Video: This Strength Training Move from Adam Brayton's Coach Ticks all the Boxes

Feb 27, 2019
by Jonny Thompson  
Views: 17,756    Faves: 113    Comments: 1


We love bang-for-buck training and this movement ticks all the boxes - strength, agility, speed, power... the list goes on.

At Fit4Racing we have been training riders such as Adam Brayton, Jack Reading and Meg Whyte for some time, but in the background we have also been helping weekend warriors just like you improve their fitness for riding and racing. With combinations of specific movements and high-intensity training, it is possible to increase your on-bike performance dramatically with minimal time in the gym. Understandably not everyone wants to be in a gym, especially when they could be out riding, however, this exercise can be done anywhere and won't take much time at all. Try it for 3-4 weeks and see for yourself, you have nothing to lose and all of the gains to gain.

How to prepare for this movement:
- Warm up by increasing your heart rate and get the blood flowing with 5-10 minutes static bike, jogging or low impact movement.
- Perform 10 air squats followed by 10 front step lunges on each leg.
- Pay attention to any areas of tightness or pain, if in doubt do not continue and seek the opinion of a professional.
- Once you are happy you are ready, complete 1 set of 8-12 reps each leg on the floor before adding any height.
- Increase the height of the target appropriately for your ability.

How to make the most of it:
- If you ride on the weekends rest on Monday and perform this exercise on Tuesday or Wednesday each week for 3-4 weeks.
- Allocate 20-30 minutes to allow for sufficient warm-up, execution of the exercise and rest time between sets.
- Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps each of the sessions.
- Each week try to increase the height of the target, if you don't feel safe doing so increase the number of reps.

Added bonus:
While you are committed to this for 3-4 weeks it's a great time to add some core work also. Try 3-5 sets of side plank for as long as possible each side each time you train.

We are proud to be able to provide free information to riders of all levels. Riding your bike is amazing, we want to make it even more enjoyable by opening your eyes to other modalities of training, and in doing so, increase your on-bike performance, injury prevention and love for the sport.

Peace!

Jonny Thompson


MENTIONS: @fit4racing



64 Comments

  • + 108
 Blew my left knee out just watching this.
  • + 1
 WWWakiD?
  • + 2
 Left one? Intense! Right one? Byebye Ligament collaterale with the rotated position he's using!
  • + 56
 "for less stability, try a sandbag"

