I am forever searching for new ideas and refining my programming concepts. It has been a career-long search to try and bring all the elements of performance and injury prevention into a manageable and doable program. I want to share with you where my search has taken me with this latest idea, which takes liberally from the work of the greatest mind in strength training, Louie Simmons.

The three-day-a-week full body program is the most productive in team sports preparation. Using this program, the athletes will get three exposures to a range of movements with adequate recovery to ensure they can give a full effort every time they enter the weight room. 

I also like to separate the performance side of training from the injury prevention aspects, partly because players have often seen the injury prevention aspect as "tacked onto the end of the real stuff." 

RECENT: The Coaching Process

By having double-day training, athletes can benefit from reduced training time. Both sessions are under the hour and conducive for positive hormonal changes. The AM program focuses on intensity, testosterone stimulation, and strength/power, while the PM program focuses on volume, growth hormone stimulation, hypertrophy, and injury prevention.

Now, let's look into the two programs for each of the three training days per week. I use either a single movement, a superset, or a tri-set of movements on the velocity end of the force-velocity curve as a neural stimulus for the maximal force work to follow. 

Initially, I will have players go through a movement preparation session. I prefer athletic hurdles, with the players working through a series of walkovers and unders.

If you have access to an indoor track, here's a great tri-set sequence to perform: Split Power Snatch (or Banded Step Ups), Split Drop Jumps, and 10-meter Acceleration Sprints. Keep the reps low (three to five) and perform three sets in total. 

The next component of the AM performance program is using a maximal effort lower body movement. I like to have the players work through a different option and plane of movement each time they train. 

For example: 

Intensity is key. As a snapshot for sets and reps, it may be:

  • 3x3 @ 90+%
  • Reps in the 1–6 range
  • Sets in the 3–8 range

The final movement in the AM program is a maximal effort upper body push, and the training paradigms are the same as the previous lower body movements. I also like to work through various movements and not stick to the same plane. Therefore, I use a different press variations each session.

For example:

  • Session 1: Bench Press
  • Session 2: Overhead Press
  • Session 3: Incline Bench Press

Sets and reps will be the same as for the lower body. In the past, I have paired an upper body push with an upper body pull movement, but now I think that the pull movement is best trained with different reps in the hypertrophy zone of training. This is why the upper body pull movement selection is in the PM training. Feel free to include a pull movement in the AM if this suits your training philosophy.

My other internal debate about the AM exercise selection was related to using a specific hamstring exercise. I decided again to move this to the PM program since I did not want to compromise running performance and potentially increase the risk of injury. 

AM Performance Program

  • 1 x Starting Strength/Speed Strength movement as a primer (potential for tri-set)
  • 1 x Strength Speed/Max Force Lower Body movement (Squat, Deadlift, Olympic variations, or Prowler®)
  • 1 x Strength Speed/Max Force Upper Body Push

Starting Strength / Speed Strength options >1.0 m/secStrength Speed/Maximal Force Lower Body (0.3 – 0.8 m/sec)Strength Speed/Maximal Force Upper Body Push (0.3 – 0.8 m/sce)
10m AccelerationsSquat variationsBench Press variations
Lower Body Plyometric/Jump options from listDeadlift variationsIncline Bench Press variations
Hang or Block Power Snatch, Clean or Pull/ShrugsHeavy Prowler® PushOverhead Press variations
MB Throw variations from listPower Clean/Snatch/Pull variationsDips
KB SwingsGood Morning variationsFloor Press variations

Here is an example of what an AM session looks like:

Movement Prep

  • High Hurdles: Forward and backward + Lateral Under and Overs
  • 3-Way Lunge: Forward, backward, and lateral with a slosh bag
  • Primer: 3 times through the following
  • Med Ball Scoop Toss 3x5
  • Split Hang Power Snatch 3x4 (2 each leg)
  • 10-meter sprint

Maximal Force (Lower Body)

Safety Bar Box Squat 3 x 3 @ 90+%

Maximal Force (Upper Body)

Swiss Bar Military Press 3 x 5 @ 80+%

The PM session will be conducted approximately six hours after the AM session. I like to program this session as a series of Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) circuits to minimize rest periods and get a larger volume of work done in the allocated time. Emphasis is placed on areas of importance for each player individually, but there will also be some mandated movements to ensure overall protection from the game they play. Bryan Mann has said, "the best ability is availability." Louie Simmons has said, "Prehab means less rehab." These two quotes form the key to this PM programming.

