Home Posts tagged "Plyometrics"

Exercise of the Week: Heiden with Medicine Ball

Here is a good frontal plane power development exercise that Cressey Sports Performance - FL co-founder Shane Rye introduced recently. Because we aren’t very creative, we just call it a Heiden with Med Ball.

Important coaching cues:

1. The medicine ball (usually 6-10lbs) is held (but NOT bear-hugged) as a counterbalance that helps an athlete load back into the hips on the eccentric component. As such, this is an awesome drill for rotational athletes who tend to drift into the knee instead of loading back into the hip. This side angle should help you to appreciate it better:

2. You’ll notice that the arms still move side to side in conjunction with the lower body pushoff. If the arms aren’t moving, it’s a sign that you are holding the ball too rigidly. You should actually be able to see hip-shoulder separation.

3. Make sure that you are wearing sneakers that provide good lateral support.

4. We’ll usually program 3-6 sets of 4-6 reps, and perform these after a warm-up, but before more aggressive sprint and agility work.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/10/17

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. We missed last week's installment of recommended reading in light of the 4th of July, but today I've got a little extra for you to make up for it.

Physical Preparation Podcast with Mike Young - This was an awesome podcast interview from Mike Robertson that delved extensively into the topic of plyometrics.

Specificity, Delayed Transmutation, and Long-Term Progress - I was reminded of this video during a conversation with our CSP-MA pitching coordinator, Christian Wonders. He commented on how several coaches have remarked lately that a lot of our rising juniors and seniors seem to surge once June/July roll around. It's surprising to them, but not to us.

How to Guarantee You'll Have a Hard Time Getting Client Results - This was a great post from Tony Gentilcore on the topics of setting goals and creating autonomy and competency in clients.

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 9

Compliments of Cressey Performance coach Greg Robins, here are some random tips to help you lose fat, gain muscle, get strong, be healthy, and move well.

1. If you're tested in fitness, train the test.

If you are a powerlifter, Olympic lifter, or training for a standardized physical fitness test (such as those administered by the military/police/fire), I recommend that you keep your training specific to what you will be tested on. If you are a powerlifter, you compete in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Therefore, I believe the majority of your training should be done using the back squat, bench press, and your deadlift stance (sumo, conventional). Variations of those three lifts may be done as a supplement to the main exercise, but should not replace it. The same goes for Olympic lifters with their specific lifts (snatch and clean and jerk).

Furthermore, not much will prepare you better for standardized tests than actually taking the test. If you have to do two minutes of push-ups, do push ups. If you have to run two miles, focus on running two miles faster, not being able to run longer distances. As far as sit-ups go, I think daily high repetition sit-ups will do a number on your body. In my experience, if you want to excel at them, you have to do them. Stick to 1-2x/week of sit-ups at most – again, only if you have to be tested on them. Attack the area with other exercises as well to supplement this specificity.

2. Cure your low-bar back squat woes.

With the back squat: there are three things I see people do that hold them back from moving appreciable weight, staying safe, and being an overall squat ninja. Oddly enough they all depend on each other, like a happy squatting family.

First, they support the bar in their hands. The wrists are mostly likely bent back, and the majority of the weight is actively supported by the arms. This is a nightmare for your squat, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Correct this by keeping the bar lower in the hand, actively working to straighten the wrist (think: knuckles forward, or don't crease a piece of tape on the back of your hand/wrist), and literally pulling the bar down over your upper back like you are trying to break it.

Second, people try to stay too upright. The upright torso position is not what we are after. Similar to the deadlift, what we want instead is to maintain a neutral spine while the angle of the torso increases, keeping the weight over the mid-line of the body. When the bar is positioned lower on the back this equates to a more predominate forward lean; let it happen. In order to do this you need to hold the bar correctly (see point 1), brace the stomach well (draw air into the stomach, not the chest), and have a strong upper back and anterior core that can hold its stiffness.

