Irving “Boo” Schexnayder completed his return to the LSU Track and Field staff in August of 2018 being named Strength coach for the Tigers. He previously served with LSU from 1995 – 2007, coaching jumpers, vaulters, and the combined events. He returned to the Tiger staff in 2017 in an interim capacity as throws coach before shifting into his current role. He is a well-known commodity in the track and field coaching community with 39 years of experience in coaching and sports related fields.
Schexnayder has been the mastermind behind 19 NCAA champions and over 70 All Americans in his collegiate coaching career, and is one of the most successful field event coaches in NCAA history. He was a part of 12 NCAA championship teams during his first tenure at LSU, tutoring past Tiger greats like Derrick Prentice, Suzette Lee, Levar Anderson, Russ Buller, Marcus Thomas, Walter Davis, Keisha Spencer, Hareldau Argyle, Gretchen Francois, Lejuan Simon, Nicole Toney, Monique Freeman, Claston Bernard, Megan Akre, Daniel Trosclair, Bianca Rockett, and John Moffitt. He coached Spencer to the Honda Award as the nation’s top female Track and Field athlete in 2000, and coached Davis to SEC Athlete of the Year honors in 2002. He became one of only a handful of coaches who have coached a 1-2-3 sweep in a national championship meet when the Tiger triple jumpers captured the top three spots on the podium, leading the Tiger men to the 2004 NCAA indoor title.
His collegiate coaching career began with successful stints at Blinn College and Louisiana-Lafayette. At Blinn he was a part of two Juco national titles, and as a member of the Cajun staff coached several All Americans, including NCAA triple jump champion Ndabe Mdhlongwha.
He has also been a force on the international scene, having coached triple jumper Walter Davis to world indoor and outdoor championships, and long jumper John Moffitt to silver in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He has coached 11 Olympians, and has served on coaching staffs for Team USA to the 2003 Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, and was the Jumps Coach for Team USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. His return to the Tiger staff in 2017 was highlighted as he coached current Tiger Jake Norris to a World Championship in the U-20 Hammer throw.
Noted as an educator and a mentor to hundreds of coaches, Schexnayder has been involved in coaching education for 30 years. He served as chair of the Coaching Education committee for USATF, and in 2009 created the Track and Field Academy, the educational branch of the USTFCCCA, directing it through 2017. He continues to teach and lecture in the U.S. and abroad on the topics of speed and power development,
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Welcome to the Resilient Performance Podcast. I’m your host, Doug. And today I’m joined by Boo Schexnayder. Boo completed is returned to the LSU track and field staff in August of 2018, where he was named the strength coach for the tigers. He previously served with LSU from 1995 to 2007, coaching jumpers, vaulters, and the combined events. One of the most successful field event coaches in NCAA history, but has been the mastermind behind 19 NCAA champions and over 70 All-Americans. He was a part of 12 NCAA championship teams during his first tenure at LSU. During his time away from the LSU staff, boof founded and operated Schexnayder athletic consulting, a service providing professional development and training advice to high school collegiate and professional sports teams in the United States and abroad. He has been very active in NFL player development and combine preparations. In addition to his track and field experience, he has consulted and designed training programs for football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and golf. And rehabilitation. It is often suggested that strength work should precede speed and power work.And that tissue healing time should be the primary determinant and return to sport progressions here. Boom, emphasizes the need for speed based and high intensity work. Relatively speaking of course, early in the rehabilitation process, he also suggested tissue healing as a constraint and return to sport preparation.But the thinking of rehab purely in tissue centric terms is short-sighted.
Boo, thank you so much for coming on. I wanted to begin by asking you about your experience as a track and field coach, kind of your on the job training, learning about rehabilitation, we talked offline and you mentioned that, you know, every profession has their own language and kind of their own inbreeding lawyers, speak, lawyer, speak rehabilitation providers like me have their own language.
And I think sometimes we get kind of caught in our echo chamber. Isn’t even though you’re not. A formerly credentialed, um, rehab provider. I think that actually your insights of learning, how to rehabilitate athletes who have very, very, you know, high-level goals on the job. I think we can all probably learn from that.
So how did, how did that even even develop, like what problems were you forced to solve as a track and field coach where you kind of had to learn this stuff on your own? Well, it, it, it came out of necessity actually. You know, sometimes you just don’t have a good rehab person around and you just have to figure things out.
And, uh, when I first got started, um, when I was first inserted into situations where I had to do these types of rehabs and return to play training types of situations, uh, I, uh, basically. Knew what I did with healthy athletes worked fairly well. And I felt like I had a good handle on the, the, the, the, the control panel and the, and the, the science behind it.
So ultimately I’ve always felt that rehab and training are ultimately the same thing. They’re just done in different levels of different populations with slightly different targets. So I just tried to apply the things that were working really well with the half healthy athletes and. Apply them to the debilitating athletes.
What was interesting is, uh, the, the very first. True rehab I ever did. I remember this kid had an ACL and, um, anyway, he had done really well with his physical therapist and, uh, suddenly everything plateaued and, um, so these looking for answers and he was a superstar quarterback and I had, um, Uh, I had actually coached his dad.
So, um, his dad knocked on my door, says you’re going to do my son’s knee rehab. And I says, well, I don’t do that. He says, well, coach, you’re going to do this one. So I figured, well, I’m not a dummy. I can figure this out. And the kid came back real fast and it also kind of piqued my interest. And the thing that I really enjoyed also was not just the fact that that was very successful.
You know, he came back and played full speed really quickly, like five months or so. Uh, but, um, what, what was. Also at very enlightening was some of the hunches I always had about training, healthy athletes were kind of confirmed in that particular situation. So, so to answer your question, yeah. Maybe the fact that I didn’t don’t have that formal training and maybe had a little more open mind.
Might’ve presented a little bit of an advantage to me, but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that. Every once in a while, when I have a serious question, I don’t go to a really good rehab person to kind of shoot things past them, to kind of keep me out of the trouble zone, so to speak. Yeah. And I mean, I think there’s a lot of overlap between any of these professions, right?
