Get Your Hops Up with Lifeline USA
Training program from John Hinds, former NBA Strengh Coach.
by Colin Powers
Lifeline USA, a long time contributor and innovator in the world of athletic training, has recently launched a national distribution campaign through Sports Authority to promote their movement specific training equipment and methodology. If you’re a consumer, you might not know the name because Lifeline has previously only sold their equipment directly to gyms and fitness centers, and so have not had their products available to the greater public for personal use. Now anyone can buy their training devices either online or nationally at major sporting goods stores, so keep an eye out.
I met with the guys to take a look at three of their products, the Pullup Revolution, Power Wheel, and the Portable Power Jumper, as well as discussing basketball specific training for improving foot speed, jumping ability and strength. Lucky enough, John Hinds, a lead trainers for the company and one of the nation’s top fitness innovators and practitioners, has a pretty solid basketball background…he was the strength coach for the L.A. Clippers in the early 90s and also served as the head instructor at the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Dude knows his shit. At 46, he’s still yoked up and at 6-2 dunks with ease. At 24, I can occasionally glance the rim. Damn.
For the young ball-players out there, Hinds’ power jumper program will be of great appeal. As he said, ‘The only thing I use for jump training is the power jumper for all my high school athletes. And the average since I started it, vertical jump improvement over a 12 week off-season sessions, is 8 inches. That’s the average…and what’s even more crazy, broad jump’s go up in numbers of a foot. And what does broad jump translate into? Speed.’ Using an adjustable system of cables attached along the shoulder blades behind the neck and as well as footholds to be placed below the arches, Hinds has developed a resistance based training system that has yielded an established statistical track record of improving functional jumping ability.
Using his 2-1-none formula (2 resistance cables, 1 resistance cables, 0 resistance cables), Hinds has designed a workout that gradually builds strength, starting in the feet, toward quicker and higher jumping. Fifteen minutes, twice a week, and athletes across the board have seen huge improvements in both their vertical and broad jumping capabilities. The training sessions don’t involve completing thousands of jumps or jumping with excessive weight resistance (in fact, the ideal amount of resistance for speed and jump training is 20-30 percent of body weight). ‘Proof’s in the pudding…one of things I love about this is that every kid can do this. You can do vertical jumps, you can do horizontal jumps, off one leg, and off both.’ Also, the entire Portable Power Jumper apparatus weights about two pounds, so it’s no burden transporting it to and from gyms, playing fields, etc.
As I watched Hinds demonstrate many of the exercises and even got involved a bit myself (by the way, he got rid of my lower back-pain within about 45 seconds), you can see that there is no gimmick or marketing scheme going on here. Yes, his training program is physically demanding, but it is also very sophisticated and advanced in its understanding of the interconnectedness of all our body mechanics. All his workouts use ‘the body’s natural movements to achieve a desired goal,’ whether that be weight loss, strength/speed/jumping improvement, etc.
With his system of resistance cables and kettle bells, Hinds trains the body to yield functional results by focusing on exercises that mirror what is actually required of an athlete in their given sport. For all the nice benefits of weight-room muscles when chilling at the beach this summer, a lot of those exercises are structured in ways that do not directly correlate to the real world physical demands of playing out on the court. For example, take the bench press: When do you ever have to complete that specific motion on the court? Maybe if you’re on the bottom of a pile and Big Baby lands on you. Other than that nightmare of a situation, the muscles built in that traditional kind of exercise are not being trained to hone the balance and powerful movements the game challenges you to perform every time you step out on the court. It isolates muscle groups but does not build coherence between different areas of the body that will be called upon to work in conjunction when playing.
Hinds and the people at LifelineUSA address this culture of misdirected training with their products. Using body weight and the intensive resistance latent in the different sets of resistance cables, athletes of any level can complete a full-body workout that will directly improve performance. They have a passion for this stuff, and the background and training pedigree that legitimizes their methods. I can tell you first hand that they are not selling bullshit. Their products and training curricula are authentic and their claims are documented (the Power Wheel was named the best core trainer in the world by the University of California, Berkeley).
LifelineUSA has a wide array of strength and fitness products available at their website listed below. I will post some specifics from my interview with John in the days to come, as well as working with him to develop a specific jumping and strength program that some of you readers might be interested in following (the pull-up workouts are pretty nasty). Stay tuned, and please check out monkeybargym.com as well as lifelineusa.com for product details as well as videos of different workout techniques.