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Plyometrics

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Saber2

hahaha I love the term "Partial Artist"

To chase solely speed or solely strength is the path to mediocracy. Its like trying to make water with only hydrogen or only oxygen. However the amount of emphasis is dependent on the athlete's current abilities and the sport they are competing in. I am guilty of this two but I am after the magic bullet to solve all my athletic dilemas. Truth is it doesn't exist, you have to keep working both strength and speed to become a well rounded athlete. Its a quest that comes easier for some than others. Like slizzardman once told me, "you have to learn to enjoy the process."

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Ortprod

Just to bring this back to the original point and to clarify for whomever did not pick up on it:

the training adaptations are not velocity specific, they are motor unit activation specific. As long as you recruit the right motor units by trying to achieve maximal accleration, even percieved 'slow work' with maximal loads will make you faster.

...in other words; when you try to move faster, whether or not you actually move faster, you are training for speed.

Poliquin wrote an article on the use of plyos mixed with weight lifting not too long ago. The conclusion was there was a better result from combining weight lifting and plyometric methods than just using plyometrics on their own.

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Joshua Naterman
Just to bring this back to the original point and to clarify for whomever did not pick up on it:
the training adaptations are not velocity specific, they are motor unit activation specific. As long as you recruit the right motor units by trying to achieve maximal accleration, even percieved 'slow work' with maximal loads will make you faster.

...in other words; when you try to move faster, whether or not you actually move faster, you are training for speed.

Poliquin wrote an article on the use of plyos mixed with weight lifting not too long ago. The conclusion was there was a better result from combining weight lifting and plyometric methods than just using plyometrics on their own.

This is true, but it is a tricky thing. As Ido pointed out near the beginning, in order for heavy loads to positively affect RFD you have to be A) trying to accelerate as fast as possible and B) Turning on the acceleration as quickly as possible once concentric action begins. This second part is where plyometrics and explosive methods are useful because a combination of these two allows you to train the body to recruit motor units in a more syncronous manner.

Even slow twitch muscle fibers reach full force production in vivo in 60-70 ms. That's faster than just about any amortization phase in any movement, and without question it is faster than any dead-start movement. Most people focus on fast twitch fibers because they are capable of producing more force per fiber due to greater size (and, due to proper specific training over time, a greater percentage of the total muscle cross sectional area). Unfortunately, methods used for this often take more than a quarter of a second to develop maximum force in the movement. If amortization is 100-200ms and we are training with methods that take longer to produce maximum force than this period, we are training the body away from maximal recruitment synchrony, which means we are not optimizing speed of TOTAL recruitment. If it takes you 400ms to recruit all of your motor units but you are off the ground in 280ms, this movement is missing approximately 30% of your maximal force capability! Without gaining any strength, if you train for a shorter time of total recruitment, your performance will increase drastically. Once this is accomplished, you are wasting your time if you are doing anything beyond maintaining this total recruitment speed. We all know that neural learning is a fairly quick process compared to increasing your maximal strength by 30%, and total recruitment speed is 100% neural learning, so this is often the first thing that any aspiring athlete should develop as this ability enhances all other aspects of training. Once this is accomplished, further improvements will come almost exclusively from increasing maximal strength.

A side note: You may have noticed that amortization, even in elite athletes, is slower than the slowest twitch fibers can produce maximal force. This means that even your slow twitch fibers are totally capable of contributing to your explosive and reactive strength. If you only have 20% slow twitch fibers but have not taken the time to train them to be recruited simultaneously then you are missing out on up to 25% of your potential explosive ability. Because of this, longer sets of very low intensity explosive and plyometric work can really, really enhance your performance. (I know, that is something of a side note and not directly related to this conversation's original topic. It is still important when considering training for maximal ability!)

As sports activity does often include plyometric work due to the very nature of most sports, during most parts of training time it is not necessary to focus excessively on plyo work. In some sports, like sprinting, the entire sport is plyometric and this further reduces the need to focus on reactive training. Explosive training is different. Most sports are much more reactive than they are explosive, but many sports still depend on explosive strength to perform well. In basketball, many defenders attempt to block shots from a dead stopped position. It is not as much of a reactive jump as it is an explosive jump. In track events and any running sport, we all tend to take off from a dead start at the beginning of runs. The take-off phase is purely explosive, and this phase of sprinting especially is as critical for success as all the individual strides thereafter. Same goes for football linemen. In fact, linemen and Olympic lifters have the greatest reliance on highly developed explosive strength for performance out of all the athletes I can think of. I believe that combat athletes come next, as much of combat strength expression is explosive in nature rather than reactive. We can go down the list, and eventually we will see that nearly all athletes, from O-lifters to golfers, rely on explosive strength to some degree. So, how do we work on this? Plyometrics can't help much, as explosive strength does not rely on the stretch reflex and pretty much all plyometrics only utilize the most mechanically advantageous portions of any given ROM.

