COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: Plyometrics' secret gem
Editorís note: Adam Rees is founder of GRIT GYM, a gym based on results, creating a culture and lifestyle of performance, strength, health and freedom to live life on your own terms. Rees attended Wartburg, worked under nationally recognized strength coach Matt McGettigan at ISU and is generally a glutton for information and improvement in all forms.
By Adam Rees, community contributor
The basics of strength and conditioning come down to one formula. Everything else is built around this.
Force equals mass and acceleration.
The more force we can produce the faster we run, higher we jump and stronger we will be.
We can do this two ways ó increase mass (resistance training like squats and dead lifts) 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.
However what is being missed in the plyometric world ó the hidden gem ó 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 weíre learning how to absorb force properly, which decreases injuries, allows for quicker transitions with less energy as well as to better change levels. (Almost all traumatic injuries occur during deceleration. Look at ACL tears, itís almost always during the landing after a jump.)
Landing is the fastest part of the movement. Itís where our body will develop the most force. Therefore itís where we get the most out of the exercise. Itís also the most stressful and why itís pivotal to progress athletes correctly with 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, itís not in the initial jump.
During a box jump, weíre raising where weíll land in order to learn to land with babysteps (less force to absorb). As we progress the box should actually get shorter rather than taller.
Weíre jumping as high as we can regardless, the landing will become more difficult as the box gets lower to the ground because the body will be traveling further. More time in the air means more acceleration, which means more force to be absorbed.
Loading up boxes to ridiculous heights isnít training, itís entertainment, a circus act. Itíd be similar to a fighter throwing a punch harder when five feet away than one foot away.
Not only is this dangerous and silly, but itís also of little to no value to an athleteís training. Anyone can do this stuff, it does not aide performance.
My best cue for jumping is to do so like a ninja.
Jump as high as you can regardless and Land with no noise in athletic position ready to move.Check www.GRITGYM.com/resources and adamrees.blogspot.com for more on this story and others. Email Rees at firstname.lastname@example.org