I recently had the opportunity to learn from one of my most admired strength and conditioning professionals, Dr. Matt Rhea, about ground-breaking research and practical application of Sequence Training for Sports Conditioning. Although I have been incorporating Sequence Training sets, Dr. Rhea has been doing some amazing research and was kind enough to share the protocols they found to be most effective.
Not to be confused with complex training or circuit training, Sequence Training involves performing a series of exercises specifically designed to target a sport-specific adaptation; such as standing combat, jumping power, explosive strength, and speed.
Research findings are astounding. After 12 weeks of training with college football athletes, strength adaptations were 150% greater for sequence training versus conventional training, and over 50% greater with sequence training versus complex training. In high school athletes, an average of 18% jumping power, 23% squat max, and 11% powerclean max improvements occurred after 8 weeks of training.
Ok, that might sound impressive, but why does it work? Sequence training offers a higher physiological training stress, which results in greater strength and power adaptations. The sequence starts with a neurological activation exercise, which transfers into the next movement. The sequence order and exercises are specifically chosen so that each exercise enhances the next. Although the targeted sport-specific adaptation is last exercise in the sequence, numerous adaptations occur along the chain.
Sequence Training is very efficient and effective. It leaves more time for sport-related skill practice while gaining a greater benefit. Only 3 sets of 8 exercises are required. Rest periods and exercises are chosen to mimic the sport`s physiological demands and movement patterns. There is still a lot of research regarding the specific sequences for different sports, adaptations, and positions. 1375 sequences have been tested to date, with new data every week!
By the way, have you ever wondered why are we seeing improved sport performance and record-breaking times? Well, it`s because of dedicated professionals like Dr. Rhea…who continuously strive towards the next level. Sport Performance is a constantly evolving field in the relentless pursuit of excellence. Much has been learned, and much is still needed to learn. That is one of the many reasons I love it!