Like end-stage rehab is effectively strength and conditioning. It is technical coaching, you know, and I’m sure like, as a coach, you probably, even if you could do it, you probably, you probably don’t want to be working with an athlete like the day after their ACL surgery, because you want to do things beyond like passive range of motion and stuff like that.
Where do you think? And I, this is a question I ask a lot of people because I think it’s an interesting one is. Where do you think that like a competent coaches should start quote unquote, like rehabilitating athletes or working with them with say like someone coming off an ACL surgery or kind of a more, more like a traumatic, acute type injury.
Like what’s I know that it’s more of like a, a spectrum than a definitive line, but where do you think that it becomes more of like, okay, where are our mindsets going to be more on training or not like this pathological case anymore? Obviously. You still have an injury and tissue healing that has to be respected as a constraint, but where do you think like it just in general athletes, coaches, therapists should switch from more of a, kind of like a.
Quote-unquote rehab mindset to a training and a performance mindset. Well, typically it’s sooner rather than later. Um, the, for ECL typically I don’t want to see them before eight weeks, you know? Okay. Yeah. And this is kind of what we typically find is that you have this phenomenally talented physical therapist.
Who takes his kid after surgery and does phenomenal work with them. But eventually it comes to the point in time where it’s time for that athlete to do something that’s more specific, more sports specific, but that physical therapist doesn’t understand what got that athlete to be really good before the injury.
And then when the other hand you have this fantastic coach, you can make chicken salad out of you-know-what, but this coach doesn’t understand quite how to bring. Uh, the program down to the level of where that athlete is and that debilitated state. So there’s a gap there so to speak. And that always seems to be the trouble spot.
That’s where everything seems to plateau and so forth. And that’s where I think that, you know, it, that’s where I think coaches, if you really understood the science behind what you could do, you could bring it down to that level. And I think that’s where you become valuable and you can interject yourself.
So basically when athletes start to become ambulatory and when it’s time for them to do some specific. Well, that’s one I’d like to interject myself. And I think that typically physical therapists do a great job and tip up until to that point, honestly. Um, and I guess the question and you should ask yourself is, you know, if you’re in that stage, you know, if this was part of what made this athlete good in the first place?
Well, it probably needs to be part of this process, but if it’s something that this athlete would have never done healthy, then why are we doing this as part of the rehab process? Yeah. And I think that’s interesting because sometimes I think we overreact to injuries as, as therapists and as coaches. And we think that because an athlete torn ACL, for example, that everything he or she did up to that point was wrong.
And it’s like, like you said, they, they got there for a reason, you know? And if it’s someone that you’re working with LSU or a pro athlete, like they did some things right. To get to where they were. So, um, we don’t need to abandon everything. And, you know, there, there are so many different schools of thought, you know, in training and so forth and us steel from a mall.
You know, if, uh, one of my red lights in training, our rehab period is that, you know, if, if somebody tells you that this is the answer and that’s it, they’re not my little red light goes on and that’s a warning sign to me because diversity in your approaches is ultimately the hallmark of really good training and all that, every situation, you know?
Yeah. What’s interesting about. Track and field is that it’s not like you’re having a ton of track and field athletes tearing ACL’s are getting really traumatic injuries that are requiring surgeries and a lot of downtime and track and field. You’re probably operating a lot in that gray area where that’s, where I think it gets trickier as to when does like a track and field athlete.
If they’re working with a coach, like you need a physio for anything beyond like manual therapy and hands-on work because. I would imagine that competence, rack coaches are comfortable working with an athlete that has like a grade two hamstring strain and they want to get them. And we’ll talk about this later, uh, you know, with as much intensity as possible, as early as possible without exacerbating things.
So can you speak to in the, in the track and field world, like what, what, what sort of spectrum of injuries that you’re you’re working with and then how you’re, you know, working with athletes where some of them are injured, some are really healthy and now it’s a group setting and you have to, you know, Obviously every like sprint for example, has the same goal of running on the hundred of the 200, but now you have to individualize it for, to account for just athletes who are different inherently, even when they’re not injured.
And now you’ve got various stages of health among your team. Well, you’re, you’re absolutely correct. Most of my experience in dealing with the more severe, the more acute injuries comes outside of track and field and track and field and most Olympic sports for that matter, they’re kind of the breeding ground for chronic injuries.
And I think it’s very important to differentiate between the two, you know, our typical Western medicine, uh, Western medicine routes, uh, professional routes are really good with acute. Injuries. And they typically, traditionally aren’t nearly as good with the more chronic types of injuries so that this is where I think a good coaches in track and field and other Olympic sports come into play is that they not only have an understanding of how to deal with these type of vendors, but they kind of have an understanding of what.
Type of expertise is needed and they, they become not only just good at dealing with the injuries, but they also become really good at referral. And so often these soft tissue injuries in these chronic injuries are like jigsaw puzzles. They’re biomechanical jigsaw puzzles, where, you know, the, there there’s some kind of.
Problem in the kinetic chain somewhere and where that problem eventually surfaces as an injury can be quite, quite a ways in an entirely different location than the actual trigger of the problem. So in those situations, every thing you deal with is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. And if you’re dealing with a sport, regular lid, the jigsaw puzzle puzzles typically repeat themselves.
So you get good at doing the same kind of puzzle over and over again. And I guess that’s what we call expertise is when you, you know, you’re you’re you get used to. To dealing with a certain type of problem. And another important part of it is just getting better at problem solving for problem solving sake.
And, uh, if you kind of understand the basic principles of how kinetic chains work, then normally you can kind of trace things back. And even if you’re not the best student of anatomy or the very best, uh, rehab person, you can kind of figure out about where things are going on. You know, like if you’re working at a particular part of the body and that part of the body is hyper, hyper mobile, Well, you can automatically assume that the restriction is just one joint up up the chain there, you know, because hypermobility results from restricted mobility elsewhere, there’s a few basic, you know, pharmacists that allow you to kind of diagnose and, and find exactly where these types of issues are.
And that’s what you know, that that kind of stuff is a big part of track and field culture. You won’t find a. Track and field coach has been in the business of auto isn’t kind of burst in those types of philosophies where I think sometimes in sports that are more dominated with acute injuries, uh, that might be a little more foreign to them.
Right. And I’m sure typically when you go on podcasts, people want to ask you about speed development and you know, more track and field type, specific scenarios. And I wanted to get you on because of your recent, uh, tweetstorm related to rehab. And, and one of them, I want to ask you about to get things going is, um, I think it was a few weeks ago, you talked about how, you know, when it comes to rehab, there’s a lack of common sense and it feels like the, uh, the, the flat earth society.
So can you talk about, you know, what, what common sense is lacking and what, what what’s kind of, what’s coming out of the flat earth society to begin. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have said that because there are a lot of good people in that profession in like us. But the, one of the things that I do find a little frustrating though, is that sometimes we don’t view rehab as a process of progression, meaning that we don’t identify a certain variables that need particularly.
Various forms of intensity that need to be progressed over time. Sometimes we look at it from the standpoint of what a person can do, uh, or we look at it from the standpoint of it being a workaround. Remember that rehab is not a workaround. Rehab is actually attacking the injury site in a safe and a predictable, uh, uh, carefully administered manner.
It’s not about working around the injury site. It’s not about. What I can have this athlete do that will keep them busy. It’s not about finding things they can do. It’s about how can I get them to do what I need them to do and how can we retrace those steps? So the whole absence of the scientific model, you know, constants and variables in the rehab process and in the way you administer exercise in it is sometimes kind of frustrating to me to be, to be Frank with you.
And the other thing too is the whole. Global aspect of it, you know, understanding that you have multiple body systems that are coming into play here. And quite often, the only thing we really concern ourselves with is integrity at the injury site when there are so many other things that come into play that come into performance, and those are often totally neglected.
And quite frankly, you know, and we’ll get into this later, I’m sure. But quite frankly, sometimes we put the cart before the horse, uh, as far as the way we sequence rehab. Uh, uh, training and as a result of that things take far, far, far longer than they’re supposed to. And unfortunately, you know, this seems to happen so often that as a society, we’ve kind of set the bar really low as far as what our normal time expectations are for certain return, from certain types of injuries.
You know, when I’m watching Monday night football years ago, when Adrian Peterson comes back from an ACL injury, you know, and like, Five months he’s back, you know, post-surgery is fine and doing great and all that. And everybody calls him a freak of nature will frankly, I think that’s about what it ought to be.
You know, to be honest with that, it should be more than norm. And those are the kind of results that you know, we’ve been getting. And, um, in any case, I, I just think that, um, those things are particularly frustrating. Just the lack of application of the scientific model to the process. Yeah. Part of that is, you know, rehab tends to be based on tissue healing times, which obviously you have to be respected, but, you know, as we kind of know, not all pain as a company advised significant tissue damage and even injured athletes, like I’m sure the ones that you work with at LSU when they’re in pain are still capable of very high output.
So what are some other lenses through which you look at rehab besides that purely tissue centric one, which can, if you take that model too far might make you be overly conservative when it comes to rehab. Well, you just set a goal thing. You know, rehabs are typically based on tissue healing times and that, that you can’t argue with that.
And that’s the, but that’s the ceiling. That’s not necessarily everything. That’s the ceiling, meaning that you can’t put an athlete into a situation. Um, when the tissue isn’t completely healed and jeopardize them in that regard. But however, there were lots of other things that come into play. And what we typically see is that these other things are not brought along at the re in the rehab process.
So now suddenly yes, the tissues heal, but we’re so far behind in everything else because that part of the rehab hasn’t been administered correctly. So, so to speak, you know, so, so yeah. Okay. Now we can check the box of the injuries. Okay. But they’re not ready in any other particular area. So, you know, I, and, and because of the fact that I’m kind of considered aggressive, you know, so to speak and some people even consider me lucky, but there is a science to what I do.
I’m sure we’ll get into it and such. And the point is is that if you kind of understand the science, you can actually. And, and what the roots of strength are, you know, then you can progress much faster, you know, if you understand exactly what got an athlete strong in the first place, well, while this tissue is healing, you can be bringing a strap along at much faster rates, so that they’re ready much sooner so that when we hit that ceiling and we hit that gold standard of the tissue integrity being, uh, a one in a hundred percent, then they’re already.
To go out and play. And the other thing is this is that quite often in a rehab situation, I kind of pride myself on the fact that when my athletes come out of rehab, they’re typically better than they were before the injury. And a lot of ways, because that rehab often gives you an opportunity to remediate certain biomechanical faults that might’ve produced that problem in the first place.
You know, like a lot of times when I deal with it, ACL’s and knee injuries and things like that. I typically find that the athletes have really bad Emiratization patterns will part of the rehab process is re-establishing and teaching amortization patterns. So now suddenly something that was a weakness is now a strength.
So they go back out there and they actually perform a little bit better. So I hope that addresses your question properly. Yeah, definitely. You’re a big proponent for it. Maximizing intensity, albeit in a safe way, early on in the rehab process. Yeah. How do you think that underloading and lack of intensity in the early phases of rehab affect athletes later on, in other words, like, do you think that there’s kind of a, almost like a neurological window of opportunity that has to be taken advantage of.
Early on. And if you don’t take advantage of that, then it can, it can delay preparation in the latter stages. Unquestionably, we may be getting a little ahead of ourselves, but since you asked the question, remember when an athlete, a healthy athlete is performing well and hopefully athlete is talented and trained.
The reason why they’re performing well is not so much because of any particular structure it’s because their nervous systems are better in activating muscle tissues than the average person. You know, so the ability of the nervous system to produce electrical impulses and recruit muscle fibers, the ability of the nervous system to send electrical pulses frequently, you know, good rate coding capabilities, it’s ultimately what makes this person a stud athlete.
So part of the rehab process from the very get-go has to be re-establishing these neurological process, the ability of the nervous system to activate muscle tissue. So therefore, If we know for a fact that the reason why this kid was better than everybody else was because their rate coding capability is there they’re neural stimulation of muscle tissue was better than the average person.
