Top 5 Exercises You Won't See on LOD Athlete



Below is a list of some exercises you won't see in Line of Departure Athlete programming. For the most part, I exclude exercises for two primary reasons:

  1. Too time intensive to coach/learn AND a simpler alternative exists
  2. Puts the athlete at risk of injury without a worthwhile return in developing a fitness characteristic

It's nothing personal about these movements or those who like to do them. If you are really into into learning or progressing a exercise listed below, that's awesome. Take the time to get better at it and enjoy the moment when you get it. You just won't see it here.

  • Muscle Ups - This is a highly technical gymnastics movement. Much respect to the gymnasts of the world, but it's not something I believe the rest of us need to do. If you're absolutely craving a muscle up, do it as a stand-alone exercise during some kind of skill work. Start with doing them on a pull-up bar... instability on rings can put your rotator cuffs in a bad spot. I would discourage utilizing muscle ups as a conditioning tool or as a part of a multi-movement conditioning circuit. 
  • Rebound Box Jumps - By rebounding, I mean hopping off a box to instantly rebound and jump back on top of it. Box jumps are a popular and powerful plyometric tool, and can be great for conditioning purposes as well. The issue with rebounding is the amount of fast tension placed on the achilles tendon, which connects the calf to the heel bone. The repetitive nature of the exercise when conducted in conditioning circuits puts the achilles in a vulnerable position for overuse injuries or at worst, a traumatic injury.  I highly recommend stepping down from Box Jumps, even during conditioning efforts. 
  • Kipping Pull Ups - You won't find any variation of kipping pull ups here. The Pull Up and Chin Up are terrific strength exercises for upper body development, but kipping turns it into a skill-based, gymnastics/conditioning movement. The purpose is honestly lost on me. Kipping puts a tremendous amount of stress on your shoulders and biceps at the bottom of the swing. I managed to partially tear my bicep doing butterfly kipping pull ups several years ago, and could knock out 40-50 at the time. Never again. 
  • Kipping Handstand Push Ups - Again, a awesome strength movement which shouldn't be turned into a skill-based conditioning tool. Do strict Handstand Push Ups, don't kick your legs around. 
  • American Kettlebell Swings - The movement standard for the American kettlebell swing is to generate power from hip extension to move the kettlebell directly overhead with arms extended. I prefer the standard kettlebell swings (or Russian KB swing) where the swing comes to about eye-level, with arms parallel to the ground. Why? I can reduce the volume, and increase weight to get the desired effect, whether it's for conditioning or strength accessory work. The Russian swing is less likely to lead to the athlete using anterior shoulders to guide the kettlebell upwards, as I've commonly seen with the American version. 
  • Overhead Squat - Walk into a gym that has Overhead Squats programmed. You will see some funky looking stuff happening. It's a hard lift to learn, and a hard lift to progress. Proponents of the overhead squat argue that it's great for correcting movement and muscular irregularities. Somehow, those irregularities are only visible when doing the overhead squat... Not worth the time.
  • Snatch - Already explained here why I'm not a fan of the snatch for most athletes.
  • The Jerk - My reasoning against the Push Jerk is similar to the Snatch - it's just not worth the time.  It takes time to coach and develop, overloads the shoulders, and requires a very athletic catch always looks like it's one inch away from disaster. Instead, I love the Push Press, which requires a only a single dip of the hips to generate power, and then push the weight overhead. Simple and efficient.