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Plyometrics are held up as the Holy Grail of vertical jump and speed training. In this new article we'll cover some new drills and ideas to get you to the top of the rim minus the "grail". You are sure to see some new drills that you will find useful at enhancing your athletic abilities.
Improve Strength To Weight Ratios
Sounds like a simple idea but there's been a scare going around that lifting weights will slow you down. I want to touch on a few things here real quickly. First of all if you are a high school athlete and even college level training to improve leaping, you're probably still too weak and need strength training to augment the plyos.
There are a lot of theories and half-baked ideas about what might improve your jumping & running abilities out there, I know I've read them. The truth it seems is that many just don't really know exactly what it takes.
Lets put the baking aside and look at this from a purely logical standpoint. Go sit in a swing and kick yourself off the nearest pole as hard as you can and see how far you can travel in the swing. Probably significantly higher than what your vertical jump measures right? What changed? Sitting in the swing reduced your body weight, thus changing the ratio. Case closed!
If that's not enough go find out what Fred (Dr. Squat) Hatfield's vertical measures with his 1000 pounds squatting ability. You need to make a goal of a 3-to-1 strength ratio, then lifting weights can be considered too silly for you.
Next is what strength exercises should you do? Here again I find a lot of so-called experts with letters after their names spouting non-sense like hang cleans, high pulls, and a half-dozen other complicated olympic lifts because that's all they know to say. Let me dispel this real quick too, then well move on.
Are you in the sport of basketball (replace with your desired sport) or are you in the sport of olympic lifting and going to take all your training time to master new complicated lifts? I didn't think so. So what you need to do is squat heavy and fast. Keep the reps less than 5, you can do simple deadlifts as well but you don't have to get carried away doing clean and jerks right now.
A client of mine asked me to review this amateur program as I so often am asked do & tell him what I thought of it. It was all the run of the muck non-sense save for a couple drills that I found would deliver superior results.
Start adding 2 times a week 3 sets of 10 squat jumps out of chest high water for some results out of the water! The genius of this is 2-fold.
Jumping out of the water is a perfect acceleration drill because the resistance decreases as you come higher out of the water. This alone will do wonders for your hops! This is non-plyometric because there is no real stretch reflex action. Plus an added bonus is no stress on the joints so injury/rehab patients can perform them as well.
The "Reactive" Viking Throw
The Viking throw is one I developed to build upperbody power and helped me get the ability to slam down a 12 and even 15 pound medicine ball. Typically medicine ball throws are regarded as plyometrics because they are great power builders but most tosses I've seen or heard of aren't truly plyometrics. They actually fit into a class of "max power output training".
I'm going to show you how to make the throws plyometric and thereby much more effective. The Viking throw is a simple granny toss motion, where you take the appropriate weight med-ball lowered between your legs and hurl it as fast and forceful as possible behind your head.
My reactive version consists of doing this: Flip the ball up into the air slightly higher than your head, catch it slightly higher than the navel but as soon as it hits your hands an immediate turn around of force needs to take place. This is the catch/react idea that makes this a power medicine ball method that will give you upperbody vertical boosting ability. Do 1-2 sets of 10 reps!
The Unloading Jump
At first glance this jumping drill may sound similar to D.B. Hammers "AMT Jump" so some insight is needed. I agree with many of D.B.'s ideas. They are innovative, but the AMT is truly plyometric using bands to magnify the gravity effect.
This next drill that I will describe works in a completely different way, utilizing the fact that if you overload the eccentric's muscle contractions, you can create a more powerful concentric contraction which in this case will be a jump!
To do this unloading jump all you need is a pair of 10-pound dumbells, step up to the rim to do a counter movement jump, at the peak of your crouch, just before you'd take off, drop the weights and blast upward. Do one set of 5-10 reps and you'll reap nice rewards!
I was recently reading an article about some studies done by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm that just confirmed something I've believed for a long time. This is a fact that people will still have a hard time swallowing. That is that you can convert slow twitch type 1 muscle fiber to type 2's.
Studies suggest that heavy weight training coupled with high intensity anaerobics have the highest conversions. There is also strong evidence that elevated thyroid hormone will cause increased fast-twitch conversion. This explains clenbuterol's reports of increasing type 2 muscle levels as it causes elevated body temperatures.
More fast-twitch fibers means more explosive power, so It could pay off measurably to take supplements that improve natural thyroid production.
There's my latest ideas fresh from the oven, hope you will give them a try and email me. I love hearing success stories!
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