Somehow I can't imagine myself saying "you know what this exercise needs? Less stability"
  • + 1
 Smile
  • + 45
 "Pay attention to any areas of tightness or pain, if in doubt do not continue." If I paid attention to tightness, pain and doubt I'd never get out of bed.
  • + 15
 As someone who does a lot of inventive (and often strange) sport-specific exercises, I'm good with a fixed-foot version of this. But tying up the safety leg and dynamically side-hopping the front one leaves little room for error. Roll that ankle on the landing or partially miss the target object, and your ACL is probably going for a ride along with whatever primary injury you incur. There are just too many risks for the gain, in my opinion.
  • + 4
 Fair concern. I am definitely not the most agile nor precise, but I can tell you after having done this for 2 weeks in a row now that if you keep the step size within your abilities and your target large enough it is pretty hard to mess it up.
  • + 1
 @metareal: Agreed, this may look like it's fraught with danger but it's much safer than it looks and I've never seen anyone in a compromising position whilst performing this. I'll put a caveat on that statement by saying always work to your level, as in the video the suggestion is to start on the floor, if that is a challenge then stay there.
  • + 2
 Yea there doesn't seem to really be much added benefit to the little hop to the side. Its not enough of a side hop to really target the hip abductors or adductors, which is the reason why you would incorporate a side to side element in the first place.
  • + 4
 @sino428: remember that a big part of personal training/coaching is to "entertain the client"Wink . I would argue there is a bit of a proprioceptive element to incorporating the side to side but I would also agree with you in that probably everybody here would be better off skipping the minimal side to side movement so they learn to do the movement properly...and then adding extra weight for STRENGTH gains and/or height for POWER gains. Enough research has been done to disprove "instability" training (unless one is dealing with an injury and relearning proprioception) and shown it to be of little benefit (taking time from more beneficial and correct movements). To incorporate a lateral/side-side component...lateral lunges FTW.
  • + 1
 @robnow: Yea there are a ton of great way to really incorporate those lateral hip movements, which really are a weak point for many people. And the whole "instability" thing never made any sense to me. You definitely need to work your stabilizer muscles, but you do that by incorporating certain variations of exercises you are doing. Simply standing on a shakey surface while doing other random workouts is just going to make your ankle tired and likely diminish your ability to actually perform (and benefit from) the movement you are doing on the first place.
  • + 15
 I'm on Johnny's program and did this exercise as part of last week's training. It is a killer exercise, I felt I was working exactly the right muscles and movements used when descending hard on the the bike! Bang for buck is the right word here.
  • + 4
 I am too, but it's part of this week's program for myself (#enduro program). This will be my third season with Jonny, the last two yielding my best seasons, winning the overall series in my category on both occasions. If you're serious about performance, this is the way to go!
  • + 3
 @Hellchops: I did the first day of training of the week today and yes, I also have it this week! I have to admit that coming from a more "traditional" strength focused and longer term program I was a bit skeptical (as well as absolutely smashed) at first. But I gave it some time and now after 6 weeks I can see that I am a lot less fatigued when on the bike on bigger rides. Great to hear it helped you achieve your results!
  • + 9
 The risk v reward of this exercise is heavily weighted towards 'yeah nah'! 'Movement variety' shouldn't come at the sake of 'mastering the basics' and 'safe progressive overload'. The purpose of gym work for any sport, including mountain biking is General Physical Prep. It is a waist of time trying to do sports specific exercises in gym. The best sports specific exercise to improve sustained single leg power on the bike in a realistic and similar sport specific movement, position and stability is....... riding your bike! Your focus in the gym should be to improve general full body Strength & Power. What is shown in this exercise is how you can take a good fundamental one legged power based exercise (a single leg hop), decide it's not sexy or complicated enough to post on insta/youtube etc and wreck it by adding a jump up onto a box plus a side to side lateral movement and some more instability with a sandbag... WTF? 99% of the population would be better served by so many other simpler, less risky variations and basic programming. I know it doesn't make for great social media videos but it works...
  • + 4
 I agree this movement is in the realms of visually exciting however, the legitimacy of it for training is THE only reason we prescribe it to our riders. This movement makes up a small proportion of our holistic training approach but guys on PB who have never trained and want to try a single movement may find great benefits in it. If you can replicate the deceleration properties and change of direction at speed consistently enough to by riding your bike that's great, but I bet that would come at much higher risk and be much less quantifiable for progressions and consistent improvement. The gym serves to improve performance under control and I agree that General Physical Preparation based on solid foundational movements is the key as a starting point but to contradict you, this is exactly why the gym is essential for sports specific training - by focusing on areas we know will improve on-bike performance and fill in any deficits to ensure the rider is well rounded and athletic, which benefits riding and helps prevent injury... General Physical BIKE Preparation if you will.
  • + 3
 @fit4racing: As coaches, we can come up with a million different variations or combinations of exercises to make something more difficult or provide 'variation' but the guideline I give or ask my coaches is 'explain to me why it's better in terms of ability to learn, ability to coach and ability to improve GPP of the athlete'. Explain to me why this would be better than a heavy forward lunge, a heavy RFESS, a box jump, a broad jump, a drop jump, a depth jump, a single split squat jump, a lateral single leg jump & stick? So much variety and options in those movements alone that I would recommend ahead of the shown exercise and that's before you even consider programming of reps and sets for progression and overload as well as proper patterning/learning and strength building phases before moving onto power/plyometrics. I can understand the wanting to improving absorption of force/deceleration but change of direction is almost non existent in cycling/mtb so wouldn't sell an exercise on improving that. 'People on PB who have never trained before' are the exact people I wouldn't recommend this advanced movement to!! Advanced athletes with very good movement and coordination could maybe benefit from this but there is soooo much lower hanging fruit for the person who has never trained S&C before which they should be addressing before trying this. Just my thoughts though.
  • + 9
 Might as well just hit the fest jumps blindfolded, mobility is not in my repertoire
  • + 4
 Not sure about all the 40+ comments, I'm a few years the wrong side, and train at Jonny's Cumbria crossfit gym. I added this move to my workout this morning - just built it up using Jonnys advice, floor first then onto a 10kg plate, then a 20kg plate then a low box. All good and gets them legs burning - get on it!
  • + 3
 Nice video and I like the idea of this exercise.
For those with shot knees you can protect them by starting with single leg step ups onto around 20", come down as slow as you can. Then add a rear leg extension and front leg extension in for stability and glute engagement (my go to exercise every morning to help my shot knee, been operated on once already)
Being a badminton player this would also benefit lunges at the net.
  • + 1
 Some good advice on squatting exercises from JC.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBow4lXmTpc
  • + 2
 Thanks. Looks like good one to try. Seems like too many of the exercises offered on PB focus too little on explosive power and too much on balance, agility, flexibility. While the latter are super important I find I get those while doing the sport/sports. This particular exercise does seem like it would do well and hit everything. Thanks again.
  • + 1
 What would you recommend as a minimum squat weight ability for someone to be able to do this?
It's pretty hardcore and definitely not for everyone.
If you want less stability put your hands behind your head, it raises your centre of gravity and switches off your butt a little, so you get more quads having to stabilise the knee.
  • + 3
 You should be able to squat 19 before you try this.
  • + 1
 My guess is you should be able to do 8-12 lunges with your leg up on a bench.
  • + 1
 It's difficult to say a minimum squat weight because this is a dynamic movement with other factors at play than absolute strength. I would suggest lunges without a jump to start, if you can complete those safely then progress to leaving the ground very slightly, continue this process until you are happy with the height (if any) you are performing the movement at.
  • + 3
 Yep. I am of the 40 variety, and that dick box exercise would fuck my knees up. If i was younger though, I would do the dick box exercise.
  • + 2
 Same here - 45 in a month and just watching that and my knees hurt and would get totally f***ed up if I tried. I have to be super-careful with lunges and squats. A shame though, looks kind of fun and I can see the benefits/
  • + 5
 I am 55 years old. I have had a history of knee problems and gradually resolved this by doing proper squats and leg presses. I will test out this exercise by following the progressions suggested. As we get older it is tempting to find reasons why we "can't" do some things - I have decided to push myself a little harder, and it turns out I can keep up with a lot of the riders in their 20's and 30's because I am pushing myself - it just takes a little more effort in my training.
  • + 1
 @bcbikeman: and some of us have knees that scissor like mine & we stay away from these after the 2nd knee surgery brought on by progressing back up the dynamic movement ladder of "destined to fold" bum knee stuff.

