Monday, August 12, 2013

Training Idea's You'ver Never Heard Of Part 7 - How the Fast Get Faster

In my previous post we looked at force absorption and the positive implications it can have on improving performance because after all, the more force you can absorb, the more force you can put out.

In this post you can see that not only do you need to be able to absorb great force, but you must also be able to absorb it quickly.

Introducing overspeed eccentrics.

I'll use basketball as an example here because it's more practical but if we're both going for a rebound and go into our jumps at the same time, if I can get down into the eccentric portion of my jump, stabilise and get off the ground quicker then you, then it doesn't matter if you can jump higher then me because while I have rebounded the ball you're still on the ground.

The video below shows how we can implement this using swings which it suits better then most exercises because it's already explosive in nature.

The first exercise just shows a regular swing which puts a hard stretch on the hamstrings already so until you've mastered these, don't move to the more overspeed methods as you won't be able to stabilise the weight properly.

The second exercise is a band assisted swing which is looped under my feet which pulls the weight down making the eccentric faster and harder to control.

The third exercise is a partner assisted swing where they push down on the weight at the top of the swing again increasing the eccentric descent of the weight.

You'd want to use about 40 - 50% of your swing 5 rep max weight for the weight and do 3 - 4 x 5 - 8 reps after your warm up but before your main exercise (squats, deadlifts etc).

Overspeed eccentrics can be used for the upper body but you'll need some weight releases which are really only in actual powerlifting gyms. I don't have one so I've left them out and might get post something about them later.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Training Idea's You've Never Heard Of Part 6 - Force Absorption

I've been light on posts lately from extreme busyness but I'll wrap up these last parts of this series by next week.

We should be aware from this post that there are 3 main contraction types during a given exercise:

Eccentric - muscle lengthens

Isometric - muscle stays the same length

Concentric - muscle shortens

So during a squat action lowering down is the eccentric, the bottom position is the isometric (regardless of how fast you go there is an always an isometric contraction) and the "lifting' part is the concentric.

From a performance standpoint which is also touched on in the link above it can also be regarded as this:

Force Absorption - eccentric

Force Output - concentric

Now when thinking in force absorption and output terms the easiest way to do so is to think of the muscles and tendons as a rubber band, a big thick rubber band. A bigger and thicker rubber band can store more force when it is pulled back which results in greater force being released once you let go of it.

99.9% of athletes will almost exclusively try to improve their concentric strength and/or output through concentric training means only, resulting in plateau after plateau.

The big mistake here is that your concentric strength relies greatly on your eccentric strength because the more you force you can absorb, the you'll far greater potential to put force out.

In the video I demonstrate a few ways you can go about improving your eccentric strength.

The first exercise is just your basic back squat performed with a slow eccentric contraction over 5 - 6 seconds. You shouldn't need anymore then 4 - 12 total reps of these per session using a load from anything from 60 - 90% of your max. Obviously the heavier you go up in load then less reps you'll need.

Eccentric squats were a big part of the Triphasic Training program I ran with from September 2012 to June 2013 and they really teach you to stay tight through the core which adds plenty of pounds to all of your lifts.

These are best programmed in an eccentric block like they are in Triphasic and don't worry, you won't get weaker from not doing traditional squats.

Make sure you set those pins up correctly too!!

The second exercise is a depth drop or altitude landing which is now transferring the eccentric squat into actual performance - in this case jumping. Stand on a bench and actually step off it, don't jump off it and try to stick the landing as 'fast" as you can. Sticking it fast means that if your initial landing has a knee bend of 25 degrees then it should stay that way. If you can't stick the landing with the knee bend you initially land with then the drop height is too high.

Starting at a 12 inch box height progress to a height that is equal or slightly higher then your tested vertical jump. These can be very demanding on the nervous system so again your best served to perform these in a specific power block for 3 to 4 weeks before taking them out for the next 6 - 8 weeks.

The third exercise is called a drop squat and looks similar to the depth drop but is a lot different. What you're aiming to do is to drop your hips into the squat but pull your thighs upwards and then push them into the ground. They can be done with some external load but you'll definitely need to master these before adding weight of any kind. These aren't as demanding as depth drops so they can used at anytime for either a nervous system neural charge exercise, or a plyometric type exercise.

The depth drop and drop squat exercises also train a bit of stiffness and forefoot action too!!

I'm feverishly putting together this years pre season training program with the possibility of running a training camp in the studio. If you're interested in either then let me know via the Facebook page.