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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Follow-up: Using Coach Jay Johnson's strength progression

A while ago, I posted that I had started using Coach Jay Johnson's strength progression after running. Now that I've worked my way up to the longest/hardest routine as a cool down, and used it for a while, here are my thoughts:
1. It doesn't take long to complete the routine, and it is not very difficult strength-work. I agree with Coach's assessment that it is essentially a cool-down.
2. It is not enough to take the place of regular strength routines - especially for me. Because it focuses a lot on the hips, I thought I might be ok using it as a substitute, but I wasn't. My hips started bothering me during runs. So I added the entire Myrtle routine into my warm-up, plus a long hip strengthening session a few times a week.
3. It seems a little unfocused to me. I think I just don't understand the science behind it well enough, but my perception is that I am doing a lot of different exercises for not long enough for anything to matter. I've thought about doubling the reps for everything, even - that seems more like your muscles would actually get fatigued.
4. The final routine is missing some components I'd like to include - namely, the full Myrtle routine, and planks. I added those in separately.
5. There is SOME, but not much, stretching in the routine.

My conclusion (totally personal conclusion, mind you) is that the progression didn't quite do it for me. I have limited time in the mornings, and since I have to focus on my hips and stretching problem areas, I can use my time better by doing targeted exercises. I do still complete one of the routines on occasion, but it's not something I've committed to doing every day.

Your thoughts on post-run? Have you tried these post-run workouts?


  1. Every time you mention Jay Johnson, I think of our local trainer Jay Johnson, whose boot camp I do 2-3x/wk ( While I bet both Jay Johnsons would love each other and gladly work together making people fit and healthy and strong, they strike me as polar opposites for some reason, and I know almost nothing about your Jay.

  2. I haven't tried Jay Johnson. Two things I do like and that I think have helped me a lot are:

    1) step-ups. I do them every chance I can get - whenever I see stairs or a bench or a stool. I focus on doing them in a controlled fashion, with good stability at all points during the exercise

    2) yoga after a run. I get my legs tired, and then spend an hour doing lunges, balancing on one foot, etc. With a teacher correcting my form so I can't cheat. I really think this helps a lot.

    1. Step-ups: great idea. Perfect for hip stability! Thanks!

  3. I skipped to his last routine to take a peek. MEH. I've been to two PTs over the past 6 months, so I pretty much do the exercises that they gave me, which are definitely more intensive/focused/difficult than JJ's choices. I do lots of side clams (in plank position w/a band), bird dog pose (w/band), bridges (single-leg marching), side walk (w/band), plus a few other supplementary hip/core/glute exercises from Runners Connect and Strength Running. Between these exercises, I'll throw in some of the moves from the Myrtle Routine to work on my hip mobility. I've also been doing more lateral drills (carioca, side lunges and walking, etc.), to strengthen my glute medius muscles, which are weak. All told, I try to do at least 15-20 minutes of this 4-5 days a week.

    Additionally, I've joined a gym and LOVE doing Bodypump. and spin class, which really works the glutes and quads (since there are no hills here).

    I'm feeling much better, so I guess it's working. Just have to be diligent about not throwing in too much speed work and not increasing my mileage too quickly. We'll see how long I can go without another lower leg/hip injury. Fingers crossed.

  4. It probably would be fine for someone who didn't have specific needs or who was trying to build strength. Basically someone who wanted to say they were doing more than running without having to put a whole lot of effort in.

  5. I am not great at doing much of anything post run... I will stretch a little after long runs but that's about the extent of my post-run process... which is probably not healthy but I am just lazy when it comes to doing something after running!!

  6. I've started doing a lot of my leg strengthening work, and some upper body stuff, post-run in the last year or so. I really like that approach better than as a warm up. I find if my heart rate is already elevated, and my legs are obviously warmed up from a run, I don't have as much DOMS the next couple of days. Mind you, when I say "strengthening", it's sort of a ramped up version of what Coach Jay does, just with waaaaaay more emphisis on the hips and glutes. But you're exactly right, I think the key for working professional adults with limited time, is finding the most efficient version of a workout that works.

  7. Sometimes I hate how much supplemental training needs to come into play, but if it keeps us off the DL, it's worth it, no? Thanks for the assessment of Jay's program--always good to hear it from a user's perspective.