Well, that’s what we have to be progressing. So checking the box of the tissue being, uh, you know, the, the injury side being stable, doesn’t help in that regard. You see? And because of the fact. That you cannot really gain strength effectively unless the nervous system is good at activating the muscle tissue in that regard, many rehab programs, drag things out far longer than they must.
The reason is because the rate quoting capabilities respond predominantly to speed and power forms of training. You see? So. Ultimately our goal is to get the nervous system to activate and muscle tissue better. We know that slow stuff doesn’t do this. We know that fast training and power training do this.
So that’s why speed and power training in some way, shape or form need to be present in the rehab from the very beginning, from the very start and in many rehab models, that’s kicked toward the end because it’s considered risky well, there’s risk in everything you do. So, but ultimately if I w. At the beginning of a rehab.
What I’m trying to do is I’m trying to do two things. Number one, how can I train the uninjured body parts for speed and power to drive neural processes globally throughout the entire body. And secondly, how can I direct speed and power training in a safe, measured anatomically correct way. That too at the injury site, that’s ultimately what we’re trying to do there.
And because of the fact that I’ve kind of figured out ways to get red coating processes established and regained earlier and sooner, it’s cutting down the rehab times tremendously in that, in that regard. And then, so what are some like practical examples of how you would maximize speed and power early on in the rehab process?
Maybe just use a couple of different types of injuries as an example. Cause I, I think that. What you say makes conceptual sense, but people are probably like, wow, this guy is telling me that when someone’s injured and in pain to be doing power and speed based training. And I think that there’s almost like an emotional reaction to say that’s not safe, but obviously there are ways to do it safely.
So. How does one do that safely? Well, exactly. Um, let’s use the ACL for example. Okay. What I’ll typically do with an ACL patient keeping in mind of this, like the first day with me or whatever, and they’ll come out and remember everything in performances about elastic responses. Everything’s East centric.
Everything’s about elastic energy. So if that’s the case, then you want your rehab to be elastic from the very good. Cool. So what I try to do with an ACO patient is I try to get them jumping immediately. Now before you think of bounding and plyometrics and all that kind of stuff, like people typically knee-jerk.
And do, if you could kind of picture a person kind of standing in one place, hopping on two double leg hops where maybe they’re getting maybe a half an inch off the ground and there may be advancing maybe. Four inches forward on each jump. That’s kind of the starting point, but again, that’s an elastic response.
That’s speed power in a very, very remedial type of fashion. And that’s typically like day one of ACL rehab or knee rehab in my particular program is something along those lines. Normally by day two. They can do something kind of similar single leg at that point. Normally by day three, I shouldn’t say day three, I should.
The third session of that type. Then normally by the third session of that type, they can do significant volumes of that type of work. And again, the interesting thing is I’ve always noticed is that when I do these rehabs, that instead of the athletes getting worse at the end of the row, at the end of the session, which you would expect.
Because of fatigue, they actually get better. And that’s telling you that we’re indeed, indeed driving these rate coating types of increases. So that would be an example of a way where I would take like plyometrics and dumb them down to the ultimate low level in order to introduce that to like an ACL patient body, like a hamstring patient for useful.
Okay. Yeah. Maybe this person has a hamstring injury. Okay. Well they can run how fast they can run. Well, they’re at 50%. Well, let’s not train at 20%. Let’s train at 45%. You know, there is 60%. Okay, well, let’s not train at 30%. If there is 60% was trained at 55% because ultimately the quality of the work is what we’re after.
And to answer your question, my number one rule of, of rehab is that there should be no pain. I mean, every everything I do is pain-free, I do nothing that drives an athlete to pain. Ever. A pain pain is not good. All right. And then I think probably the worst thing that ever happened to the rehab profession was like the Rocky movies, you know, and people of, you know, you know, you know, think of rehab as some type of Trojan activity that you do, where you go through pain and you do it three times a day.
I read the other day where somebody was rehabbing a need, like four times a day. Doing what w what could you possibly be doing that, that much? You know? So in any case, I just find ways to take the traditional speed, power types of activities that you would do with a healthy athlete and just dumb them down to the very lowest levels that are appropriate at those particular times.
And. And it’s just a matter of progressively increasing those intensities. So I always talk about intensity, the necessity of intensity, but keep in mind that a lot of my argument about the necessity of intensity is kind of rebellion against volume. You know, a lot of people just think, Oh, the more we do the better, Oh, we did tend today, but we’re doing 22.
So what if it’s not more intense or more difficult than you really haven’t done anything there? You know, so. Ultimately remember volume is an irritant. So you do need some volume. There has to be a certain body of work, of course, but ultimately what makes you successful is whether you are capable of progressing intensities over time.
After all the sports we compete in are intense. So if you don’t eventually bring an athlete up to certain levels of intensity, then. You you fail, you know, I, I don’t claim to have any insight into this at all, but the basketball player a few years ago, who decided to go back out there and had a terrible injury was a Duran, I think, uh, you know, um, yeah, he totally tore his Achilles in the finals a couple of years ago.
Cause he had done a calf injury that eventually he tore his Achilles. Yeah. Yeah. I’m trying to remember the exact situation. I have no personal knowledge of that, to be honest with you, but I guarantee you one thing in practice, he didn’t achieve the intensity that he did in the game. Right. That’s a fact he might’ve achieved the volumes he did in the game, but he didn’t achieve the intensities that he did in the game.
So when I say intensity, I mean, intensity with respect to the volume metric concerns in a rehab. And I also mean intensity that’s appropriate at eight time and progresses over the course of time. Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s where I want to dig a little bit deeper because there’s, you know, the traditional rehab model is build strength.
Before you build speed and power. And I don’t think, I don’t think you’re saying that strength work isn’t important. I think you’re saying that whatever, whatever speed and power work that you can do safely early on, you should do so intensity, speed and power are relative terms. And I think that a lot of times, you know, physios will, will think, Oh, well, plyometrics means like, Single leg depth jumps like there is.