Thirdly, many folks simply don’t “get” how to use their hips when squatting. In Starting Strength (as an aside, it's appalling how many young "coaches" haven't read this), Mark Rippetoe draws the picture of attaching a piece of string to the tailbone and pulling it straight up out of the hole. I often explain to people the feeling of using the hips out of the hole actually feels like you are pushing the hips back, not up. Imagine someone standing behind you, digging their fist into your tailbone. As you come out of the hole push back on their fist. Check out this video of me squatting 405 for 5. It's a 5RM and a good example of how the hips are going straight up out of the hole (mostly) for reps 1 - 4, but as I fatigue you can see the slight breakdown on rep 5 (of coming forward in the hole) that is common with most people.

3. Jump, jump, jump on it – and only off it, sometimes.

Jumps are a fantastic way to build explosive and reactive strength qualities. While they are not for everybody, those who are able to safely perform jumps need to consider adding them to part of their routine. In a strength and conditioning setting, they should be a staple. Jumps can be divided into a few categories. You can (in general):

• Jump Up: Box Jumps
• Jump Down: Depth Drop
• Jump Up and Down: Box Jump to Depth Drop
• Jump Down and Up: Depth Drop to Box Jump
• Jump Out: Broad Jump
• Jump Laterally: Heiden, Half Kneeling Jump

So what are the differences, and why does it matter? Jumps are more taxing on your body than one might expect. After all, in a similar fashion to lifting weights or sprinting, you are putting a ton of force into the ground as quickly as possible. Additionally, the impact of landing, and the absorption of force, is highly demanding on the body. This is why the box jump has become such a popular tool.

Now, ask yourself if I program 15 jumps for my athlete today, and he decides to jump off the box from 36" every time, what have I really programmed? Is it in line with my general approach now? Probably not. Make sure that you, and your athletes, follow a progression in jumps. Instruct them as to how to perform and dismount the jump, and use more demanding variations such as the depth jump sparingly.

4. Consider a nutritional supplement pyramid.

While perusing the latest research, I came across this case study: The Development of Nutritional Supplement Fact Sheets for Irish Athletes. While the abstract doesn't tell us much about the study in general, I was intrigued by the initiative. In particular, I was interested in how something like this might be useful for the United States. In recent years, nutritional supplementation has become quite pronounced in our country. I'm sure the overwhelming majority of folks reading this article are taking at least one supplement. This is largely in part to the poor quality of our food, the poor quality of our diets, and the mass marketing of these supplements (none of which is changing for the better). What is also apparent is the lack of quality control and general information about what supplements should be prioritized for different populations.

I know we all have our beef, pun intended, with the nutritional pyramid, but have we considered creating one for supplementation?

My thoughts are that it would be a useful way to educate the general population on what is worth taking, what is beneficial but less important, and what should be used sparingly or with caution. As the industry continues to boom, the food quality continues to plunder, and the consumption of such products becomes the norm I think a standardized table seems appropriate.

The closest thing I could find was this table by The Council For Responsible Nutrition.

Does something more in depth already exist? Is it in the works? What do you think?

5. Wall - Sled - Run.

Here is a video on a three step progression you can put to work right away to teach positive shin angle and proper acceleration mechanics with your athletes. Give it a try!



 

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The Neural Fatigue of CNS Demanding Workouts

Q: Why is it that training that is very CNS demanding requires such long recovery periods between workouts. I understand the need for long recoveries between sets, but not between workouts. So why is it that many coaches recommend training things like depth jumps, or speed and agility drills only 1-2 times per week?

A: The truth is that we really don't understand neural fatigue to the extent that we'd like simply because it isn't as easy to quantify or observe. With muscular damage, we can use biopsies in the lab and blood measures (creatine kinase, for instance). Neural fatigue is really only truly assessed by performance measures; it's why "a decline in performance" is about the only true definition of non-volume-induced overtraining.

Here's a very cool read on this front.

Some guys can train at a high-intensity more frequently, while others have to take more time between efforts. This is where it’s as much a science of interpretation as it is of experimentation and application; you’ve got to respond to how each athlete recovers a bit differently.

