I think it’s safe to say we all know lower body training is critical in increasing strength, preventing injury, and improving overall performance. But it can be challenging to find the right training for you. If you haven’t seen much progress with your lower body training in a while, then incorporate this 4 phase approach. Whether you’re intermediate or an advanced level athlete, this can work for you.
Based on the Westside System, it uses 3 methods of training to achieve maximal muscle contraction for the lower body. My preference specifically, is the Westside Conjugate Method. I find it elongates the detraining effect that can occur from Western Periodization Methods or Block Training. But the methods remain the same. Method one is the Dynamic Effort Method, which is used to increase the rate of force development and explosive strength. In simpler terms – it makes you faster and more explosive. The second is the Max Effort Method. This method is used to build absolute strength by improving both inter-muscular and intra-muscular coordination. Last is the Repetition Effort Method that involves lifting sub-maximal weights for higher volumes – building hypertrophy and strengthening the weakest muscles. Of course adjustments can be made based on each athlete, but the basic template remains the same:
Phase 1: The first phase of any workout, the warm-up, is often the most overlooked aspect of training. But warm-ups act as both a training technique and an important habit for mobility and flexibility. If you want to read more on how to structure a warm-up routine, then check out our previous article HERE.
Phase 2: The second phase of your workout is dedicated to central nervous system (CNS) intensive movements through the Dynamic Effort Method. These movements are explosive, in turn allowing you to produce rapid force. Examples of these movements involve sprinting, jumping and plyos.
Phase 3: Phase three is focused on strength development through the Max Effort Method. Again, this method builds absolute strength by improving inter-muscular and intra-muscular coordination. At this phase we like to incorporate the Ramp Up method, which gradually increases the load before hitting your full work sets. Gradually increasing weight allows you to increase overall training volume, enhancing neural output and strength gains. But keep in mind you should stick to no more than 10 total reps per workout to avoid over training.
Phase 4: Phase four is a bit more extensive and involves the Repetition Effort Method and is all about lifting a non-maximal load and pushing yourself to failure or near failure to build muscular endurance. This method involves very carefully chosen exercises to strengthen the weakest links of your lower body whether that be hamstrings, glutes or your lower back (posterior chain). If you’re particularly prone to pulling or injuring these muscles, it’s likely because they are typically the most underdeveloped areas of the body. As a result, volume will vary more between athletes in this method. However, no matter the volume, the technique is to aim for a longer time where your muscles are under tension.
Phase 5: Last but not least, phase 5 focuses on the core and glutes. Isolating one or both of these areas with an anti-movement pattern helps to maximize stability. Core stability is vital to getting the best results you can. Many people don’t know your core actually runs from above your knees all the way up to your chest, so make sure you're incorporating movements that can hit this entire area.
Here’s an example of how this four phase training breaks down:
Like we mentioned before, your lower body, and the training it receives is critical to developing and enhancing your strength, agility and overall performance. This methodology and 4 phase approach enhances all of that by increasing your speed, strength, muscle mass and ultimately, your power. Of course, this workout is just an example, and depending on your body, your sport and objectives, you’ll want to adjust it – CONTACT US to find the right lower body training for you.