I have powerful joints but blew my knee out violently a few decades back. Irony being that I could do this exercise with the other leg all day every day.

The bad knee...it folds kn my sleep practically. heh
  • + 2
 Did this excercise as a part of Jonny´s plan and the only thing that got hurt was my butt (for some strange reason). My eyes however are hurting unbearably from reading some of these comments.
  • + 4
 I was thinking of tearing my acl to match my torn labrum, this looks like just the trick.
  • + 1
 One piece of advice not spelled out is the position your legs should be while performing this exercise. Especially if you have knee issues, keep your knee in line with your ankle. Don't let it drift forward and get in front of your foot....this is when your knee is at a bent, weight supporting position during the exercise.
  • + 1
 Agreed, sometimes even get the ankle ahead of the knee to give the knee support in the direction of the force and not just straight up and down.
  • + 1
 The important thing here is weight distribution on your foot as an indicator. Your knee can go forward safely, just not past your toes as a guideline.
  • + 1
 There is often conflicting advice on knee safety and angles when performing squats and lunges. In this case the additional tension on the knee may be increased by the dynamic nature of the movement. If you have patellar tendonitis, which is a common area for knee pain, it may well help by reducing the angle of the knee to 90 or less however, tight quads are often the cause and simply reducing range is a temporary fix, a more holistic approach to the problem may help. This is of course a generalisation and each case should be considered individually, especially when more complex issues and injuries are at play. If in doubt, seek in-person professional advice.
  • + 2
 Physios are there for that independent advice.
I was surprised though when speaking to a Physio that they did not really consider hip alignment or sleeping position...
www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbe_DqMJfzg

Biggest change for me personally has been moving to a basic 4 leg chair at work from a fancy one and changing from bucket seats to normal seats in my car. I commute for 1.5 hours a day and sit at work for probably 7 hours a day. My knee is still shot but the levels of pain and ROM have increased dramatically.

I do know that lots of training and not enough stretching has my quads tight, so I need to work on that.
Every day is a school day when it comes to injuries and recovery and any tip to try safely is a massive bonus.
  • + 1
 @WestwardHo: as I said, "as a guideline." You're more likely to be aligned more effectively if you are paying attention to not going past your toes.
  • + 1
 That's great but that "guideline" is wrong. You should read the article I posted.
  • + 4
 Those gesticulations were intense!
  • + 2
 Looks interesting but in my point of view the right Leg on the bench is not well positioned and may force The knee ligaments. Cheers.
  • + 4
 If you’re 40+, that looks like a knee killer.
  • + 2
 Find what works for you and go for it. I recon having person centred programmes that are built around your needs work really well other drawing on what others are doing.
  • + 2
 Is it me or does it seem like some of these guys. Create a movement just to try a out do what another trainer has shown.
  • + 1
 It may seem this way however, movement variety is important in any training program to elicit the desired adaption. In simple terms, if you do the same movements the effect you got initially will reduce over time. I'm not saying do something different just for the sake of it, the point is to keep everything you are doing purposeful, and the purpose being bike performance here.
  • + 1
 Looks like you could tweak your knees pretty easily. Aside from the hip mobility, you could probably get an equally good workout smashing out laps at your local pumptrack..
  • + 1
 Or someone could just do jumping lunges, Bulgarian split squats and box jumps. No need to make one movement so complex and combine everything into one.
  • + 3
 First move looks more risky than hitting crab apples blind.
  • + 1
 Haha...Serious Coach is Serious. Lighten up Buddy.(for deleting the funnies)
  • + 1
 Haha! Next time brother.
  • + 2
 @fit4racing: It's part of the PB experience...part of it's DNA at this point... Wink
  • + 1
 I’m just here waiting for Waki to tell us all how strong and smart he is...
  • + 2
 I bought an ebike so I dont have to do this sort of nonsense.
  • + 1
 I’m gonna give this a go but chances are I’ll go straight in with the 20” box and embarrass myself!
  • + 2
 Jumping bulgarian split squats!? Now i've seen it all....
  • + 4
 Just said the same thing. People these days are just randomly combining things that aren't necessary to try to separate themselves.
  • + 1
 I know I will try this out the next time I hit the gym!
  • + 2
 See ya later, shins.
  • + 1
 You got like three feet of air that time. Can I try it real quick?
  • + 2
 *paging Dr WAKI...
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