PM CARE Program

NeckThoracic/Scapular/ TrapsRotator CuffLats/RhomboidsUnilateral UB PushUnilateral UB PullGrip
Banded Look AwayFace PullsIncline Y, T, I’sPulldowns/ChinsOne Arm DB Bench PressOne Arm DB RowCaptain’s Of Crush Grippers
Iron Neck SeriesTurkish RowCuban PressSeal Row/Bench PullKB Z PressSeated DB One Arm SnatchTowel/Rope Chins
Joe Kenn SeriesScap. Protraction/ RetractionCable Int/Ext RotationSeated RowJavelin PressLandmine Kroc RowsBucket of Rice
Plate Flex/ExtScap Push UpsDB L RaiseYates RowOne Arm DB Shoulder PressOne Arm Seated RowRogue Chin Attachments
Wrestler’s Bridge Plank seriesIncline T RaiseTRX Leaning Shoulder PressPendlay RowHalf Kneeling Landmine PressOne Arm PulldownThick Bar Chins
Groin/HipsKneeHamstringUnilateral Squat/HingeCalisthenic/ GymnasticCore/Loaded CarryAnkle/Foot
Lateral Sled WalkReverse NordicPull ThroughsSprinter’s Squat/Natera 2up, 1down LandmineDips/Chinese Back PlanksRollouts Farmer’s WalkSingle Leg Standing Calf raise
Copenhagen PlanksPoliquin Step UpNordics/GHGTelemark Squats/Single Leg Landmine or KB RDLHandstand Push Ups/Ring ChinsHanging Leg Raises Sandbag CarrySeated Calf Raise
Lateral Lunge/Cossack SquatSingle Leg Squat to BoxReverse Hyper®TRX Skater Squat/High Jump Step UpPush Up/Fat Man ChinsDB Swiss Ball Sit Ups Waiter’s WalkSkipping/Hops
Yoga Series Salute the SunTerminal Leg Extensions (VMO)Hamstring Sliders Askling ProtocolSkier’s Squat/Single Leg Back Extension with Iso HoldRing Dips/Ring ChinsPallov Press Suitcase CarryBand Inversion/Eversion
Banded Clams/Monster Walk/Crab WalkLow Box Step UpsHarrop HamstringKang RFESS/Single Leg Glute BridgeHindu Push Up/ Banded Sternum ChinsKB Windmills Combo Waiter/SuitcaseToe Yoga/Intrinsic Foot series

An example of the sessions for this session are:

  • PHA 1 – Salute the Sun, KB Z Press, Skier's Squat/Single Leg Back Extension with Iso Hold, Bench Pull
  • PHA 2 - Joe Kenn Neck Series, Harrop Hamstring, Hindu Push Up/Banded Sternum Chins, TRX Leaning Shoulder Press
  • PHA 3 – Poliquin Step Ups, Landmine Kroc Rows, Hanging Leg Raises, Single Leg Standing Calf raise, Rope Chins
  • PHA 4 – Nordics, One Arm DB Bench Press, Copenhagen Plank, Cable Face Pulls + External Rotation
  • PHA 5 - Sprinter's Squat/Natera 2up, 1down Landmine, Dips/Chinese Back Planks, Wrestler's Bridge Plank series

Each PHA circuit will be for 3-5 minutes each, with a 1.5-2.5 minute recovery between new circuits. Reps will be in the 8-15 range, emphasizing "feeling the muscle." There is a controlled tempo on both the concentric and eccentric phases. All reps are controlled; a set is never taken to concentric failure but to technical failure.

Following the CARE component, players will do either a body part specific hypertrophy session or a General Physical Preparation (GPP) session consisting of 15-20 minutes of sleds/Prowler®, medicine ball throws, and loaded carries. Examples are included in the table below.