The trick here is to either spend a portion of training time developing this total recruitment speed and then maintaining it through the use of 60% or less 1RM loads, often from a bottom position (beginning of concentric ROM). Once you've developed your total recruitment speed you can put a much greater emphasis on maximal strength acquisition and simply maintain the total speed of recruitment with inherently explosive sport practice and with a small portion of training time dedicated to the maintenance of this total recruitment speed. Realistically, this should be a very beginning part of training and should not be taking up much time in any advanced athlete's training as they should already have accomplished this a long, long time ago and simply be performing maintenance once total time of recruitment is as close to amortization time as possible. If not, be prepared to see substantial increases in sport performance as total time of recruitment drops. Once you're pretty close to amortization you aren't going to get nearly as much out of spending lots of time here as you will spending time on maximal strength with most athletes since most athletes have a lot more potential strength to gain than potential recruitment time to lose, at least by percentage.

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Ortprod

I like it Sliz, well said. :)

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cccp22
Just to bring this back to the original point and to clarify for whomever did not pick up on it:
the training adaptations are not velocity specific, they are motor unit activation specific. As long as you recruit the right motor units by trying to achieve maximal accleration, even percieved 'slow work' with maximal loads will make you faster.

...in other words; when you try to move faster, whether or not you actually move faster, you are training for speed.

Poliquin wrote an article on the use of plyos mixed with weight lifting not too long ago. The conclusion was there was a better result from combining weight lifting and plyometric methods than just using plyometrics on their own.

This is true, but it is a tricky thing. As Ido pointed out near the beginning, in order for heavy loads to positively affect RFD you have to be A) trying to accelerate as fast as possible and B) Turning on the acceleration as quickly as possible once concentric action begins. This second part is where plyometrics and explosive methods are useful because a combination of these two allows you to train the body to recruit motor units in a more syncronous manner.

Even slow twitch muscle fibers reach full force production in vivo in 60-70 ms. That's faster than just about any amortization phase in any movement, and without question it is faster than any dead-start movement. Most people focus on fast twitch fibers because they are capable of producing more force per fiber due to greater size (and, due to proper specific training over time, a greater percentage of the total muscle cross sectional area). Unfortunately, methods used for this often take more than a quarter of a second to develop maximum force in the movement. If amortization is 100-200ms and we are training with methods that take longer to produce maximum force than this period, we are training the body away from maximal recruitment synchrony, which means we are not optimizing speed of TOTAL recruitment. If it takes you 400ms to recruit all of your motor units but you are off the ground in 280ms, this movement is missing approximately 30% of your maximal force capability! Without gaining any strength, if you train for a shorter time of total recruitment, your performance will increase drastically. Once this is accomplished, you are wasting your time if you are doing anything beyond maintaining this total recruitment speed. We all know that neural learning is a fairly quick process compared to increasing your maximal strength by 30%, and total recruitment speed is 100% neural learning, so this is often the first thing that any aspiring athlete should develop as this ability enhances all other aspects of training. Once this is accomplished, further improvements will come almost exclusively from increasing maximal strength.

A side note: You may have noticed that amortization, even in elite athletes, is slower than the slowest twitch fibers can produce maximal force. This means that even your slow twitch fibers are totally capable of contributing to your explosive and reactive strength. If you only have 20% slow twitch fibers but have not taken the time to train them to be recruited simultaneously then you are missing out on up to 25% of your potential explosive ability. Because of this, longer sets of very low intensity explosive and plyometric work can really, really enhance your performance. (I know, that is something of a side note and not directly related to this conversation's original topic. It is still important when considering training for maximal ability!)

As sports activity does often include plyometric work due to the very nature of most sports, during most parts of training time it is not necessary to focus excessively on plyo work. In some sports, like sprinting, the entire sport is plyometric and this further reduces the need to focus on reactive training. Explosive training is different. Most sports are much more reactive than they are explosive, but many sports still depend on explosive strength to perform well. In basketball, many defenders attempt to block shots from a dead stopped position. It is not as much of a reactive jump as it is an explosive jump. In track events and any running sport, we all tend to take off from a dead start at the beginning of runs. The take-off phase is purely explosive, and this phase of sprinting especially is as critical for success as all the individual strides thereafter. Same goes for football linemen. In fact, linemen and Olympic lifters have the greatest reliance on highly developed explosive strength for performance out of all the athletes I can think of. I believe that combat athletes come next, as much of combat strength expression is explosive in nature rather than reactive. We can go down the list, and eventually we will see that nearly all athletes, from O-lifters to golfers, rely on explosive strength to some degree. So, how do we work on this? Plyometrics can't help much, as explosive strength does not rely on the stretch reflex and pretty much all plyometrics only utilize the most mechanically advantageous portions of any given ROM.

The trick here is to either spend a portion of training time developing this total recruitment speed and then maintaining it through the use of 60% or less 1RM loads, often from a bottom position (beginning of concentric ROM). Once you've developed your total recruitment speed you can put a much greater emphasis on maximal strength acquisition and simply maintain the total speed of recruitment with inherently explosive sport practice and with a small portion of training time dedicated to the maintenance of this total recruitment speed. Realistically, this should be a very beginning part of training and should not be taking up much time in any advanced athlete's training as they should already have accomplished this a long, long time ago and simply be performing maintenance once total time of recruitment is as close to amortization time as possible. If not, be prepared to see substantial increases in sport performance as total time of recruitment drops. Once you're pretty close to amortization you aren't going to get nearly as much out of spending lots of time here as you will spending time on maximal strength with most athletes since most athletes have a lot more potential strength to gain than potential recruitment time to lose, at least by percentage.

