Lower Body Strength & Conditioning Session Review @ Elite Sports Performance

I was back at Elite Sports Performance with Strength & Conditioning Coach Todd Carlon last night.  This week the focus was training the lower body.  I will detail the session plan and what was covered and why below.  I must say, anyone who is serious about improving their training and performance output, they should definitely check out Elite Sports Performance.  Although I have only been attending for the last couple of weeks, I have learnt a lot about my bodies weaknesses, strengths and movement patterns.

I have been training consistently with various forms of weight training for the last 14 years, ranging from isolated hypertrophy training to functional training.   Prior to attending Elite Sports Performance, I would have said that my movement patterns with various lifts were good, my ability to activate various areas of the body i.e. glutes, lats etc were also good.  However, since attending for 1:1 S&C coaching lessons, I have learnt that I have only just started to scratch the surface.  I have a long way to go towards improving my movement patterns, conditioning and lifts.

This weeks focus was on training the lower body.  Below is a run down of the program performed.

Prehab Conditioning Program

1 set 10 Reps Each Exercise

  • Birddog
  • Plank with Hip Extension
  • Side Plank with Hip Abduction
  • Supine Hip Bridge
  • Single Leg Supine Hip Bridge
  • Single Leg Powerband Exercises – Flexion, Extension, Abduction and Adduction of the Hip
  • Seated Powerband Hip Abduction
  • Standing Powerband VMO (quad) Knee Extension

The idea behind all of these exercises is to warm up the body, take it through a range of movement and also get the body fired to work correctly with regards to gluteal function and lumbopelvic stability.


Lower Body Main Session

Sumo Box Squats

  • Warm Up Set 1.  8 reps – 60 kg
  • Warm Up Set 2.  6 reps – 70kg
  • Main Set 1.  5 reps – 80kg
  • Main Set 2. 5 reps 80kg
  • Main Set 3.  5 reps 80kg
  • Main Set 4.  5 reps 80kg

Todd was constantly giving me a number of cues as I went through the reps and sets.  These included:

  1. Screw the feet down into the ground with external foot pressure to help engage the lower body and glutes to create a solid base of support
  2. Drive the movement through the hips to rack the bar and on the downwards motion of the squat.  This ensured that the hips were doing most of the work and that I wasn’t squatting through the knees/quads too much
  3. Keep the shins vertical to the ground – ensuring that the box squat movement engaged the hips
  4. Push the knees out on the way down and up.  Make sure I don’t let the knees collapse as I came up out of the box squat.  This helped to engage the glutes and lower limb.
  5. Push the abs out throughout the movement.  This is something that I have difficulty with as it is very unfamiliar to me.
  6. Keep the head upright, shoulders back and let the bar sit over my posterior deltoids.
  7. Push the elbows in hard to keep the posterior chain tight.

As you can see, there are many cues to focus on.  Once these key points are practiced enough, the sumo box squat will go from a conscious practiced movement to a subconscious automatic movement.  For a beginner, we all have to go through this type of learning process.  Practice Practice Practice is the key.

See an example below of a video that I sourced from YouTube

Rack Squats

Another new lifting technique that I have not performed before.  The rack squat helps to build strength through the hips and core.  The movement pattern performed is very similar to the deadlift from shin height to top range.

  • Warm Up Set 1.  5 reps 60kg
  • Warm Up Set 2.  5 reps 70kg
  • Main Set 1.  5 reps 80kg
  • Main Set 2.  5 reps 80kg
  • Main Set 3.  5 reps 80kg

Focus Points:

  1. Start position:  Keep the shins vertical, hips back and spine neutral
  2. Grip position:  Alternate hand grip
  3. Foot position:  Conventional deadlift stance (feet shoulder width apart)
  4. Lean back and take up the slack through the body before lifting the bar
  5. Avoiding rocking back and forth pre bar lift (you will see that I do this during the lifts for the first couple)
  6. Keep the bar close to the body (that is slide the bar up along the shins and quads)
  7. Move the bar quickly (you will see that I am moving the bar slowly, ideally in a rack squat, the bar is moving quickly)
  8. Engage the glutes at the top range of the movement and avoid excessive lumbar extension (something that I am still learning)
  9. Keep the spine neutral throughout the movement pattern, head up

See a brief video below of myself performing the technique.  I am very much a beginner and have to learn and practice in order to master this exercise.


Accessory Exercises

Good Mornings

Focus:  Hamstring, Glute, Back

3 sets 6 reps

This exercise was performed to follow on from my previous week where the technique was poor.  This week I was much better at performing the movement pattern, with the focus on technique.

See an example of this exercise below.  This video was sourced from YouTube.



Glute/Ham Raise

Focus:  Hamstring and glute focus

3 sets 6 reps

Again, another new exercise that I have not performed before.  So the focus was on technique.  This is a great exercise for eccentrically training the hamstrings under load.  The key is to use the hamstrings and glutes, rather than the lumbar erector spinae.  The focus is on keeping the spine in neutral position throughout the movement. You will see an example of the exercise below.


Hanging Leg Raise

Focus:  Core

3 sets 6 reps

Cues:  Keep the upper arm parallel to the floor (pull the elbows down and in to engage the lats). Lift the knees up and lower slowly. A great core exercise.

See a video below sourced from YouTube.


Next week we are likely to look at strength and conditioning the upper body.  So I will give a review of the session performed.

Osteopath Heath Williams is owner and director of Principle Four Osteopathy, one of Melbourne City CBD 3000 leading Osteopathic clinics.  The clinic is located at 29 Somserset Place, Melbourne City CBD 3000.  Near the corner of Little Bourke & Elizabeth St.  To find out more about the clinic, go to www.principlefourosteopathy.com.

Osteopath Heath Williams has a special interest in sports injuries, corrective exercise and rehabilitation.  If you currently suffer from any sports injuries, overuse type injuries such as tendinopathies etc, please give a call to chat more.  Appointments can be made by calling 03 9670 9290 or booking online.