And of course, like you’re not, I mean, if you’re working with athletes that are two months, post-op ACL, you’re not gonna have them do single leg depth jumps the first session. And I think there’s all these kinds of, you know, different metrics. Like we want to have symmetrical quad strength and all these things, but like, you don’t, you don’t need to be perfectly symmetrical to do a double lab dub, double leg bunny hop, you know, an inch off the floor.
Like, so you’re, you’re not, you’re not, you don’t need perfection. Because it th the potential for injury and what you’re doing is so low, all you’re trying to do is just try to try to train some kind of an elastic response, desensitize, the nervous system to a, you know, kind of more elastic type activity.
So, and this is always a question I love asking people is yes, there’s always like different. You can always try to quantify when does an athlete ready to run, do extensive pliers, all these things. But I mean, I would imagine that you’re really just. Looking at an athlete seeing if they pass the eye test asking for their feedback, like, did that hurt?
Do you feel good? Okay. And then you just kind of keep going from there. I think sometimes we try to get almost so scientific when it comes to rehab progressions. We’re like, well, this person doesn’t have the strength level to do a jump, but it’s like, what jump are we talking about? There’s so many variations of jumping and you can do that as somebody can walk without limping and without compensation, they can probably do a very, very remedial type of jumps.
So that kind of like. Your thought process as well. That’s exactly my thought process. Usually I see the, I see the, the fourth and fifth graders in my neighborhood do plyometrics all the time. They call it jump rope, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s just not having stereotypical notions of exactly what these exercises are, you know, based upon.
Uh, what you may have seen in the past or what my background may be or whatever, you know, I’ve got a background with high-level on a big athletes, so therefore they’re jumping on 42 inch boxes. So therefore that must be what he’s doing with his ACL patients. No, of course not. But, but you, you made an interesting point that I’d like to kind of reiterate on and, and the strength is important, but the speed component is prerequisite to the strength.
Remember the thing that makes them strong. Things that makes them physically strong is the nervous system’s ability to activate the muscle tissue, the rate, coding capabilities and rate coding capabilities, progress, and advance the improve as a result of the faster things you do, not the slower things you do.
So if all you do is slow stuff for strengthening in your rehab. Yeah. You’re applying tension and you have some success to summit. It to some extent, but it’s going to be extremely slow because the thing that made these athletes strong in the first place was not the characteristics of the muscle. It was the characteristics of the nervous system you see?
So that’s why I always say speed before strength. Not only in a rehab situation, but in a training situation as well, because if you apply speed, then you’ll find that the strength work comes along much, much, much, much faster. You see? So by me, introducing speed at the earliest stages of a rehab and establishing.
Communication between nerve and muscle. Then these athletes get stronger much, much faster. We cut down the time involved in the rehab safely, but just as importantly, now I don’t have to do as much repetition in order to achieve the strength levels. And therefore, if I achieve the same. Levels of strength with less repetition, that’s less wear and tear and irritation on the injury site as well.
So the efficiency of the process also results in less baggage accumulated along the way. Yeah. And you always hear about volume before intensity accumulation before intensification, and you’re kind of taking a little bit of an opposite approach. It’s almost like the short to long versus long to short debate and sprinting, but when it comes to rehab, you talk about how.
You’re delaying fitness and conditioning work until the end of the, the rehab process. Um, I’m imagining that your, you know, your thought process is similar, but why, at what point do you think, okay, we we’ve established enough intensity. We’ve established enough quality of movement. Now it’s time to kind of build capacity on top of that.
Like when do you, what kind of, whether it’s an objective or subjective benchmark, do you use to say, okay, like, I want to build some capacity now on top of the intensity that we’ve developed. When I feel it’s simple. When I feel that the injury site, the integrity of the injury site is, is, is 100%. And I feel that the speed strep power levels are, have, have been returned to their previous levels.
Then it’s safe to go out there and do things, you know, then it’s safe to go out there and build that body of work and to do high volumes of sports, specific types of activities. The reason why I typically, um, defer sports specific type of work. Toward the end and why more importantly, I defer fitness training toward the end is simply because I can train some fitness in a specific manner in the earlier stages of the rehab.
So they don’t come out of the rehab, like totally unfit, but they’re just not used high bunch of very sports specific time, you know that. So ultimately, That type of work is extremely difficult to quantify. And the volumes often serve as baggage. I want to be able to administer surgical shots of intensity at regular intervals in the rehab process.
And if I am doing too much of this other type of stuff, too much sport specific stuff, and I’m doing too much fitness types of stuff, then it just clouds that message. And in some situations I think like really high levels of, of, of acidity, you know, uh, associated with really high. And glycolytic types of training that also kind of serves as a neuromuscular irritant too.
And I think it kind of interferes with the re-establishment of rate coding capabilities and recruitment capabilities. So I kicked that can down the road, basically, you know, so typically in a, it just the. For practical purposes, it’ll go something like this. You know, we’ll do our rehab with low volumes, a certain body of work with fairly low volumes.
We do it with intensity so that when you exited the rehab, when you kind of move through it, and eventually you hit a 100%, there’s some fitness level, but it’s a very specific level, but you’re just not used to going out there day after day after Dan performing two, three hours of. Whatever it is you used to do.
So what I’d simply do is budget it at that point, you know, so you go out there, you can train two consecutive days and then you have to take a deal. Then you can train three consecutive days and you have to take a day off and you can train four consecutive days. And we kind of budget in that way. The reintroduction of that type of work into the, into the program.
I’ve always found that at the completion of a rehabs, um, the setbacks, if there’s going to be one, never occur at the end of that rehab, you know, so this kid’s good. Okay. Here you go, coach. He got them. Well, typically everybody’s so darn scared that everybody is so careful that nothing happens. It’s only when you start to feel like, Oh, we’re okay.
Now that you forget about the accumulated stresses on that young person at that point, and those accumulated stresses will typically produce a second injury or something like that. Several days later. Okay. And you know, something that, that happened one time in my career, that was extremely frustrating. I did a knee rehab with someone and it was textbook.
I mean, it just went, boom, boom, boom. Just exactly like it’s supposed to do, you know, this young, this young man was a hurdler and we brought him along, you know, he’s, he’s he’s as fast as he was. He’s hurdling. Well, doing all this kind of stuff. The one thing he didn’t do in the rehab, he wasn’t out there doing two hour workouts every day.
