The trainer behind Georges St-Pierre, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquaio, Troy Polamalu, and hundreds of other professional athletes, has a bone to pick with almost everything propagated in high school and college weight rooms across the country. Sport Science Lab founder Gavin Macmillan argues that an over-emphasis on Olympic-style lifting perpetuates a culture of slow, non-functional athletes. Instead, he says we should be built from the ground up – with foot strength, balance training, rhythm, and elastic explosiveness.
Athletes from all over the world come to the Sport Science Lab in San Juan Capistrano, California to follow MacMillan's functionally-focused philosophy. "Humans never move in space in any sport with any load on them," he says. "Controlling your limbs at a high rate of speed is what leads to domination."
A typical MacMillan circuit follows a clear formula: An athlete will start with a ten-minute warm-up, usually on a bike or a strider, before transitioning into footwork and balance training. From there, he engages in a stretching-and-strengthening stage to increase mobility before entering an intensive core series. Sessions usually end with rigorous sprint work. It's a brutal and, according to MacMillan's growing roster of top athletes, effective circuit that doesn't break down the body like traditional strength training. Here is a sample circuit from MacMillan that you can try in the gym or at home.
"The best and simplest way to get a high level of fitness is doing repeat 100 yard sprints," says Gavin. Unless you are a conditioned athlete, Gavin recommends running them at about 80 percent of your possible intensity. After completing one, you have a 75-second window to jog back and get ready for the next. In this way, you move between your anaerobic and aerobic systems. Do about 8 to 10 repetitions.