Eric Cressey
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Talking Plyos

I believe that during bounce drop jumps, the heels should make contact with the ground lightly. Very few athletes have the eccentric strength to land completely on the balls of the feet. You're also putting a lot of undue stress on the Achilles and patellar tendons and limiting your ability to cushion with the hip extensors. Additionally, you're really increasing the amortization phase, therefore killing the very elastic response you're trying to train.

A lot of people will argue that it's counterintuitive in light of the sprinting motion, but I don't see that argument as holding water. Vertical displacement is centimeters in sprinting, but meters in bounce drop jumps, so you're comparing apples and oranges in terms of ground reaction forces. I use different short-response tactics for using just the balls of the feet.

Eric Cressey
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Plyometrics and Growth Plates

Q: I had a question from a strength coach here regarding plyometric training and young athletes, so I thought I would shoot it off. Currently, these figure skating female athletes are 13 years old. They started with the strength coach here six months ago, working on foundational lifts (squat, clean, snatch, skip rope, jump squats, and some single leg stuff).

Another coach mentioned to their mother that they should be doing more plyometrics. Any opinions? My take based on previous reading is potential risk for growth plate injury, and that plyo's should be used cautiously until growth plate closure.


A: I don't think that there is anything wrong with plyos at such an age. Walking is plyometric, and sprinting is about the most plyometric activity you'll find. The bigger issue is why not focus on something with more return-on-investment? About the only thing you'll get from adding a lot more plyos in is an increased risk of overuse injury; they get enough jumping and landings on the ice, in most cases.

Most 13-year-olds are very weak and need to learn proper lifting technique to get ready for the day when they are ready to load the compound movements. Sure, SOME plyos have a place for such athletes, but you have to manage overall training stress; they aren't going to be able to do as much as another athlete who is in the off-season.

Eric Cressey
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Don’t Be So Linear

Got to any gym, and you’ll see loads of people doing cardio at varying intensities, with different machines, listening to different music, and wearing different exercise sneakers. While they each appear unique, the reality is that they’re all stuck in linear movements that always have them moving forward. Take any of these people off their precious ellipticals, treadmills, and recumbent bikes, and you’ll find that they lack frontal and transverse plane stability and carry their weight anteriorly. The solution is pretty simple; get them moving in different ways! The first step is to include some single-leg work in all exercise programming. This does NOT include unilateral leg presses and Smith machine lunges; you should actually be doing some of the stabilization work! Second, make sure that you’re training movements that require full hip flexion (knees get above 90 degrees) and hip extension (glutes fire to complete hip extension). Sprinting meets these guidelines very easy, but cardio equipment that limits range of motion will always fall short. I’m not saying that they don’t have their place; I’m just saying that I’d rather have people outside doing sprints and multi-directional work instead. Third, and most importantly incorporate more backwards and lateral movement in your energy systems work. Here’s an example that I used with an online consulting client of mine recently: Dynamic Flexibility Warm-up The following should be performed in circuit fashion with the designated rest intervals from below incorporated between each drill. A1) High Knee Run: 20 yards A2) Butt Kicks: 20 yards A3) Backpedal: 20 yards A4) Carioca: 20 yards to the right A5) Carioca: 20 yards to the left A6) Side Shuffle: 20 yards to the right A7) Side Shuffle: 20 yards to the left A8) Backpedal: 20 yards A9) Scap Push-up: 15 reps A10) Sprint: 50 yards Week 1: 3 times through, Rest interval: 15s between drills, two minutes between sets Week 2: 3 times through, Rest interval: 10s between drills, two minutes between sets Week 3: 4 times through, Rest interval: 10s between drills, two minutes between sets Week 4: 2 times through, Rest interval: 5s between drills, two minutes between sets Eric Cressey Improved Posture is Not Only Good for your Health, but also good for your Performance.
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Speed and Deceleration Habits

