The Lion’s Share: Lower Body Strength Training Secrets Revealed!

If you’ve read “7 Rules for 7 Years”, then you know that my biggest pillars of Strength and Health is “the lower body needs the lion’s share of attention” when it comes to training. 

It fits into the “Strategic Secret of Strength and Health” as taught by Zach Even-Esh: “Athlete the Lower, Bodybuild the Upper”. 

But how exactly do we go about training “athleting” this lower body, giving it the lion’s share of attention?

I’m glad you asked…

Because within this article the secrets will be revealed! 

THE HORSE AND THE WAGON

If we look at the majority of lower body training programs out there today, they’re focused around what the fitness industry calls “The Posterior Chain”. 

Now in all technicality, this phrase “Posterior Chain” just means the back of the body. But in practice, most trainers use it to mean a particular motion of the body: 

The Hip Hinge. 

You know the Hip Hinge if you’ve ever seen a Romanian Deadlift or a Kettlebell Swing. You bring the hips back, your weight on your heels, and the torso forward. Then violently push the hips forward and the torso back while the entirety of the foot remains firmly planted on the ground.  

This kind of explosive strength movement creates great athletic power generation from the hips, the biggest joint in the body…but it has become a fetishistic obsession with trainers over the last 20 years. 

This doctrine was popularized by Pavel Tsatsouline and Dan John, con-current alongside with the rising popularity of Powerlifting and the waning societal interest in Bodybuilding. 

Consequently, the fitness movers and shakers of Crossfit and the Physical Therapy Industry and even the Physique Field alike have hitched their wagon to the Hip Hinge horse. 

And this horse is wearing blinders. 

Because of this, the horse’s single-minded, blinder-driver path has taken the wagon full of athletes and average joes alike in the wrong direction…

Much to their detriment. 

FROM BACK TO FRONT AND ALL THE WAY DOWN!

It was Ben Patrick, the fabled “Knees Over Toes Guy”, who understood that if you just train the Posterior Chain Hip Hinge to create athletic power…and nothing else in the lower body…you’ve got a recipe for disaster. 

Why, you ask?

Because the muscles and joints of the Anterior Chain, the front of the body, are not strong enough to handle the forces being produced by big hip muscles of the Posterior Chain at the back of the body!

That means ACL tears and MCL tears at the knees, Plantar Fasciitis and Shin Splints at the ankles and feet, and all around un-athleticism that manifests itself in poor performance on the field of play! 

Consequently, Ben Patrick and the gang at his company, Athletic Truth Group (ATG), filled in this gap with Anterior Chain dominant work at the Knees, Ankles, and Feet with his ground-breaking Knee Ability Zero Program.

This program features exercises like straight-legged FHL Calf Raises, bent-legged KOT (“Knees Over Toes”) Calf Raises, the flagship Tibialis Raises, and many, many more!

I myself did independent research for Ben Patrick on the efficacy and safety of this kind of Knees Over Toes training from October 2019-January 2022, and ultimately worked as a form coach for his company from February 2022-April 2022. 

However, there was one missing piece of the lower body puzzle that had me stumped, two really when you think about it. 

FROM ALL THE WAY AROUND TO SIDE-TO-SIDE!

You see, there is more to the body than just the Posterior Chain and the Anterior Chain

Those two “Chains” make up what’s called the Sagittal Plane of Motion in the body. It’s the plane of motion where you go from front (Anterior) and back (Posterior). 

In addition to the Sagittal Plane of Motion, there are two more planes of motion available to the human body. 

There is the Transverse Plane of Motion (also known as the Horizontal Plane of Motion), which is the plane of motion where you rotate in a circular pattern. 

And then there’s the Frontal Plane of Motion, which is the plane of motion where you go from side-to-side. 

THE CRITICAL MISSING PUZZLE PIECES 

Rotational movement in the Transverse Plane of Motion, and to a lesser extent, side-to-side movement in the Frontal Plane of Motion, are the critical missing puzzle pieces in training the lower body. 

If you don’t train them, you won’t be getting much out of your training in the Sagittal Plane of Motion…either in the “Posterior” back or the “Anterior” front! 

But there is a unique way they need to be trained…

You see, when it comes to the Transverse Plane of Motion, everybody only trains about External Hip Rotation. You’ve seen it before. 

Clamshells” in Physical Therapy. The “Push Your Knees Out” cue in Crossfit when doing any kind of hip hinging or squatting. “Tactical Frogs” and “90-90” Stretches for “opening up the hips”.

All these things are examples of External Hip Rotation. And just like how Posterior Chain Hip Hinge dominates the training in the Sagittal Plane of Motion, External Hip Rotation dominates the training in the Transverse Plane of Motion.

And it has the same detrimental effects on the athletes and average joes alike. 

MASTER THE LION’S SHARE!

As Dr. Patrick K. Silva explains, “A body lacking internal hip rotation is like a car with no back wheels. Sure, it might keep going, and even steer, but it’s gonna do some damage along the way…

“Hip Internal Rotation Deficiency (HIRD) is present in 95% of the athletic population I work with, being the underlying cause of my clients’ hip pain, knee pain, ankle issues, even low back pain.”

To fix this problem is very simple. You’ve got to train Internal Hip Rotation in the Transverse Plane of Motion with movements like the “Prone Internal Hip Rotation” and the “90-90 Internal Hip Rotation: Back Leg Focus” (progressed and regressed as needed). It doesn’t get any easier than that!

In doing so, you’ll not only fix your problems in the Transverse Plane of Motion, but you’ll also be maximizing your training at the Sagittal Plane of Motion in both the Posterior Chain and the Anterior Chain

Add in Ankle Eversions at the Frontal Plane of Motion, and you will be off to the races! (I do these without the ball as shown in the video, because I hate being dependent on any manner of equipment). 

Work on these two above exercises with high reps of 30-100+ for Tendon and Ligament strength according to the the “Second Rule of Strength and Health”, and you’ll know exactly what it means to “Athlete the Lower”!

You’ll have mastered the Lion’s Share! 

Pulp Fiction Power to you, my friends!

Sincerely,

Richard Barrett

03-19-2023

Written at 5:56 PM, at a Barnes and Noble somewhere in the USA…

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