- Jacob had no gym experience and was frustrated by consecutive injuries that were hindering him from completing a full season of racing. Read on to find out how he medalled in the Open Nationals for 110m hurdles at only 19 years of age.
- Initial – No gym experience, struggled with consecutive injuries in previous track seasons
- Stage 2 – Perfected his technique for key lifts such as deadlifts, front squats and power cleans, increasing the weight lifted very gradually over a 6 month period, focusing on glute and hamstring strength, stability as well as overall mobility
- Stage 3 – Lifting heavy with excellent form, remaining injury free and really noticing the strength gains in the drive phase of his hurdles
- Next Goals – Represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games 2018
Jacob Before Clean Shred
Despite being an Australian representative athlete, Jacob had never set foot in a gym before. His impressive performances on the track were due to sheer technique over the hurdles. He was feeling pretty disheartened after having one injury after the next sabotaging season after season. He had suffered from some serious injuries including stress fractures in his foot and lower back. These injuries had required significant amounts of time off from training leaving him feeling very frustrated.
In order to keep Jacob injury-proof for a whole season, we identified his physical weaknesses and individualised his program to target those specific areas.
- Weak Posterior Chain
Jacob really struggled with glute activation and lacked strength through his rear chain including glutes and hamstrings.
- Solution – We incorporated banded glute activation exercises into his program such as glute bridges, single leg bridges, clams and crab walks. We also incorporated bodyweighted hamstring bridges. Some of these exercises Jacob has even added to his warm up at the track pre-training and racing. In addition to this, we did weighted exercises such as deadlifts with perfect technique to strengthen the posterior chain.
- Previous Stress Fracture in Back
With this type of injury we had to ensure the lower back was not overloaded, or that the areas around the back in particular hips, glutes, hamstrings and quads did not become too tight.
- Solution – Along with all the mobility exercises we programmed for Jacob such as work walks, couch stretch and 90 / 90 drill, we increased the weights he was lifting gradually. We also ensured the program was varied so as not to always target the same muscle groups, for example alternating between trap bar deadlifts, conventional deadlifts and sumo deadlifts from week to week, and of course ensuring Jacob’s technique was really solid was another vital component of keeping his back feeling good.
- Previous Stress Fracture in Foot
There were certain activities we had to avoid or limit the frequency of in order not to overload his foot, however with sensible programming we have now been able to incorporate the things without any issues.
- Solution – Activities such as box jumps and skipping were avoided if Jacob was experiencing any pain in his foot, or if he had a particularly higher load and intensity at sprints/hurdles training that week. Importantly, we ensured he kept on top of maintaining his lower limb mobility in the calves and feet. We performed intrinsic foot exercises and banded calf stretches as well as getting regular physio treatment.
Jacob has made massive improvements to his strength, power, stability and mobility. In particular, his glute strength has given him greater stability for single-leg exercises and functional movements. This has transfered into his hurdling. Some of the improvements he’s made this past 12 months are listed below:
- 105cm → 127.5cm single leg box jump
- Never having done power cleans → 95kg 1RM power clean
- 80kg → 100kg 1RM front squat
- 95kg → 115kg 2RM deadlift
- Medalled at Open Nationals at 19 years of age in 110m hurdles
- Aiming to secure his place in the Australian 2018 Commonwealth Games team in February