Mitigate Risk of ACL Injury

I’ve been reading your articles and following you since day one, thanks for all the information you put out there.

I recently accepted a job to coach middle school girls soccer. Up to this point, I have only coached boys. Going into the season, I am worried about the ascending injury rate occurring with young women (specifically acl/mcl). Can you point me in the right directions for any exercises, drills, mobility work that can be done to help prevent these types of injuries? Is it a matter of strengthening these areas or mobility ? Are there specific movement I should have them avoid? Any input you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


There are definitely multiple contributing factors in regards to ACL injuries.  Here are some things to focus on:

  1. Proper running mechanics
  2. Foot Strength/Mobility/Flexibility
  3. Hip Strength/Mobility/Flexibility

What we’ve noticed with some of females that have had non-contact ACL issues is quad dominance.  There are a few reasons for this to occur and some are listed above.

Fix running/playing mechanics.  Too many athletes are taught to run on their toes.  As a result of this, it causes quads/calves to be overworked and tibialis anterior & posterior chain to become underutilized.  Having athletes run with a more “whole footed” strike will do a multitude of things:

  1. Increase surface area – which will have a greater dispersal of force
  2. Facilitate tib ant & posterior chain recruitment

Foot Exercises – Here is an article I posted with some foot exercises for them to do.

Next, stay on top of hip health.  Here’s some exercises to perform that will help guide you:

Ground Based Hip Circuit Here is an article posted on a ground based hip circuit we utilize to improve hip strength.
Here’s some videos of stretches that we’ll have athletes perform:

Foot exercises

I was on a podcast a few weeks back and promised a post on different foot exercises we implement.  Here you guys go as promised:

You can perform these however you like.  Sets of 10, 20 or even a set duration.  We don’t perform these to exhaustion, the goal is slow and steady daily progress.

We also target certain areas to dig in and release.  Here is a pic of those areas.  We’ll use different objects of different densities at different points of training & exposure.

We’ll typically go from least to most dense.  10 rolls over each line with each object.  The goal isn’t typically to cause discomfort, we want fascial release, not bruising.

Good Luck Trigs!

Today marks a very exciting, yet sad day in my life as a coach.

9 years ago today, I was fortunate enough to have met this guy:

Over the years I was able to watch him grow and develop. We even posted his 8th grade highlight tape:

The kid beasted it as an 8th grader. After we posted this video, we got a lot of awesome feedback and support. But also got a few negative ones – we had to delete a few nasty ones. As most of you know, people on the internet can be dicks. We didn’t think it was necessary for a kid to get ripped on publicly like that.

But we left one up there –
Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 5.56.10 PM

Well Cyberpump! & everyone else hating on the kid, here’s some news – This kid just left for college on a football scholarship.

So on behalf of him, myself, Freak Strength & Defranco’s Gym:Middle_finger

This past offseason he’s been with me for 30ish weeks. We’ve performed very little actual weight lifting & very little max effort work.

During his summer, like many high school seniors, he took an internship.  Prior to his summer internship, at 180lbs he was able to trapbar deadlift 575lbs, floor press 295lbs & ran a fully electric 4.83 40y dash. For those of you that don’t know, a fully electric 40 is roughly .2-.25sec slower than hand time. Which converts to 4.5-4.6 40y dash. Which is pretty good.

Now, because of his internship, his only chance to workout was at 5am. I can honestly count on 1 hand how many times this unbelievably dedicated kid missed a workout. And it wasn’t because he was hungover, it was because he was dead tired from working all day and accidentally slept through his alarm. Not once did he show up hung-over or whiney because he didn’t want to be there. He came in and worked his ass off at 5am Monday-Friday. And most days, he beat me to the gym!

Due to his time constraint, we were barely able to perform much, if any weight work. Most days we had to skip weights because he had to haul ass home to shower and change before work. All we did was speed work, jumps & explosive throws.

By the end of it, he was able to run a fully electric 4.8 40y for 10 reps! Keep in mind, I cut it after any form deterioration, & that day, I actually had to cut it because he had to leave for work!

The other day we decided to hit some heavy floor presses as well & at a bodyweight of 182lbs he hit 310lbs with ease! He PR’d by 15lbs (with more in the tank) with minimal weight lifting for 2 months! I didn’t test his deadlift, because frankly, I didn’t care enough to. However, I doubt he can’t PR in that also.