My subscribers know that I believe as much in deceleration training as I do in any sort of speed enhancing-based work… How do you improve speed and deceleration habits?
We’re definitely on the same page on this one. In a nutshell, I just slow everything down for the short-term – starting with isometric holds. Every change of direction has a deceleration, isometric action, and acceleration; I’ve found that if you teach the athlete how his/her body should be aligned in that mid-point, they’ll be golden. My progressions are as follows (keep in mind that you can span several of these progressions in one session if the athlete is proficient): Slow-speed, Full Stop, Hold > Slow Speed, Full Stop, Acceleration > Slow Speed, Quick Transition, Acceleration > Normal Speed, Full Stop, Hold > Normal Speed, Full Stop, Acceleration > Normal Speed, Quick Transition, Acceleration Open-loop > Closed-loop (predictable > unpredictable) With respect to reactive training methods (incorrectly termed plyometrics), we start with bilateral and unilateral jumps to boxes, as they don’t impose as much eccentric force (the athlete goes up, but doesn’t come down). From there, we move to altitude landings, and ultimately to bounce drop jump (depth jumps), repeated broad jumps, bounding, and other higher-impact tasks. Finally, one lost component of deceleration training is basic maximal strength. All other factors held constant, the stronger kid will learn to decelerate more easily than his weaker counterparts. So, enhancing a generally, foundational quality like maximal strength on a variety of tasks will indirectly lead to substantial improvements in deceleration ability – especially in untrained individuals. Eric Cressey Build A Sturdy Foundation. Build an Efficient Foundation.
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Maximal Strength Yields Maximal Vert

With the tests, etc, what would you need to look for in a powerlifting exclusive athlete. Obviously they would focus on strength, but is the speed and rate of force development exercises (reactive training) beneficial as well?

I'm thinking making the SSC more efficient would be beneficial as long as strength is maintained and focused on as well.


Definitely - you're on the right track. There are quite a few lifters who use box jumps and the like in their training. The main interfering factor for a lot of guys is body weight; they just get too heavy for the pounding. If you're 242 or below, though, I think there is a lot of merit to using them. I've subbed in box jumps and broad jumps for DE squat days when I needed to deload or just get the bar off my back for a week.

Interesting little aside...

My buddy Greg Panora was in town back in December for the Christmas holiday, so we got a lift in together. For those who don't know Greg, he's the world record holder at 242 (broke Steve Goggins' old record a few months ago - 1000+ squat, 700 bench, and 800+ deadlift). He lifts at Westside.

Greg is box squatting 495 + greens and blues for speed, and he glances over and sees the Just Jump platform and asks what it is. I tell him we use it to check vertical jump, so he wants to try it. He gets on in beat-up old briefs, Chuck Taylors, and a belt - at a weight of 250 - and jumps 35". Probably could have gone 38" with a deload and proper attire.

Anyone who says maximal strength doesn't matter for jumping and athletic ability is absolutely full of crap. :)

Eric Cressey
www.UltimateOffSeason.com

Lift Heavier. Jump Higher.

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Should Your Heels Touch?


In your opinion should the heels touch the ground lightly during a bounce drop jump. I've heard 'yes' and I've heard 'no' from several coaches and I'm trying to form my own opinion on the subject once and for all.


I think it's a must. Very few athletes have the eccentric strength to land completely on the balls of the feet. You're also putting a lot of undue stress on the Achilles and patellar tendons and limiting your ability to cushion with the hip extensors. You're also really increasing the amortization phase, therefore killing the very elastic response you're trying to train.

A lot of people will argue that it's counterintuitive in light of the sprinting motion, but I don't see that argument as holding water. Vertical displacement is centimeters in sprinting, but meters in bounce drop jumps, so you're comparing apples and oranges in terms of ground reaction forces. I use different short-response tactics for using just the balls of the feet.

Also, what would you conclude if a subject's countermovement jump (30") was identical to his bounce drop jump (30") off of each of the 12", 18", and 24" boxes. Finally, how would you proceed with the subject's training if they decreased to a 29" bounce drop jump off the 30" box? Thanks for the wisdom; your manual is a great resource.


Could just be accumulated fatigue, but I'd train him with a mix of reactive and strength work - with slightly more of an emphasis on reactive work. Stay at 24" for his bounce drop jumps in training and retest every fourth week.

Eric Cressey
www.UltimateOffSeason.com

Is your off-season integrated with the right active recovery strategies?

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