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Plyometric Progress: Reduction before Production… | Boddicker Performance

Filed under: plyometrics, Running

Plyometric Progress: Reduction before Production…

by on Feb 25th, 2009

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Plyometrics are a good thing…when done right. You see, there was a time in my life that I liked plyometrics so much I’d compose entire hours of training sessions with noting by plyometric drills. I’d hop, I’d bound, I’d hop and spring, I’d jump on boxes, I’d jump off of boxes. I’d sometimes do up to 500 contacts in a session, and often times they were things like high intensity drop jumps and box jumps. I initially improved leaps and bounds (pun absolutely intended), but as quickly as the gains came, they stopped and I didn’t know why. Being the typical distance runner, I instantly thought “more!” but nothing happened. It wasn’t for several years that I would finally realize that I was making a big mistake. You can’t do high volume and high intensity plyometrics and expect to get results. This realization made me make a critical leap in my training–understanding how to progress and regress various fitness qualities over the course of a year and a career.

Runners generally have that concept down with steadily increasing annual volumes and workouts, but when they undertake a plyometric program, they generally start like I did. Far too much volume and far too much complexity. As such, I’ve developed some general rules for the implementation of plyometric training for my athletes.

Phase 1: Reduction before Production…

Let’s take the example of a sports car. Would you soup it up to 500 horse power on stock brakes? I know some who would, but they are bigger thrill seekers than I. I mean, it’d be awfully fun to go 0-200mph in 3 seconds at a green light, but I’d like to be able to stop for the next red light. In plyometrics, this is the equivalent of a neophyte doing high depth jumps before learning to reduce forces with easier jumps and landings. So, phase one it is critical to emphasize how to reduce the force of gravity and land without unnecessary stresses (and potential injuries).

The exercises we generally employ in this time period include jumps and and hops to boxes. This allows the athlete to produce a little bit of force and only to have to combat gravity to a smaller degree than if he were to jump and land in the same spot. Athletes are instructed to land softly, with dorsiflexed ankles, flexed hips and knees. Upon contact there should be very little downward motion, meaning the athletes should immediately be able to put on the brakes and resist gravity. We may also use some lower intensity and low volumes of hop-scotch and jump-roping varieties as well, but nothing too extreme.

That’s it for Phase 1. Lesson learned: it is essential to be able to reduce force before you can produce it well. We’ll get to the next phase soon.

Best regards,

Carson Boddicker

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