************I realize that i am bringing up an old thread but are there any "true" plyometric exercices for the upperback such as in the rowing motion?

Brandon Green

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Philip Chubb

Clapping rows?

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cccp22
Clapping rows?

************Sounds good. Wonder if plyo's actually work for upper back? I hear upper back plyo's have atendency to involve the biceps?

Brandon Green

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Philip Chubb

Giants and tap swings maybe? Catching the bar with straight arms?

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Quick Start Test Smith

Regarding lower body plyometric stuff, this guy looks like what he does works for him:

Dang!

:mrgreen:

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Philip Chubb

I wish I could jump that high...

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Joshua Naterman

That is pretty crazy. Best I have ever done is bottom of my pecs, and that was when I was on my ship and trained for like 6 months straight with jumps over broom handles.

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Philip Chubb

Is that all you did to jump that high slizzardman? That is a good height for just jumping over a broom. You are around 6 feet right? I am looking to be able to jump as high as I can without using weights for anything other than structural work.

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Joshua Naterman

I was doing quite a bit of deadlifting and front squatting on a smith machine (all we had), but that was very generalized strength training. Nothing specifically for jumping. I was fairly strong, I was pulling 505 for 2 reps in deadlift. Not quite sure what I was squatting full ROM but I was doing about 515 for heavy partials on the smith machine and I could do about 15 reps with 270 lbs on leg extensions with a single leg. That's part of why natural leg extensions are a joke for me even now.

The practice jumping is all I did specific to jumping.

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Philip Chubb

That is a pretty nice deadlift! I wonder if doing it on a ship would make it easier when you got back to doing it on land. Anyways, I guess that jumping was all you really needed to use the power you had gotten. I am on one leg NLCs now so I am hoping it will transfer the other way and give a nice boost to my vertical.

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Joshua Naterman

Good god man! :P

NLC work will transfer more to sprinting than vert. Heavy, heavy partial squats in the strong range will transfer very directly to vert.

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Philip Chubb

Thanks! I don't have access to a squat rack anymore so I may just bite the bullet and do some hang cleans or jump shrugs.

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Blairbob

Speed DL, shrugs/pulls from the knee.

Hang cleans are another good thing.

Heavy partial squats go through a similar ROM as bar or hex bar DL.

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Joshua Naterman

Agreed, trap bar DL or trap bar strong range work is an excellent substitution. I think doing speed versions of that would be outstanding.

Hack squats work very well too. Hack squat = deadlift with bar behind your legs. More quad intensive. Bottom line is that the stronger and faster your quads are the higher you will jump.

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Philip Chubb

How interesting! Especially because I always hear the quads don't do much and it is all about the posterior chain for jumping. But I have added a few new exercise to my leg work and seen some improvement. One is basically a reverse GHR which is really quad intensive.

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Joshua Naterman

Yes, I love hanging leg extensions! I do them sometimes for fun :) I am front squatting 1-2x per week now (mostly 1x) and doing quite a bit of Buddy Lee style rope jumping with all sorts of footwork and I am getting pretty fast, so between that and the occasional power jumping that I do I should see very nice results. My long term goal is to touch a 10 foot rim with my head. I know, I know... dreams hahaha!

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Philip Chubb

Bodyweight leg extensions rock. They added like an inch to my legs it seems..but between that and stiff leg jumping rope plus all the other work, I jump higher and higher everyday. Another thing I have been playing with is calve raises up to the big toe. Like ballet. Good luck on that goal! You can totally do it! I am looking to be able to jump around 30 inches with just bodyweight training.

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Donar
How interesting! Especially because I always hear the quads don't do much and it is all about the posterior chain for jumping.

Here's a quote from Bret Contreras:

I would estimate that for most individuals the quads contribute around 40% of the locomotive power of a standing vertical jump, followed by about 15% from the calves/solei, 15% from the glutei maximi, 10% from the anterior delts, 10% from the hamstrings, 5% from the adductores magni, and 5% from smaller muscles such as the upper pecs and toe extensors.

And another one:

I would estimate that for most individuals around 30% of the locomotive propulsion in top speed sprinting comes from the glutei maximi, followed by 15% hamstring contribution, 15% adductor contribution, 15% contralateral latissimus dorsi contribution, 10% quadriceps contribution, 10% calf/soleus contribution, and 5% contribution from other muscles such as the rhomboids and mid traps.

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Philip Chubb

Awesome quotes Donar! Thanks. I have been kind of neglecting my quads before but now that I have added back some quad work, I will keep up with it better. Thank you again!

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Joshua Naterman

I don't know where the numbers come from, but at the very least the order in which those muscles are listed is about right for sure. I would imagine that if all the muscles were actually in balance that those numbers would be pretty accurate.

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