Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Hidden Gem of Plyometrics NO One Talks About

The basics of strength and conditioning come down to one formula. Everything else is built around this. 


The more force we can produce the faster we run, higher we jump and stronger we will be. 

We can do this two ways: increase mass (resistance training like squats and deadlifts) or increase acceleration (plyometrics like jumps and sprints). This is a spectrum not an absolute, and in between would include weighted jumps, kettlebell swings/cleans/snatches and olympic lifts to name a few. 

H/e what is being missed in the plyometric world, THE HIDDEN GEM, is NOT in the initial jump like most coaches and people assume and seems logical at first glance. The initial jump does have merit, but the REAL BREAD AND BUTTER of a plyometric is actually in the LANDING. 

  • In landing we're learning how to absorb force properly, which decreases injuries, allows for quicker transitions w/ less energy as well as to better change levels. (Almost all traumatic injuries occur during deceleration. Look at ACL tears, it's almost always during the landing after a jump.) 
  • Landing is the fastest part of the movement. It's where our body will develop the MOST FORCE. Therefore it's where we get the most out of the exercise. It's also the most stressful and why it's pivotal to progress athletes correctly w/ a foundation of strength to handle that landing first, and avoid too much volume. This is where we get the real gains in force production, it's NOT in the initial jump.

During a box jump, we're raising where we'll land in order to learn to land w/ babysteps (less force to absorb). As we progress the box should actually GET SHORTER rather than TALLER.

We're jumping as high as we can regardless, the landing will become more difficult as the box gets lower to the ground b/c the body will be traveling further. More time in the air means more acceleration means more force to be absorbed. 

Loading up boxes to ridiculous heights isn't training, it's entertainment, a circus act. It'd be similar to a fighter throwing a punch harder when 5' away than 1' away.  

Not only is this dangerous and silly, but it's also of little to no value to an athlete's training. Anyone can do this stuff, it does NOT aide performance. 

My best cue for jumping is to do so LIKE A NINJA. 

  1. Jump as high as you can regardless. 
  2. Land w/ no noise in athletic position ready to move.

For more infomation Click Here: How To Become A Ninja

A friend of mine actually showed me this book. Apparently he bought it when he was a kid, and it is fantastic. The pictures alone make it worthy of anyone's coffee table. 

Learning Movement

We have to do a movement 1,000x perfectly before we can do it w/o conscious thought. In competition, this becomes very important, b/c we can't be thinking about how we're jumping if we want to play well, too much internal focus. We need to be thinking about the game. 

In the batters box an athlete can't be thinking about his/her swing, s/he needs her/his head on the ball. The 1,000 perfect swings needed to have already happened so that the athlete's head can be clear and the bat can fly how it needs to in order to connect how we want it to. 

Same thing here, learning to land properly in a controlled environment that way it happens automatically during competition, w/o thinking, just the way we want it to. 

  • Start w/ arms high (this aides downward propulsion that we'll have to overcome and will in turn actually make us jump higher)
  • Throw arms + load hips
  • Jump as high as possible whether it's a 10" or a 36" box
  • Land by absorbing the force (no noise, toe-heel, opposite of the jump) into athletic position, loaded and ready......LIKE A NINJA

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