Ashley Jones has just completed his 30th pre-season in professional sport. He has worked across three professional sports on four continents and currently plies his trade in Major League Rugby (MLR) with the Houston Sabercats as their Head of Performance.
To expand upon the exercise selection chart discussion from last month, these training options form the basis of my decision-making and conversations with players as to what they need to focus on over the next four to six weeks in their gym sessions.
Poliquin, Thibadeau, and Schoenfeld, among many other writers and researchers, have popularized this method—performing multiple training sessions within a day. Here's how I set this up for my players within a three-day split program.
In my fifties, I started to experience knee pain during and after Olympic lifts, squats, and deadlifts. After a career full of lifting and contact sports, my options were anti-inflammatory medication and gels, surgery, braces, ABI, and PRP. Here's what helped me.
This is the first-week break-in program that I will put in place. I will also keep some players on this three-day-a-week programming based on needs-based discussions with the playing group upon their return and what other work-ons they have from a physical and skills perspective.
The program within is called One Big, One Small—there is one major movement, and a secondary movement supports this major movement. It can be used by anyone irrespective of sport or training goal to improve performance or get bigger and stronger.
I believe that the individualization of programming in team sports is the real holy grail of strength and conditioning. The application of the 3x3 programming matrix will ensure that each player will have the best opportunity to improve in the areas of dire need.
I write this after fielding many questions during this COVID-19 lockdown period from young strength and conditioning coaches who have either lost their jobs or are at a crossroads of confidence. In some 30 years, I've had 17 strength and conditioning jobs...
In designing programs for my players, I discuss with the player, the medical staff, and the coaching staff the areas they see as major ones to work on. All 10 programs are based on the emphasis given to each of the three key areas of weight room programming: neural, mechanical, and metabolic.
Running sports are tangential in nature, so in order to optimize transfer from the weight room to the field, both vertical and horizontal movements need to be considered. To this end, the program I am going to outline will look at elements of training to ensure all bases are covered.
A third-year sports coaching strength and conditioning major told me he had learned more about exercise technique in two 10-minute sessions under my instruction than he had over the entirety of his degree to that point. How can we ensure these students are getting the best education?
I firmly believe you have to start at the simplest movement that someone can master correctly, and then, over time, progress from that simple movement to the more complex movements. The process is one of progressive skill acquisition.
I am seeing that the specific injuries that are inherent in rugby need a modified program that’s not using traditional training equipment to get results, so here are 7 of my non-traditional tools of the trade.
I am currently working as a consultant for a pro rugby team, and I was asked about the type of player I would require moving into a pro team. Fair warning: What I wrote here may be considered heretical in the strength and conditioning world...
In January 2017, Marc Keys and I embarked upon a labor of love to develop a questionnaire investigating what the various groups of people who make up the rugby industry think are the key elements of the physical preparation of the rugby player. Here are the results.
A few years ago, I attempted to bring 4 strength sports together into a training plan for rugby. This time, I want to delve deeper into the framework that makes up the programming of these sports and how we can program them into a usable athletic development plan.
For Ashley Jones, being at the S5 Compound is like being a kid in a candy store, meaning he needs some moderation. Rather than use all of the equipment, Ashley shows off his top-5 pieces of equipment that should be in every strength and conditioning program for rugby.
After resigning from my last position, I thought it was an opportune time to reflect on the situation and hopefully, a time for me to assist you in the process of finding your next gig. Best of luck in your job hunt!
According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of results come from 20% of your time. Ocham's Razor states the simplest solution tends to be the best one. Simplicity is the missing ingredient in most training programs. Hence why I return to the famous paradigm of the pull-push-squat.
I believe the most important role of a strength and conditioning coach is to create programs that minimize the risk of injury. Armed with knowledge from a study on rugby injuries, I wrote a program that focuses on strengthening injury-prone areas. Here's what I came up with.
I started my career as a strength and conditioning coach nearly 40 years ago. Throughout those 40 or so years, I picked up and learned a lot from other people. I tried to name as many of these people and their ideas as possible, so here it is, in an easy-to-read ABCs format.
The people have spoken, and I have answered. After receiving plenty of emails and comments about my last article, I decided to create and share a complete program based on The Simplicity Programming Project.
By simplicity, I am referring to a minimalist approach to the programming of weight training by getting a maximum effect for the fewest number of exercises by utilizing a full body program performed three days a week. I want to challenge you all to give this a try for a period of no less than six weeks.
I firmly believe you have to start at the simplest movement that you can master correctly and then over time progress from the simple to the more complex movements. Download my basic outline with notes included here.
The program I am currently running features the CARE program in a new format that I feel better allows the player to get a workout in without going too deep in the RPE continuum, especially if he or she is coming from a unit or a team session.
What I outline in this article is the third generation of this style of programming, taken through the furnace of professional rugby and modified accordingly to fit specific needs of the playing group I now work with.
Doing an extraordinary job in your present position does not guarantee you immunity to the inevitable changes that take place with funding cuts, administration changes, or coaches moving on. Are you prepared to find a new position?
Neck training can be done with isometric or range of motion exercises, performed self-administered, working with a partner, or with equipment. I've recently begun to trial a new device to take this training even further.
This model sequences weight training and skills, with the weight training acting as a neural primer before moving to skill work and then bringing the players back to the weight room to complete the lower body session.
Appearing as special guest for episode 13, Ashley joined the podcast to discuss his career, the knowledge he has gained through his experience in the industry, and the lessons he has found most valuable for training and coaching athletes.
This compilation of training sessions is drawn from the minds of many great coaches, and includes initial and periodic testing to ensure intensity and distance per session challenge the metabolic systems of the athletes.
Many programs say they individualize, but in reality very few do it well. This is why I borrowed the Quadrant Management System from business and redeveloped it to meet my requirements for programming in team sports.
I have been a huge believer in Intensity Number of Lifts (INOL) to develop programs that are achievable and that follow a sensible loading pattern over time, but I've recently made some important changes.
How we are judged is out of our hands in a lot of ways, but if I adhere to my processes and don't compromise my principles, morals, or values, then I can honestly say that I have been successful in my role as a strength and conditioning coach.
We should not ask how much volume and intensity of training a player can tolerate, but should instead ask how much volume and intensity of training a player needs to excel at their sport with minimal risk of injury.
I'm sharing with you the actual manual that I gave my professional athletes prior to departing for their one-month break. This covers all the athletes' needs for staying in shape for the rigors of pre-season training.