Fortunately/unfortunately, now it’s time to say goodbye. Though I don’t need to, I’d just like to wish this kid good luck. I love you bro and I’m so unbelievably proud of you. We all know you’re going to kill it on and off the field. Keep making all of us proud!


Sprints & Drills in a Conjugate Model

Hey Mike, love your work. Anyways, if you’re using a conjugate method of periodization how would you incorporate sprint and speed work/drills? Would the sprints take over the ME lift on the lower day I assume, then strength work follows? Thanks for everything you provide man!



Good question – I’m going to first assume that your question on conjugate method is really concerning the concurrent method.  Don’t worry, it’s a very common mistake.

Now, the answer to that question lies in the question of timing.  This all depends on when/where you are in your training model.

I typically prescribe to a Charlie Francis training model – Vertical Integration.  Early stages of GPP, you want to keep intensities low, so it’s not uncommon to perform speed work on upper body days.  Where as later on down the road, upper body days can be considered low intensity days and speed work is coupled with lower body work.

Keep in mind, I don’t have Max Effort (ME) or Dynamic Effort (DE) days in my programming. So if you plan on sticking on the same program implementation throughout, which is very easy and very common here’s a way you can organize.

Monday – Acceleration, Jumps, Lower (Dynamic)

Tuesday/Thursday – Tempos or Low intensity speed drills, Throws, Low intensity jumps, Upper

Wednesday – Top Speed, Jumps, Lower (Basic GPP)

Friday – Alactic Capactiy, Jumps, Lower (Max Effort)

I would also suggest keeping ME work later in the week so you do not fatigue too early in the week and it takes away from valuable speed work.  Remember, you produce more force running than you do in a squat rack.  Weights need to compliment the speed work if speed enhancement is the goal.

Hope this helps!

Do You Love The Process?

I was listening to someone talk the other day about successful people, whether they be in sports or in business. One of the things that he said that struck me was that, generally speaking, successful people love the process of becoming great more than they love the rewards being great. What does that mean?


To me it means that you are so in love with what you’re doing, that being great at it means more than, say, the money you would get paid because you are great. You respect what you’re doing that much. Take Dave Diehl for instance. Dave was a 5th round pick out the University of Illinois and worked tirelessly to start every game for the Giants as a rookie. He was moved around from position to position on the offensive line, and he played at a high level at each one, eventually earning a Pro Bowl nod. He was one of the first guys in the gym, and always had a great attitude in the weight room, bringing enthusiasm and energy. He loved the process it took to become a great player. The financial rewards he’s received are nice, but it’s not why he does what he does. He does it because when it’s all said and done he wants people to remember him as one of the best to ever play the game. He’s brining the same mentality to the broadcast booth. After he became a broadcaster he flew out to California to study with John Madden and learn from one of the best to ever do it. The guy studies the teams for the games he’s broadcasting as if he were still preparing to play them. If you’re an athlete I think this has to be something that comes naturally. Guys that do it solely for the money usually don’t last too long…usually flaming out once they get it. Guys like Dave Diehl try to get even better once they get the money.


Now let’s flip that over to our world. I’m fortunate enough to work with a guy who LOVES the process! To me there is no one out there doing what Mike Guadango is doing when it comes to making himself better as a coach day in and day out. He’s constantly reading, watching videos, seeking out the best coaches in the world in their disciplines, whether it be sprinting, getting stronger, or rehab and consulting with them to see what they do and how it can be applied to what we do. It’s not just a hobby to him, nor is it about getting ridiculously wealthy or famous. It’s about being great at what he does, so the people he trains can be the best they can be. There’s selflessness there. I’d like to also think I am similar in that regard. My athletes success means a lot to me, so I have to become better as a coach constantly, not because it means more clients for me, but because nothing brings me more happiness professionally than when my athletes do well. One of the things we’ve started doing is meeting on Saturday mornings with coaches from around the area. We sit and talk about various training topics, watch some videos and everyone gives some input. We all learn from each other. It’s the PROCESS, and we love it and I think that sets us apart from a lot of other people.


If you are training people you have to adopt this philosophy. You have to care more about your athletes and their success than you do about yours. Are you constantly pushing yourself to learn more? Are you there for your athletes when they need you? If you became a strength coach for fame or for money…well you picked the wrong business that’s for sure, so you better love the process, or you won’t be in this business for long.


Give me your thoughts below.


As always you can follow me on Twitter @CarozzaStrength and on Instagram @Carozza_Strength


If you are interested in online programming email me at: