or just jumping) in place with right leg (No knee bend - calf work only)
E2. 60 sec of standing on right leg only with eyes shut
E3. 50 reps of jump rope (or just jumping) in place with left leg (No knee bend - calf work only)
E4. 60 sec of standing on left leg only with eyes shut
Perform 2 total sets of F1-F4 do not rest between exercises


Explosive Leg Workout - beginner/intermidiate

Quick warm up
A1. 5 min joint mobility
A2. Ido's Squat Clinic Routine X 1 set

Explosive Movements Training
B1. Front Flip - Standing X 5 reps X 3 sets / 90 sec rest
C1. Back Flip - Iso Squat X 5 reps X 3 sets / 90 sec rest

3 min rest

Strength Work
D1. The Shrimp - in a quad stretch position or with knee only touching behind you X 5 reps per leg
D2. Harop Curl X 5 reps
perform 5 total sets of A1-A2 rest 90 sec after both A1 and A2

Lower leg finisher
E1. 50 reps of jump rope (or just jumping) in place with right leg (No knee bend - calf work only)
E2. 60 sec of standing on right leg only with eyes shut
E3. 50 reps of jump rope (or just jumping) in place with left leg (No knee bend - calf work only)
E4. 60 sec of standing on left leg only with eyes shut
Perform 2 total sets of F1-F4 do not rest between exercises

News:
A couple of excellent discussions are going on in the forum, please register and join in! Participate and contribute to this growing community that gathers around, it will enable me to contribute more material and to understand better your needs as an audience. Dont be a stranger!

Interesting discussions:
1. Improvisation in strength training
2. Quality of Movement - the missing piece in modern training aproaches
3. Dynamic and static balance differences
4. Fear management in acrobatic training - my personal aproach
5. Improvisation in movement - highest manifestation of any practice


Enjoy,
Ido.

45 comments:

RickyVT said...

The Shrimp Adv looks very interesting. I am one of those "pistol practitioners" you described so the movement has peaked my interest. I do pistols with a 45lb dumbbell so I am more than happy to try something that is more difficult (so at least I wont have to keep borrowing weight from the weight room =) ). Its also good to see the standing front/back tucks. I have been doing them both extensively for several months with great results.

malacomandinga said...

wow, i started cramping in my hams just watching those Harop curls. Then again, I cramp in the legs quite easily. Besides daily banana intake, potassium pills, lots of liquids and stretching before and after a workout, what do you recommend to ward off leg cramps?

cnye94 said...

Thank you very much

Jorge Itapuã Beiramar said...

Nice exercises for the legs bro.

The jump in the box definaly is in my training routine.

Can you give us some interesting related links to some complementary information such as Capoeira videos or something like?

Axé.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ido!

-Timy

RickyVT said...

So I had just about everyone in the gym trying the advanced Shrimp and none of us could do it! It was surprisingly difficult to balance, so I did the intermediate version for this workout. I think I just need to practice it a bit more before I implement it into a training routine. Other than that this workout was great . . . along with the GB WOD and my SS cycle and ring work. Yep, yesterday was a great workout!

Ido said...

malacomandinga, you got your bases covered, just start with easier variations and advance from there.

Ido said...

Ita!
I am glad you find this usefull...
What do you mean with complementary videos? Explain further and I will try to help.

Ido said...

Ricky,
I told you it is the hardest bodyweight leg exercise I ever ran into. balance, lack of mechanical advantage and isolation are just part of the challanges the Shrimp offers. I am very glad to hear about your dedicated training. Soon you will kick my butt...

RickyVT said...

Thanks for the encouragement. It sure feels like its slow going sometimes =)

Anonymous said...

what is the hardest BW leg exercise you talk about?

jessekessinger said...

What bench are you using to do your harop curls on?

Darren Grundy said...

G'day Ido.

I have a question on the single leg skips - in terms of progressing the exercise. I am in my third week and 50 has become too easy. Do I simply do more or is there a pre-fatigue/other exercise I should do?

Regards -

Darren.

Hector said...

How many times a week would you reccomend doing this routine.

Rachel Page said...

Strong legs does not come easy.

Raz Friedman said...

Hey ido, did your squats, the part that i could anyways.. shrimp vs pistol , what do you think? Do these compliment each other by emphasizing diffrent muscle groups, or are they similar ?

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those pistol squats are hard I'm just on the easy ones right now, I have a great squat workout routine , I love squats.

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