So I went up to a coach and say, coach, look, he’s ready to go. You do whatever you want to do with them. But when you get to about day three or day four, talk to them, chances are, you’ll find some chronic kind of, you know, just chronic fatigue kind of coming back in because he’s just not used to that type of volume at this point.
So when you get to day three, day four, if he complains about that, or if you kind of feel that’s going on, just give him a day off, you know, just. Drop a day of the training and then come back the next day and pick up where you left off. Then you just might have to give them an extra day off every so often.
Well, don’t, you know, on day for the day I predicted the kid came up to the coach, kind of fuel a little, tightened it up in my leg. Well, can you finish the workout? Okay, I’ll try. And don’t, you know, we end up with a hamstring injury on the exact date and the exact day I said it was likely to happen. And then the kid gave us a warning sign.
You know, so that kind of, stuff’s frustrating and you know, and it’s kind of bad when you’re not really listening to the signs and reading the signs there, but hopefully that kind of gives you an idea of how I bring up each back into that setting there. I just understand it. You know, when, when I brought back that very first ACO person I ever did first.
Yeah, coach this game, you got 15 plays with him. You get whatever you can out of 15 plays. Cause that’s all you got, you know, game too. Alright, you got 20 plays. That’s all you got because ultimately that’s the only way to establish that type of fitness per se. And if I would have done all of this fitness stuff along the way that person would have never played in that game at all, in my opinion.
Yeah. And you mentioned earlier talking about how the nature of track and field is more of the chronic type injuries and. One of the chronic injuries, that’s really, you know, difficult for a team sport athletes to deal with and, and their medical and performance staffs is tendon injuries. Right. Um, and in your experience as a track and field coach, is there like an epidemic of, you know, Achilles and patellar, tendon tendinopathies in like triple jumpers and long jumpers?
Because again, it’s always, I think every discipline always thinks they’re like solving unique problems. And I’m not saying that the track and field model as a hundred percent carry over, or is an apples to apples comparison. It’s what happens in a team sport because even a triple jumper, they’re probably their jumper, their jumps are at a much higher intensity than what, like a basketball player or an American football player would do.
The latter, you know, athletes are having more probably ground contacts in a particular session, even though they’re of a lower quality. But I think we could probably still take something from jumping sports. And if there isn’t, like I said, a large percentage of tenderness type injuries, what do you think that team sport athletes can learn from say track and field jumpers when it comes to some of these tenant injuries?
Because I could be ignorant, but I’m not. I’m not seeing that there’s like all these, you know, long jumpers and triple jumpers missing significant portions of their seasons to these 10 minutes type injuries. No, you’re totally correct. The first thing you can take from it is that the tendons are built for loading.
I mean, they’re extremely resilient tissues. They’re extremely elastic tissues and they’re built to take high loads. They all, when you have these, uh, tendon issues and most. Nearly every case. Whenever I come up across a tendon injury, almost always, there’s some type of biomechanical problem in the kinetic chain.
That’s transmitting forces to that tenant, and it’s not being loaded properly, you know, in track and field, you know, very seldom on our, a tendon injuries impact related. Normally they’re related to, uh, issues in, in, in the kinetic chain, for example, um, uh, A lot of times when we have Achilles issues and things along those lines, uh, almost always.
Yeah. Um, there’s an Achilles issue in track and field with like a sprint athlete or something like that. There’s almost always some midfoot restriction and because of the fact that, that, you know, cuboid bone or something like that, so there’s some type of foot restriction. So the forces of being. They administered to the Achilles in some type of improper manner.
So there’s almost always some type of biomechanical breakdown. Now, sometimes that biomechanical breakdown is impact related. Like in that situation there, and most of the time, you know, in track and field, it’s simple, the collisions are between the feet and the ground. So just about every injury. Has some type of root in the, in the lower leg and, you know, and those things typically move up the chain.
Uh, but a lot of times in other sports that I’ve worked with, I’ve found that athletes who have really poor amortization patterns that are ankle dominant in their amatorization patterns or knee dominant in their amortization patterns. Those are typically the athletes who have the chronic. Tennis injuries.
And when you see efficient amortization patterns, amortization patterns that are distributed among multiple joints, as opposed to one or two joints, and normally these athletes stay pretty healthy. So in short, you know, the one thing that track and field does prove is that you can load the hell out of tendons.
And the other thing I take from that is that tendon injuries typically result from biomechanical problems, not necessarily the level of load. And anything you think that team sports can take from track and field in terms of the preparation schemes with jumpers? Like I would imagine that, you know, You have some kind of a progression that you use with a triple jumper throughout the season to prepare that athlete for, you know, the sec championship as an example, like, what do you think that can be extrapolated from the track and field model to team sports in terms of how you’re progressing in terms of, you know, types of jumps, volumes and intensities, that sort of thing.
Oh, you know, when I was in my consultant, workup done a lot of program audits and that type of stuff. And almost every time that we saw problems in just movement, quality, particularly change of direction with team sport athletes, we almost always found. Poor plyometric program, uh, administration that we weren’t starting with low intensity stuff, and we weren’t progressing to high intensity stuff.
And that as the plyometrics were being taught, the amortization pro um, the amortization, um, Patterns were not being addressed or not being taught properly. So that’s it in a nutshell, ultimately, and I think a lot of team sports look at the plyometric world and, um, a lot of team sports have discarded plyometrics.
We jump on boxes, but we don’t like fall off of them and bounce anymore, you know, you know, and sometimes plyometrics are considered risky. We’ll so as competition, you know, the only way to really prepare you for impact is with. Control bouts of impact in training? No, but that being said the whole idea of, of, of administering plyometrics and training, I just think it’s extremely important and offer an often undervalued.
Uh, and we don’t progress intensities in that regard properly. In many situations, you know, I have particular, I classify my plan metrics, you know, I. Different categories that I use. I use different categories at different types of the year, but all of those different categories and all of those progressions are all simply for one reason to make sure that my intensities are progressing in a, in a, in a, in a patient linear fashion throughout that pre-season training period.
