Freelap Friday Five with Lachlan Wilmot
Lachlan Wilmot has been in the fitness industry going on 15 years, working with both the general population and elite-level athletes. Lachlan completed a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science, and then continued his education with an honors thesis in Sports Science. After involvement with the AIS-AFL and NSW/ACT AFL academies, Lachlan spent seven seasons as a Senior Athletic Performance Coach specializing in strength and power at the GWS Giants AFL Club in Sydney. He is currently the Head of Athletic Performance at the Parramatta Eels Rugby League Club, which competes in the NRL, and started there at the beginning of the 2018 pre-season.
Freelap USA: What is your take on the utilization of trampoline-based “rapid fire” work for athletes? What qualities does this develop, and what is the context for implementation?
Lachlan Wilmot: Personally, I am a big proponent of trampoline work for athletic development. In fact, I like using different surfaces in general, from stiff surfaces for landing and take-off through to soft absorbent surfaces, and trampolines are just another iteration of that surface change. I group my trampoline work into my low-amplitude high-volume application of plyometric training, as it elicits a strong acute response for the athlete with very little chronic or residual fatigue during the following days.Trampoline work elicits a strong acute response with very little chronic or residual fatigue. Click To Tweet
This type of training develops low-amplitude, high-frequency attributes of movement. I typically use it to get more high-velocity movement into my athletes while minimizing their exposure to ground reaction forces or options that elicit a large residual fatigue.
Freelap USA: How do you consider the role of co-contractions in assigning exercises? What are some examples of these types of exercises and what are you trying to get out of them?
Lachlan Wilmot: When assigning any type of exercise, I will always start with my big rocks such as squats and deadlifts, but with my accessory exercises I certainly like to link different musculature together and base a number of movements off specific sling systems that act within the body. I like using co-contraction-based exercises where the aim is to utilize a prime driver, like the glute, but also introduce a secondary action that may involve the hip flexor (like we may see in a gait sequence of the inter-relationship of musculature around the hip).
A simple example of this is within a step-up action. I love using heavy low box step-ups to promote unilateral vertical force application, and then I like to advance this action by loading the contralateral hip flexor through the use of a band to load up a knee drive position on the other leg. This starts to build the interplay of large forces across both sides of the pelvis through antagonist actions.
Freelap USA: How do you navigate the division between “coached” exercises and movements where athletes get a chance to freely “play” and move on their own accord?
Lachlan Wilmot: My reasoning when dealing with these types of exercises comes back to the old medical mantra of “do no harm.” I think if an exercise can hurt an athlete when done incorrectly (deadlifting), you need to be coaching the hell out of it, but when an exercise is more self-limiting or when done poorly only affects the outcome rather than puts your athlete at risk, you can let free play occur more (like an unloaded Turkish Getup or hurdle mobility sequence).
Freelap USA: What are some of the main findings you’ve made in hamstring strength and injury prevention over the last few years?
Lachlan Wilmot: There has been so much development in hamstring research over the past few years, and the problem with this is we get people starting to take sides and argue what is better for injury minimization. Quite frankly, I am sick of people thinking there is just one way, so to answer the question, my main finding is you have to do “everything” periodized correctly.When I plan macro cycles, I try to phase different foci in and out where appropriate. Click To Tweet
My programs all contain isometrics, eccentrics, loaded, unloaded, prone, supine, toes in, toes out, high velocity, low volume, high volume, proximal, distal, and integrated approaches. Will this be all in the same program? Of course not, but when I plan out macro cycles, I endeavor to phase different foci in and out where appropriate, especially in return-to-performance plans.
Freelap USA: What is your general philosophy on implementing plyometric training for a team sport that is logging a lot of work and activity on the field in practice?
Lachlan Wilmot: With any sport, we must consider athletes’ load exposure in skills practice, because ultimately that will dictate what we have left to play with. If a group is not used to plyometric exercises, I always like to start with them implemented into the movement prep of the group’s skills session. This allows me to keep high and low days throughout the week: instead of loading them with plyometric work on their non-skills days, I can build up their tolerance on skill days.
I believe plyometric training encompasses all low-level jump/land training, so I will always start from the beginning, with basic landing drills and low-level coordination drills. This is obviously a good place to start from an LTAD standpoint, but also allows me to gauge the response of the group to the stimulus, insuring I do not overload them from the outset. Plyometric work doesn’t need to be all depth jumps and hurdle work; basic low amplitude options are the key to start any group with.Plyometrics isn’t all depth jumps and hurdle work; basic low amplitude options are a good start. Click To Tweet
As the group builds tolerance, I start to build amplitude and complexity with my plyometric options. Every group/sport will be a little different, so there isn’t a clear-cut answer, but hopefully my thought process around the introduction of plyometric options will give you an idea of how I start the process.