GPP, Plyometrics/Jumps, Sleds & Prowlers®, Med Ball & Loaded Carries

Lower Body Plyometrics/JumpsGPP, Sleds & Prowlers®Medicine Ball ThrowsLoaded Carries
Box Jumps/HopsForward Sled walkRotational (Diagonal) ThrowFarmer’s Walk
Depth JumpsBackward Sled walkOverhead ThrowSuitcase Carry
Knees to Feet Jump variationsLateral Sled WalkForward ThrowZercher Carry
Lateral Bench Blasts (crossover)Prowler® PushScoop ThrowCross Body Carry
Standing Long JumpProwler® PullShot Put ThrowStone Carry
Hurdle Jumps/HopsUpper Body Sled seriesChest PassWaiter’s Walk
Borzov HopsUpper Body Ladder DrillsMB DropsSandbag Carry
Ice SkaterKB Swings variations½ Kneeling Side TossTyre Flip
Lateral JumpsWheel Barrow WalksRotational (Horizontal) ThrowCombination Carry

Hypertrophy Body Part Finishers as required

Quadzilla/WowstringsPectoral PunishmentBig Back ManiacBoulder ShouldersArm Race
1a. KB Goblet Squats 1b. KB Reverse LungesTriple Drop Incline DB Bench Press (45/30/15)1. Bentover Row
2. Yates Row 3. Shrugs
1a. Javelin Press
1b. Cuban Press
1c. DB Lateral Raises
1a. Matrix EZ Barbell Curl
1b. Triceps Death Board Presses                       
1a. Front Squat
1b. Back Squat
Eccentric Overload Incline or Flat Bench Press 3 – 5 reps @ 110% with 5 second eccentric, strip weight and perform concentric as fast as possible from a dead stop, 3 – 5 sets, after last set perform drop sets at 80% and 60% for maximum reps1a. Muscle Snatch from Hang
1b. Overhead Shrug
Plate Series
1a. Plate Front Raise
1b. Plate Figure of 8’s 1c. Plate Side-to-Side Shoulder Press  
1a. Seated DB Hammer Curls with 5 sec Iso hold at mid-range
1b. Swiss Bar JM Presses
1a. Leg Extension
1b. Leg Press
1c. Back Squat
Mechanical Advantage Push Ups: Feet Elevated, Normal, Hands ElevatedMechanical Advantage Chins: Wide Pronated, Neutral Grip, Close Supinated1a. Seated Muscle Snatch 1b. Snatch Grip Press Behind Neck                1a. Seated DB Hammer Curls with 5 sec Iso hold at mid-range
1b. Swiss Bar JM Presses
1a. Natera Landmine RDL
1b. Banded Good Morning
Push Up Drop Set with Plates or ChainsChin up Drop Set using bands3-Way Shoulder Raise Lateral, Front, Bent-over1a. DB Twist Curls
1b. Low Incline Tate Presses
1a. Single Leg Back Extension
1b. Bosch Iso Hold for time
1a. DB Low Incline Flys
1b. DB Low Incline Press
1a. Turkish Row
1b. One Arm Row
1c. DB Renegade Row
1a. Cable Face Pull + Ext.
1b. Plate Bus Driver
1c. Plate Head Circles
1a. EZ Bar Curls
1b. Rope Push Downs
1a. Harop Curl
1b. Bosch Iso Single Leg
50 ring Dips in as few sets as possible or super slow 1 rep 30”E:30”CFat Man’s Horizontal Chins 100 reps in as few sets as possible25+ Handstand Push Ups in as few sets as possible1a. Zottman Curls
1b. Seated DB Overhead Extension

Sets & Reps are determined on a needs based and recovery basis.

To conclude this article, here's a sample week plan based on my ideas above:

AMPrep: Hurdles series Primer: MB scoop toss, Hang Split Power Snatch, 10m sprint Max Force LB: Safety Bar Box Squat Max Force UB Push: Swiss Bar Military PressPrep: Jump series Primer: 2-handed KB Swing, Banded Step Ups, Low Hurdle Hops Max Force LB: Prowler Push Max Force UB Push: Incline Bench PressPrep: Med Ball series Primer: Repeat Long Jumps, DB Hang Split Cleans, 10m sprint Max Force LB: Power Cleans Max Force UB Push: 2-Board Bench Press with Chains
PMCARE program Chest & Back Hypertrophy Sled WalkingCARE program GPP: Med Ball Series, Loaded Carry Medley Sled WalkingCARE program Shoulders & Arms Hypertrophy Sled Walking

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Ashley Jones has worked in three professional sports across 30 years and four continents. He was awarded the NSCA's Professional Coach of the Year in 2016. Ashley holds his CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) since 1988 and is an honorary lecturer in the School of Therapeutic Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, SA.