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Hi/Lo Lifting System for Sports

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Introduction to the Hi/Lo Lifting System for Sports

I learned the Hi/Lo system from track coach legends Dan Pfaff and Boo Schexnayder. On a Hi day athletes pair sprint and jump training with high intensity, multi-joint lifts in the weight room. These lifts include Olympic lifting derivatives (power cleans, power snatches, various pulls, push presses, push jerks, etc.), squats and squat variations, and bench press and its variations. These types of lifts, sprinting, and jumping all involve maximum effort, high speeds (or at least intent to move at high speed in the case of heavy squats and heavy bench press), and laser-like focus. As such, these days are taxing on the nervous system and are therefore best followed by a Lo day. Performing two Hi days back-to-back would be neurologically difficult and perhaps even counterproductive.

In contrast to Hi days, Lo days are designed to assist recovery, supportive activities and lifts, and conditioning. Lo days are not necessarily easy as their volume can be high and therefore quite tiring. However, they do not require the maximum effort, focus, and high speed of movement of a Hi day. Activities on a Lo day can include tempo runs, supportive/assistance lifting circuits with lifts such as rows, hamstring work, hip lifts, shoulder and arms lifts, etc., mobility work, and body weight routines.

I like to implement the Hi/Lo system in the offseason when athletes have 5 or 6 days per week to train and their practice and competition schedule is light.