Purpose: This Power-Up Prep exercise is a progression of the Rock Back Sit-Push Forward Stand: Intermediate exercise, and specifically focuses on the eccentric (resisting gravity) portion of the movement, where the dog is controlling the movement from the stand and slowly returning to the sitting position. The focus of this exercise is slowing the return to the sit.
The eccentric contraction is actually the portion of the movement that increases strength through the muscle, and can be very revealing… not only as an assessment for dogs newer to formal conditioning exercises, but also in dogs thought to be strong… But who may be suffering from muscle imbalances.
Equipment: Plyo Box (a peanut is not necessary), Sitting Platform
Targets: This Power-Up Prep exercise not only works to strengthen the rear end (quads, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors), but also challenges the “core” (epaxials, hypaxials, and abdominals), and works to improve proprioception. This is a challenging exercise for us, as we are just 11 weeks TPLO on the right side the day this video was recorded (and I think we look A-MAZING)!
As the dog becomes stronger and more confident, the eccentric phase will become slower and more controlled taking 2-3x as long. This is demonstrated in the Power-Up: Expert variation.
Watchpoints: The main points of focus for this exercise are…
- Square Sit
- Even loading and push off through rear feet
- Rear feet staying still
- Front feet moving through space and contacting elevated surface at about the same time (not stepping up one at a time)
- Lowering down slowly
- Front feet touch at the same time as, or after the hocks (not before)
- Square Sit
- Deviation from these points of alignment might mean your pup isn’t ready for this movement, or is beginning to fatigue.
NOTE: Keep in mind this exercise is VERY challenging initially. Be on the lookout for signs your pup is fatiguing. Also, if your front foot platform is too high, the exercise will be too hard / impossible. If your platform is too low, the dog will want to step forward vs “Power-Up” forward.