“Don’t buy complexity; the simpler you make your training, the better the results become.”
– Ryan Flaherty
Ryan Flaherty (@ryanflaherty1) is the Senior Director of Performance at Nike. Prior to holding that position, Ryan was the Founder and President of Prolific Athletes LLC, a sports performance facility in San Diego, California, where he trained some of the world’s best athletes. His clients include Serena Williams, Russell Wilson, the Arizona Cardinals, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, and hundreds of other professional athletes.
While he is well known for dramatically improving his athletes’ speed, more and more athletes (and coaches) seek Ryan out for his training and guidance on injury prevention. Many of Ryan’s clients have made remarkable recoveries from injuries, and several NFL teams and European soccer clubs have sought his methodology to implement into their training programming.
Ryan developed an algorithm called “Force Number” that is based on the hex (or trap) bar deadlift and body weight to predict speed such as the forty-yard dash.
In this discussion, we talk about exercises for reducing injury potential, how Ryan uses the Force Number, what his workouts look like from warmup to finish, how he helped Meb Keflezighi train for his Boston Marathon victory, how to go from sprinting to long distance running, and lots more.
Whether you’re trying to become a better athlete or just less injured from your workouts in any type of training, you’ll want to check out this conversation with Ryan Flaherty, the Savant of Speed!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear an episode with Peter Attia (who introduced me to Ryan Flaherty)? — Listen to his first appearance on the podcast. In this episode, we discuss optimizing blood testing, training for ultra-endurance sports, consuming synthetic ketones, using metabolic chambers, extending longevity by avoiding certain types of exercise, and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Ryan Flaherty:
- How to do dumbbell Bulgarian split squats
- Single-leg step-downs by ProlificAthletes
- 7-way hips by ProlificAthletes
- Ankle flexion
- Seven-way hips by ProlificAthletes
- Close chain clamshell with band by ProlificAthletes
- Seated single-leg box jump by ProlificAthletes
- Step-downs by ProlificAthletes
- Ankle Mobility Exercises to Improve Dorsiflexion by Mike Reinold
- Improving Ankle Plantar Flexion by Movement Rx
- Inversion and Eversion by manitobafitness
- Six Questions About Tempo Training by Mike Robertson, T Nation
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
- The Money Lift: How a Top-Flight Trainer Discovered the Most Important Exercise Every Athlete Should Do by Josh Condon, Men’s Fitness
- USA Track & Field
- How Your Deadlift Max Will Make You Faster by Andy Haley, Stack
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
- Back to the Basics: Hypertrophy by DeWayne Smith, NASM
- Quarterback Guru Ryan Flaherty’s Workout Secrets by Andy Haley, Stack
- Dynamic Warmups Make You Stronger, Faster by Kate Bongiovanni, competitor.com
- Get Better Results With Activation Exercises at FitBodyHQ
- Amortization phase and plyometrics explained at Athlepedia
- Fitness Defined: Concentric and Eccentric Contractions (and Why It Matters) by Nicole Nichols, SparkPeople
- My dog hates phosphocreatine.
- Vastus Medialis Obliquus (VMO), the Key to the Knee by Vivian Grisogono
- Nike+ Training Club App
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Symptoms and Causes by The Mayo Clinic
- Russell Wilson Has a Sprained MCL, Not Expected to Miss Time by Jeanna Thomas, SB Nation
- DCT Proflex
- Cris Carter Explains Why Ex-Browns QB Robert Griffin III Became an NFL Bust by Andrew Lynch, Fox Sports
- Meb Keflezighi’s Boston Marathon Win Is a Victory for Us All by Sean Gregory, Time Magazine
- Nike Connects Athletes Everywhere with the World’s Elite Trainers
- Four Common Errors in the Overhead Squat by Spencer Arnold
- A Simple Drill to Correct Overstriding by Jenny Hadfield, Runner’s World
- Report: Three Oregon Football Players Hospitalized after ‘Grueling’ Workouts by Chantel Jennings, ESPN
- Variety of Causes Can Be at Root of Rhabdomyolysis by Shawn Bishop, The Mayo Clinic
- Speed Trap by Charlie Francis
- Westside Barbell
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- The Bible
- The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson
- Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by John Wooden and Steve Jamison
- The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
- The Inner Ring by C. S. Lewis
- Is speed innate or teachable? [08:37]
- Experiments at USA Track that helped Ryan coach speed. [11:19]
- How much attention does Ryan pay to the foot’s impact point when trying to increase the efficiency of a runner’s stride? [14:22]
- Ryan focuses his research on exercises that produce maximum results within a limited timeframe. [17:14]
- Ryan explains the purpose of a Force Number and how he happened upon it as a metric for improvement. [18:08]
- What protocol would Ryan recommend for a former competitive athlete trying to improve strength output? [20:40]
- How much of his or her own body weight should a healthy adult expect to pull? [23:23]
- What’s a reasonable lifting goal for someone to achieve over the course of a year? [24:38]
- After building a hypertrophic base, how many times a week would Ryan have someone do a hex (trap) bar deadlift workout? [25:27]
- From warmup to end, what would such a workout look like for an elite level athlete? [26:59]
- In addition to seven-way hips, what glute med exercises are good to mix into a weekly routine? [37:25]
- Neglecting these areas will likely lead an athlete to injury. [39:46]
- Improving internal rotation to the femur and ankle flexion. [44:11]
- How did Ryan suspect that Robert Griffin III (AKA RG3) wouldn’t last long in the NFL? [45:57]
- How many inches off the floor should the grips of a hex (trap) bar be, and where should hands be in relation to the feet? [48:43]
- Dropping bar weight vs. lowering quickly. [53:45]
- After sustaining a knee injury on a recent hike, what rehab work might I do for Ryan to clear me for an upcoming ski trip? [55:47]
- The injury-producing machine Ryan would remove from gyms and exercises he would recommend against. [1:00:38]
- Aside from the hex (trap) bar deadlift, the one exercise or stretch Ryan thinks everyone should do. [1:04:29]
- How Ryan used his sprinting to help Meb Keflezighi win the Boston Marathon. [1:05:50]
- How does training a sprinter differ from training a marathon runner? [1:06:53]
- Ryan’s current project at Nike. [1:09:21]
- What does Ryan hate to see at the gym? [1:10:58]
- Simplicity is good. Rhabdomyolysis is bad. [1:14:44]
- Why Ryan hopes The Force Method “is obsolete in two years.” [1:18:24]
- Trainers and performance coaches who had an influence on Ryan. [1:19:38]
- What has Ryan borrowed or adapted from Louie Simmons, in particular? [1:22:25]
- Incorporating weight loss — or gain — into training. [1:24:56]
- What books has Ryan gifted most to others? [1:28:56]
- What advice would Ryan give his younger self? [1:32:25]
- Peter Attia
- Pavel Tsatsouline
- Charles Poliquin
- Dominic D’Agostino
- Serena Williams
- Russell Wilson
- Marcus Mariota
- Jameis Winston
- Meb Keflezighi
- Peter G. Weyand
- Usain Bolt
- Molly Pup
- Amelia Boone
- Robert Griffin III
- Charlie Francis
- Ben Johnson
- Tonie Campbell
- Dan Pfaff
- Louie Simmons
- Buddy Morris
- John Wooden
- C. S. Lewis
- Jay Z
- Tom Brady
Posted on: May 7, 2017.
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