Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Triple Extension and why it's Important!

Nowadays speed training is all the rage in almost every sport. You can find “Coaches” marketing weekend camps or group training at schools and parks everywhere. It’s so heavily marketed to teams and groups, that you feel like your going to be left in the dust, literally if you don’t do it… I think we all can agree teaching the mechanics of running is good for beginners because technique / form is necessary to achieve maximal speed. But, with so much emphasis placed on getting faster, what is a parent or athlete suppose to do?

My opinion is “speed training” is the latest fad to squeeze money out of misinformed coaches, parents and athletes. The main problem I see with “speed training”, is that some parents are usually torn between choosing to pay for SAQ training or Strength training. Well, I’m pretty sure you can guess my answer to this dilemma! The biggest bang for your buck is achieved through strength training! Applying more force to the ground, is where power from getting stronger is going to make you faster.

Let’s look at the main reason why strength training is the paramount focus of getting faster.

1) Force = Mass x Acceleration
2) Power = Force x Velocity
3) Better TRIPLE EXTENSION (locking of the ankle-knee-hip)

We all understand that we want to develop more force and power, but what does Triple Extension have to do with all this? Without locking at the hip, knee and ankle, maximal jumping & sprinting running cannot be accomplished… Triple extension is key to a faster athlete!!!

Let’s take a look at the NFL Combine. The combine is made up of a series of tests: the 40 yd. dash, Vertical Jump, Broad Jump, Bench Press, 3 Cone Drill and Shuttle Run. 5 of these 6 events are lower body dominant, and they test the athlete’s ability to explode from a static position to an all out sprint, jump or lateral shuffle. Guys running a 40 yd. dash under 4.25 are very hard to come by. If you can achieve this type of speed at a combine, you can pretty much assure yourself a very lucrative contract. Tenths of a second can mean the difference between thousands or millions of dollars for certain athletes.

Each position player is looked at as a whole, but the hips and legs are being highly scrutinized, so separating yourself from the pack is very important. With that being said, quickness is brought about by explosive movements such as Cleans, Snatches, Squatting, Deadlifting, Tire Flips, etc. I’m willing to bet that the guys that stand out on these tests, put in a lot of time performing these types of lifts!

For instance, take a look at a Basketball player going up for a blocked shot or a slam dunk. They are exploding off the ground with great pressure being applied in order to get as high as possible. Triple extension is very important for all jumping movements. With a proper weight training program they can increase their vertical jump, become quicker and decrease the chance of injury.

Most people wouldn’t think that swimmers would need to lift weights let alone incorporate triple extension exercises. Think about it, they have to start somewhere, and usually it’s on land. If they’re competing in the backstroke, they push away from the wall with an explosive jump. The weights don’t have to be heavy in order to increase the power derived from triple extension… Jumping or deadlifting with light weight can make a big difference in a swimmers starting strength.

Wrestlers definitely need to utilize strength training, because they are constantly battling an opponents weight and strength. But do they need to encompass triple extension exercises? Of course, they are creating tremendous power and force with every throwing movement… For this we use different types of Cleans, with Dumbbells, Kettlebells and Sandbags in order to strengthen their hips. An added bonus of cleans is the tremendous grip work involved.

Being a coach, my ultimate goal is to get my clients Strong(er) and Fast(er) than their opponents. We teach them technique first, and as they improve we increase the resistance and workload specific to their sports demands. Running around cones and ladders will not increase their speed nearly as well as a quality strength training program will. Time invested in a weight room will yield better results than running with a parachute strapped to your back…

It doesn’t matter what surface they compete on, by achieving powerful triple extension through the ankle-knee-hip, we can create explosive and powerful athletes!

Mike Rojas is the Owner and Coach at STRONG 101 GYM, in Corona CA. He trains Athletes ranging from Middle school up to Professional Athletes, as well as all Tactical personnel. His main goal is to help his clients excel in and out of their sport. If you would like more information about him and his gym, please check out