Our head strength and conditioning coach, Brendan O’ Leary recently started reading Triphasic Training for Lacrosse. From what I understand, the premise of the Lacrosse manual is pretty similar to that of the original Triphasic Training book by Cal Dietz. However, it does seem to offer more sport specific training methods for lacrosse- hence the title Triphasic Training for Lacrosse.
As Brendan began to dissect the book, we began to converse about some of the primary concepts within the book. In particular, we talked at length about the authors’ idea of glute layering. To view a detailed description of glute layering, click HERE. To summarize, Van Dyke contends that they have developed a comprehensive program that is described as a “research based, layered system to ‘reset’ your athletes into their appropriate, optimal hip extension firing patterns” (1).
We, as in me…decided to jump right in and try it out. What follows is a summary of how we have found the glute layered pyramid thus far.
Within this article I will present two case studies. The first is myself, while the second is a lacrosse player who suffered from chronic hamstring issues prior to beginning and progressing through the various stages of Glute Isometric Training.
Case Study #1:
I’m a former collegiate soccer player and exhausted my NCAA eligibility in in Fall 2015. As evidenced through my chosen career path, I like lifting. With no eligibility remaining, my sole focus (at least athletically speaking) was to get stronger. From about December 2015 to September 2016, my 1-RM in both the deadlift and squat began to steadily climb. And then injury struck. During a box squat just prior to Labor day, I felt a sharp pain in my back. I took a number of weeks off, I began to feel better. Again, about 8-10 weeks later, the pain returned. However on this occasion the culprit was the deadlift.
I slowly got back to squatting and deadlifting when I began my internship in January 2017 at Mount St. Mary’s University. Yet, any time I would go over about 70-80% of a 1-RM in a squat or deadlift, my back would begin to bother me- AGAIN. Needless to say, this began to get increasingly frustrating. I needed a cure…a future without squatting or deadlifting heavy didn’t seem too bright!
Thankfully, due to a slight change in squat and deadlift technique and an introduction into glute isometric training, I’ve been cured!
I thought my first introduction to glute isometric training was some sort of rite of passage for strength and conditioning interns. Within the very first exercise, I was shaking. Some 20 something minutes later and shaking uncontrollable- I was finished. Though I didn’t move much, I was sweaty, sore and felt discomfort in my glutes during every single step I took for the remainder of the day. I remember that I refereed a U10 soccer game that same night. All I could think of during the game was when will this ever end? I couldn’t wait to stop walking.
One or two days later, I went through the entire Level 1 progression again. Admittedly, it felt somewhat easier. By the third or fourth time completing Level 1, it began to feel just like any other gym exercise. But it didn’t end there. I then moved onto Level 2.
Not a lot changed in Level 2, though the duration of the majority of exercises increased. As of today (4/19) I am now on Level 3. However, at this stage I probably should be on if not past level 4.
I try to complete the Glute Isometric Training program every two or three days after lower body gym sessions. Since beginning the program in early February, I’ve been able to steadily increase my 1-RM in the squat and deadlift again. Most importantly though, I’ve been able to do so without pain.
Case Study #2:
One of our Lacrosse players began Level 1 of Glute Isometric Training in mid February. Prior to this, she suffered chronic hamstring problems. Apparently, the issue presented itself during Fall ball but continually bothered her for a number of months. Her hamstring issue was manageable when she would jog or run, but as soon as she began to sprint she would feel pain/discomfort again.
Because of her position (forward), it would seem that she would not be a very effective player if she could not sprint. I must also add that the player was also seeing a physical therapist at the time- but was not seeing any notable progress.
As I mentioned, she began Level 1 of Glute Isometric Training in mid February, just two weeks prior to the first pre-season game. She performed Level 1 every day either prior to practice with the help of her athletic trainer or performed Level 1 in the gym in place of her lower body Tuesday/Thursday lifts that had a lower body component.
Unlike me, she stuck to a rigid plan and quickly progressed through each level. During Level 1, she was able to increase her max time in the hold position from 2:30 to over 4 minutes in just a number of days.
Soon after on one sunny Friday afternoon she had a home pre-season game. She played the entire game and managed to score a couple of goals.
The following Tuesday, we spoke about the game and how she was feeling. She reported that she felt great, was extremely thankful that she started the Glute Isometric exercises, but more than anything she seemed relieved that she was now injury-free and confident on the field.
Her hamstring issues are now long gone and just an afterthought. With over half of the season completed to date, she remains injury-free.
I like two things about the isometric protocols that Van Dyke has developed.
- IT WORKS.
- It requires minimal equipment (NO excuses)
We have continued to use various exercises within the glute progressions on some athletes over the past number of weeks. In fact, Brendan has began using some of the band isometric holds in post-season workouts for Men’s Basketball. In addition, I have played around with the idea of using some of the dynamic movements as an addition to a regular warm-up.
As Van Dyke alludes to within the book, Glute Isometric Training is just a part of a system. To learn more about the other components of the system, check out Van Dyke’s website at http://vandykestrength.com/pages/home