Training Elasticity (Reactivity)

Being “elastic” or “reactive” refers to being able to have a good ability to quickly develop force and transfer one movement’s energy into another. The reactive strength index (RSI) is one of the most commonly used field tests for assessing these qualities. The RSI is the jump height of the movement divided by ground contact time. In other words, the higher you jump and faster you get off the ground the better your RSI will be.

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Contrast Training (Power)

Contrast training is widely used by many coaches to help with power development. It involves the usage of several exercises in series to facilitate the potentiation of the nervous system and muscular system.

In the book Special Strength Training: Manual For Coaches, written by Yuri and Natalia Verkhoshansky, it is noted that contrast training is used to help with developing more efficient motor-engrams (movement patterns). This is why the desired movement is performed last. Theoretically, the previous movements that were performed in the series were different variations of the primary desired movement. This puts the body in a “problem solving” state and teaches it to perform  the primary movement (when done last) in a more efficient way. This is what I would call a “specific” contrast.
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Banded Squat Drop Catch Progression (Why)

The drop-catch method was detailed in one of my previous posts (click here). It is a method that utilizes higher velocity loading schemes and less weight on the barbell to provide an overload stimulus to the athlete. It is centered around the idea of having to rapidly absorb a high(er) eccentric velocity loads over a shorter period of time and over a smaller range of motion.

The Banded Squat Drop

The banded squat drop can be used in the squat drop progression. Obviously, the banded version would come after the body weight and barbell versions, but the methods of application are the same.

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Building A Robust Athlete

(my interpretation)

  1. “One which uses strength training to raise force production of the muscles as far as possible in hope that the submaximal (‘good enough’) level, as well as the robustness of the movement, will increase together with the maximal level. The maximal level raises the submaximal level along with it, as it were.”

  2. “One which primarily seeks to increase the robustness of the movement, so that the ‘good enough’ level then shifts towards maximal level without the maximal level needing to rise”

Quotes from- Frans Bosch (2010) Strength Training and Coordination: An Integrative Approach

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Relax/Drop-Catch Exercises

I have heard these exercises called a couple of different names (drop catch/relax catch) and to be quite honest,  I think either one works. I am not quite sure who came up them, but I have seen them in being used by many successful coaches. For the sake of consistency, in this article I am going to refer to them as drop-catch exercises

What Are They?

Drop-catch exercises involve starting at the top of position of the movement, letting yourself relax and then catching your self at the bottom before exploding back up. I believe Cal Dietz and Joel Smith have written articles on how to perform these. Each person probably has their own specific method of teaching the movements, (some prefer to actively pull yourself to the bottom while some say just relax and fall) and I assume you can find their teachings at their respective websites. However, this article isn’t made to talk about the technique and form of the movement, but instead the principles behind the movement.

Below is an example of a drop catch performed by AFL

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Bands versus Chains

Accommodating resistance is widely used in strength training (for more detail on accommodating resistance click here). However, not all accommodating resistances used (bands versus chains) will result in the same stimulus. Both bands and chains accomplish a similar goals (add resistance throughout the movement), but their influence on the kinematics of the movement are different.

Why use accommodating resistance (Short Answer)

Accommodating resistance can increase the time force is applied during a movement (increases time of acceleration) and total power of a movement (1). Accommodating resistance adds load to the bar as the athlete moves through the range of the motion of the movement, increasing from the bottom to the top. It does not make all movements “better”. However, when used properly it can add a unique stimulus to the athlete’s training.

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Power Training (Methods)

Training for power is a simple, straight forward concept. In order to optimize your power training, you need to take advantage of both the velocity of the movement and the load of bar.

Power = Force (load) x Velocity

In order to make sure both of these qualities (force and velocity) are met, we need to make sure we use a training setup that optimizes our ability to maintain the velocity and load throughout the training session.

Below will be a series of methods you can use to optimize power in your during your training.

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Stretch Shortening Cycle

 

The stretch shortening cycle (SSC) is the physiological mechanism involving an eccentric muscular and tissue stretch, followed by an amplified concentric contraction. There are several physiological properties that play a role in the SSC. There is the muscle spindle (wants to speed up contraction), the Golgi Tendon (wants to slow down contraction), the muscular pre-stretch (puts muscles in better length for contraction forces and increases tension), there is an increase in neural output, neural facilitation, and many more possible unexplored physiological mechanisms (fascia, tendons, proprioception, intra-fiber proteins, intramuscular timing etc…)

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