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Jump Higher, Run Faster: Phase 1

FIRE

If you want to accelerate quickly, jump higher, run faster, or build explosive power and speed, the regular gym routine just won’t cut it. To fully tap into your athletic potential, all your muscles must be trained to fire quickly and in harmony. Check out the first the first blog of this series or start the book Jump Attack by Tim S. Grover for more context before starting phase 1; these will give you the information you need to understand where FIRE fits into the workout plan and to the blog series as a whole. But if you’re ready to get started TODAY, read through this post to understand the 3 goals of Phase 1, FIRE. At the end you’ll find the first workout plan!

Ready to get started?! Let’s JUMP into Phase 1

Or, go straight to the workout plan→

PHASE 1

During the first phase, you will be preparing your muscles to fire during athletic movements AND they will feel like they are on fire because you will be performing a lot of “holds” (starting to get where the name of this phase comes from?).

During the 3 weeks of this phase, because of the structure of the plan you will be elongating your muscles and teaching them to fire in the correct sequence. It also prepares your ligaments and tendons for high-impact exercise, which will be in the next 2 phases. These exercises prepare you to jump properly, with your WHOLE body and with power and balance.

The reason these exercises are so effective at building explosive power compared to your regular gym routine is because they are performed in a very specific sequence, which must be followed in order! Each sequence has 3 parts:

1) a pre-exhaustion move to fatigue certain muscles and loosen the hips
2) a combination of different muscular contractions and plyometric moves and,
3) a stretch

No matter what, DO NOT skip any of these phases, or any of the exercises in each phase. While one may look cooler or more fun than the other, or it may seem tedious to do some of the exercises, each phase/exercise is in a specific order so

A) you do not hurt yourself
B) you get the maximum benefit from the plan and,
C) you work WITH your body instead of AGAINST it

how to run faster and be a more explosive athlete

1

Pre-Exhaustion

Just remember as you go through this, if you skip anything you will not get the results you want. To target certain muscles, it is better to isolate them by pre-exhausting them, so they must work harder during the exercises that follow. For example, after sitting for a long time (aka a day at work) it’s hard to activate the glutes and work them for explosiveness, so we will pre-exhaust those first. By pre-exhausting the glutes, you will be able to activate them during the exercises and the primary muscles of the jump (quads/hamstrings) will work even harder during the exercises.

The now activated glutes will also be working to full capacity during the exercise, as opposed to an underactive glute which will not get the full benefit from the workout. Since explosive glutes are crucial to athletic movements, you will be doing exercises that isolate them before almost every sequence. Get used to doing a lot of glute bridges and fire hydrants! After your 1000th glute bridge in this phase, you’re probably going to ask, “why another one?” The reason is simple; it strengthens your glutes and loosens your hips. Every time you jump or run, your hip flexors tighten up. Guess what else tightens hip flexors? Sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day. Doing all these exercises will continue to keep your hips flexible and explosive.

glute bridges isometric exercises pre exhaustion

2

Combination Exercises

After the pre-exhausting, you will notice almost every sequence has a combination of 2 specific exercises, one using weights and one using jumps. They are in a combination because together they train your muscles to get stronger, and they teach your muscles what they’re getting stronger for. For example, when you just squat what do you train your body to get better at? Squatting! When you pair a squat with a plyometric exercise, the muscles you just trained also learn what they’re supposed to do.

This will also teach your body to make not just 1 big vertical jump, instead it teaches your body to make multiple explosive jumps in any direction at any time. It helps remove the “thud” from your landings, and instead helps your jumps be more like a bouncy ball where you can rebound immediately every time. Just remember that EVERY muscle in your body is important to achieve this, not just your leg muscles.

combination exercises strength and plyometric workout to run faster

3

Stretching

The sequence will then finish with a stretch. According to Grover, each stretch should be held for 1 rep of 30 seconds. I have found great results from holding each stretch for 5 second intervals, with short pauses in between, all the way up to 30 seconds. The stretch works to help your muscles further elongate, which in turn helps them behave like nice, long rubber bands.

We want to make your muscles behave like long rubber bands because it will allow them to create much more explosive movements! Think about when you snap a rubber band. If you only pull it a little bit (or short) you will get a small snap. If you pull it far (or long) you will get a loud, big snap. Long muscles create a big explosive movement, whereas short muscles create a smaller, less explosive movement.

the importance of stretching for athletes to jump higher

THE WORKOUT

Below are listed JUST 1 of the 5 sequences of the FIRE phase, as well as the Total Body workout. The 5 sequences/Total Body workout are done for 3 weeks, with 4 workout days per week. Sequences 1-5 are completed Monday/Thursday, the Total Body workout Tuesday/Friday. Wednesdays and weekends are rest/recovery days. When I have done this workout plan, I have taken Wednesday as a rest/recovery day but did some sort of easy cardio on the weekend (beach run with dog, short hike, walk, etc.).

I advise seeking professional advice before starting this plan from a trainer or strength coach, where you will learn what you should be looking for and feeling throughout each exercise. Even if you get the book, that doesn’t give you the knowledge to know if you’re doing everything right. Your trainer will also be able to advise if you should be resting for all rest days in the plan or getting in an extra workout on the weekend. Let me know if you get the book Jump Attack next time you’re at Iron Orr Fitness and I will be more than happy to help you with a few of the sequences! Keep an eye out for the next phase of the plan, FORCE in my next blog!

SEQUENCE 1 (Monday & Thursday)

Pre-exhaust circuit

perform first, do only 1 set

▢ Fire Hydrants 1 x 10 reps each
▢ Kickbacks 1 x 10 reps each
▢ Circles 1 x 10 reps each way

Combo 1

alternate sets of holds and pumps. The pumps are done immediately after the holds with minimal rest. Rest up to 2 minutes between sets. Repeat 3 times before stretch.

▢ Tiptoe Squat Hold x 3 sets
▢ Tiptoe Squat Pump x 3 sets

Week 1: 60 seconds hold, then 15 reps pump
Week 2: 90 seconds hold, then 10 reps pump
Week 3: 120 seconds hold, then 5 reps pump

Stretch

Can be done in 1 set, or 6 sets of 5 seconds

▢ Hip Flexor Stretch x 30 seconds

TOTAL BODY WORKOUT (Tuesday & Friday)

Note: The total body workouts are not done in sequences, just combos. No pre-exhaustion circuit or stretch after. Each combo is done for 3 sets.

Week 1 hold for 30 seconds. Week 2 hold for 60 seconds. Week 3 hold for 90 seconds.

Combo 1: 3 sets

▢ Push Up Hold
▢ Pull Up Hold

Combo 2: 3 sets

▢ Overhead Hold
▢ Bicep Hold

Combo 3: 3 sets

▢ Triceps Push Up Hold
▢ Frog Plank Hold

Combo 4: 3 sets

▢ Side Plank Hold

Remember, the entire program is comprised of 5 sequences, not just 1! Check out Jump Attack by Tim Grover or reach out to Mark by clicking his name below for the complete the program.

Ready to Start YOUR Fire Phase with a Professional Personal Trainer?

Reach out to Mark at Iron Orr Fitness to take your athleticism to great heights🔥

by Mark Lambson

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