Q&A: Designer Athletes

Jerry Hughes - Indianapolis Colts

Hey Mike,

Keep up the great podcast!

One question for ya; your Designer Athletes article was one of the first articles I ever read on T-Nation.

Still think it’s awesome, but I know it’s been 6 years or so since you published it- what changes would you make now based on what you’ve learned over the years?



Travis –

Thanks for the kind words!

As far as Designer Athletes goes, here are a few random thoughts.

Could you make arguments for some power work?  More unilateral work?  Different exercise selections?  Sure on all accounts.

BUT, overall the template I outlined still works pretty well.

A few changes I might make now (it may help to have two browser windows open so you can toggle back and forth between the article and this blog):

  • I’d almost universally use a front squat early on to get more core function/development, as well as restoring mobility to the ankles, knees and hips.
  • On the single-leg work, I’d just make sure I chose the appropriate exercise for that client based on their needs, goals, etc.  The progressions I’d use will be outlined in the Single-Leg Solution package (to be released next week!)
  • For my accessory posterior chain, I’d almost universally make that either a back extension or a glute-ham raise early on.
  • Not sure why I went so low on the rep-range for the horizontal pressing.  I probably wouldn’t go any lower than 5’s.
  • Vertical pressing would be dependent upon that client.  I like it, but not for everyone.  With that being said, I might use an offset load (i.e. one kettlebell, one dumbbell, etc.) to get a little bit more core development out of it early on.  You could also replace with a push-up variation to get some core/shoulder stabilizer development going on.
  • On the biceps, I’d try to choose something either fat grip or something that will train grip in conjunction with the biceps.
  • The accessory horizontal pull on Friday would be a face pull variation 99% of the time early on.

As you can see, there are obviously things I’d change w/regards to exercise selection, set/rep schemes, as well as overall program dynamics (i.e. we use more foam rolling, mobility work, etc. in our programs now).

However, with a few basic modifications this program can still be quite powerful.  Give it a run and see what it can do for you!

Stay strong



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