And then I normally peak them right before the beginning of the competitive season. And afterwards it kind of depends on what sport I’m dealing with, that, that, uh, That tells me what I do with them actually afterwards. So in short, you know, not to harp on it, but the, the East centric loading patterns are ultimately what you’re teaching with biometrics.
And one last thing is that a lot of sports feel that they don’t need to do plyometrics because there isn’t a jumping component in those sports. But keep in mind, change of direction is extremely ecentric in nature. So when I see change of direction, I see a jump. You know, if a kid falls off a box and bounces onto another box will down to us, that’s a change of direction and right.
The left as a change of direction to, you know, the, the, the, the, the way it’s sensed at the tissue level is not that different. So people ask me, will you treat football as a, uh, how do you handle plyometrics and football? You know, because the kids don’t jump in football, so will they change direction all the time?
So therefore you have to treat it like it is. In fact that jumping sports will speak. Yeah. And I think one thing, a lot of coaches are coming around to obviously all of this stuff is much harder in season than in the off season, because there’s the fear that, you know, the athletes are doing so much specific work in season that you don’t want to sprinkle in extra plyometrics or, well, we will, we are seeing in stores and in team sports.
I think that a lot of coaches coming around to the idea that, okay, like in American football, you don’t reach max velocity very much in a game. So most programs now are saying, okay, we’re going to microdose some. Maximum velocity sprinting in during the week, just to kind of maintain that ceiling, maintain maximum velocity.
Do you, do you think that the same logic can be applied to jumping where say with like a basketball player where it’s like, okay, we’re not going to, oftentimes the argument is, well, they jumped so much in the game, but much like with running and football, they’re not actually doing many maximal jumps in a game.
They’re getting a lot of, you know, a lot of foot contacts, but it’s not at a high quality of high intensity. Do you think that there could be a way to microdose. You know, like more ecentric least stressful jumping, you know, in between games when they’re somewhat rested. And would that have a protective effect or would you abandon.
Any kind of those like maximal shock type plan metrics in season for say a basketball player. No, you do. And you want to do that, but the mistake that we typically make in season with lots of different types of training, some forms of weight training, some forms of plyometric training is that we do it for too often.
And for, uh, And for too easy for too little intensity. And what ends up happening is you had, you ended up doing something that is difficult to recover from, but it’s also not intense enough to really help. So your, your words of wisdom are, are truly wise. The idea of. Micro dosing, really high intensity types of work there.
And I actually did do some consulting work with some basketball teams, a couple of NBA teams and so forth. And that’s exactly the approach that they do. They don’t do any plyometrics in their regular training schedules at all. Of any type of low intensity work. That’s what they get in the game, you know, moderate intensity.
But what they do typically is like once every 17 days or so, they’ll do a microdose of extremely high intensity depth jumps or something like that. What that does is it subjects, the tissues to extremely high levels of tension keeps them accustomed to those levels of intention. And it serves as a huge, um, a huge inoculation against injury.
And ultimately that’s what injuries are. They’re they’re applications of intense, uh, intense tension to tissues. That’s what the root of injuries are. So therefore you’re basically, if you’ve. Custom, if you’re customarily, uh, administering these levels of tensions to a particular tissue, then you can feel pretty good about that tissue holding up under those stresses in competition, in a game.
So to answer your question, that’s exactly what I, what I do. I, I have some major league baseball players that I kind of consult with and work with. And, um, you know, baseball’s a tough one, you know, as the only sport I know where you. You basically, you work on your practice and you play every day, you know?
And, and, but what I do with them is I give them a few options of restoration workouts. I give them a few options of. Low end speed, power workouts. And I give them a couple of options of really high intensity speed, power workouts, and the high intensity speed, power workouts on their workout plan. It doesn’t tell them what day to do it.
It tells them you need to hit this once every 17 days. You know, other things you may hit once every 10 days or, and that’s how I kind of set it up for them. And if you look at it that way, even in sports where the scheduling is really crazy, like baseball or basketball, You can typically, if you’re looking at a, say a 17 day window, you can typically find some opportunity in there to micro dose that intensity.
If you’re looking at it in a short window, then that might not be the case. Got it. That’s helpful. Thank you. And then you touched earlier on when talking about tennis, tennis injuries about, you know, biomechanics and the kinetic chain. And one thing that I find kind of fascinating is at least in the rehab field and in the physio world, I think that for much of the history of that profession, the biomechanical model really dominated to the point that everything was explained by a biomechanics.
And probably there was an underemphasis on, you know, neurophysiological mechanisms and bio-cycle social factors. But now we’re seeing a lot of physios and even, even physios who are well-known for their work in the running world saying things that, you know, like, um, how, how one runs doesn’t really matter.
It’s all about how you progress volume and intensity. And so, in other words, it’s like there, you know, nobody wants to take a definitive stance and say that there are relative degrees of good and bad when it comes to how one performs the skill of running. And yet I haven’t talked to a single track and field coach that is echoed that sentiment and track and field coaches.
I mean, they’re, you know, they get fired. If the, if their athletes don’t get faster, So, how do we reconcile that discrepancy between what the, what the running coach, the track and field coaches are saying and what some of the physios are saying when it comes to how athletes perform the skill of running and the, the biomechanics of that.
I can’t reconcile it. I mean, those are two domains that are both critical. If you’re, I mean, high-performance means you have to make passing grades in everything that you do. And the biomechanical side of things is just an important part of that as well. And, you know, to, to achieve at a high level. There are certain bodies of work that need to be accomplished.
And I have seen athletes that just cannot achieve the bodies of work necessary to for high levels of performance, simply because they break down because of bond mechanical faults and vice versa. I think it’s that simple. And I think it’s an overly simplistic view. To be honest with you. I can understand.
There are times when I wish I didn’t have to worry about the biomechanics, but ultimately I do. And I doubt seriously that I’d be on your podcast if I felt that way, I don’t, I don’t get it. I don’t, I certainly agree that, you know, you can, you can just put on one domain, one of those two domains, ultimately, you know, you have to be doing a good job in both areas.
I mean, there. Too many talented people in the world. And, uh, you know, athletics are full of very motivated people with were very talented and are chasing money and chasing goals. And, um, to just completely put on one side is to drag a ball and chain around throughout your entire career. Yeah. And I mean, you know, like success leaves clues, like, especially in the track and field world, like yes, they’re high level sprinters, for example, who have different sort of, um, Idiosyncrasies when it comes to movement, but there’s also, I think the similarities outweigh the differences.
And if you look at a really good sprinter, as an example, versus a team sport athlete, American football player, even the ones that are getting really good scores at the combine, like you S you S you visually see differences. Um, and I think that we have to dig deeper into why those differences exist in the say, if they don’t matter, I think is a little bit irresponsible and, and careless.
It’s just kind of like, well, it’s a way of invading responsibility for not. Having to understand something, you know, and I, I totally agree. And I think that part of the reason why some people develop that philosophy is I think we fail to understand that training has a lot to do with the mechanics, like the way you train us a lot to do with the way you move, you know, and my whole life, when I’m teaching athletes, how to sprint and trying to make them faster, I never really approached for any, from the weight, from the standpoint of having to teach some type of skill.
You know, when I, when I do clinics, track clinics, all, you know, sometimes they’ll just ask the question, you know, I’m in a room full of track cultures, I’ll say who taught you to run? And they all raise their hand and give me the name of some middle school track coach. But, but that’s not true. One day you just did it.
You know, running is a. Typical Mo is just a normal human movement pattern. Yeah. And, you know, and don’t get me wrong. There’s some teaching involved, you know, at high levels, but ultimately in my view of teaching an athlete, how to be fast and, and developing speed in an athlete is not so much about teaching them the deep dark side of some.
Skill, you know, that that’s really complex. It’s about developing the body to execute the way it’s intended to execute it. You know, there were too many times in my career. I remember when I first got started working with really, really good high-level athletes, I’d be out there and we were doing accelerations and.
Man, I, they would run, I would talk, they would run, I would talk and I’m coaching my butt off, you know, and the athletes got better and better and better. And then lo and behold, a few years later, maybe, I don’t know, maybe I’m smarter. Maybe I’m just tired, but I just kept my mouth shut a lot more. And I found that they got better at the same rates.
And that’s when I realized that the power training was kicking in, the mobility training was kicking in, you know, so ultimately I was building the body to execute and I think that’s an important part of it. And, um, a lot of times I think people get caught up with pathological issues in sprinting. You know, the kid who has a little quirky or quirk there, and you get caught up and you can’t fix that.
And you fail to realize that it’s a pathological thing. You know, when I’m teaching sprinting to an athlete, uh, if there’s something pathological going on, I don’t even talk about it. As far as their sprint technique is concerned. I’ll address it in the strength program or design the stress. Program to address it or whatever.
Uh, Oh, this, this happens to me all the time. I get an email from a coach. My kid runs in one arm, swings are longer than the other, or this tool points out in the other tool point straight ahead. Well, that’s an issue for your strength program and mobility and those types of things, but I’m not going to tell this kid to sprint with their toe in this.
Position. Yeah. Thinking about that, that’ll never work, you know, you can’t focus, you know, so I think that these pathological issues can be confusing. Sometimes we, as coaches think we have to teach everything in sprinting and that isn’t the case at all. And, uh, and ultimately, you know, complicated matter models, make good.
Or commercially successful and simplicity isn’t but ultimately I just try to make it as simple as I possibly can and just train the athletes at a high level. Yeah. I think that’s, you know, coaching, obviously there’s a queuing component, but it’s also setting an athlete up for success. And if you’re talking about strength and power work and mobility work, Presumably, if you’re setting the athlete up for success properly, you won’t need to coach as much.
So there’s, there’s two sides to it. Um, but you’re still coaching and making decisions. You’re not just saying, Hey, just go out there and do your thing. And we’re just going to moderate your volume and intensity. It’s I, I, my thing is like, why do people coach, if they don’t believe that coaching. Like actually matters, you know, am I, am I not coaching might not be giving a technical cue.
It might, it might be doing something in the, in the weight room. Like you said, to address the one toe being on, if you think that matters, but you did something, you performed an intervention as a coach. Yeah. Yeah. You’re totally correct. You know, I’ve been in my consulting work. I’ve done it too many times and.
It’s heartbreaking, but I go to a football, you know, unfortunately it’s always football, but I’ll go to a football program. Our guys are not fastened if we want to be faster. Okay. So show us how to run the 40. No, no, no. You’re all you’re doing is have this little squats, you know, all you’re doing is running one to one is a subtle paces and whatever.
And you want me to show you a technique? That’s going to make these guys. No, it’s ultimately about the training and the way they’re training these to change in, to, to produce. The results that you want, you know? Yeah. You’re taking a very holistic viewpoint of it. Exactly. Yeah. Well, you’ve been really generous with your time working people learn more about the consulting you’re doing and the courses you’re putting on.
I know you’re constantly releasing new products and having different like zoom courses and stuff like that. Yeah, I, I do a lot of stuff. Uh, coaching education stuff. Uh, probably the best thing to do is to look at my website, uh, www dot SACS speed SAC, the word speed.com. SAC is Schexneider athletic consulting.
Normally my speaking schedule is on there, although it’s my speaking schedule is COVID wrecked and it’s not necessarily up to date at the moment, but, uh, I have some things there that you. Your, your, your, your, um, listeners might be interested in grabbing some resources available and, uh, you can hunt me down through that website.
You can always email me directly. I was very fortunate in my younger years to have mentors who were willing to spend time with me, um, answering questions and, um, and, uh, I, I take that responsibility very seriously too. So I don’t mind people contacting me directly. Yeah. I appreciate that. I’ll share the link in the notes and, um, Thank you again and good luck on AP your first meet, coming up this weekend, right?
Yes, we do. We’re looking forward to it. We, it looks like it’s actually going to happen. We weren’t sure, but it looks like it was wanting to take place. All right. That’s great. Well, yeah, thank you again and have a good night. All right. Thank you. Enjoyed it. Bye.