Plyometric Training: Assessment

Plyometric-Training-Power-Athlete-Katie-HoganPlyometric training is frequently met with strong opposition, especially within high school and CrossFit communities.  Many of these opponents strongly believe that high impact loading of the joints in jumping or other impulsive activities is harmful to the joints. Some might even argue they decrease explosive performance.  Our argument against this goes back to Part 1 and 2 of this series.

How are those athletes executing the jumps?
Is the athlete’s posture or position in their body sacrificed at any point during the training?
In the situation the opposition is viewing, most likely so.

This discussion does not dismiss that there are risks associated with inappropriate or excessive use of plyometric training, but, as is the case with all forms of training, it comes down to the application.  Parts 1 and 2 of our Power Athlete Plyometric Series introduced many concepts and points of performance a strength coach should not only be identifying, but expecting out of their athlete's jumps during training.

The first component to plyometric training is to establish correct alignment in both jumping and landing actions.  The coach’s eye needs to be trained to see proper mechanics before implementing plyometric actions. The assessments discussed below will introduce movements, provide proper execution, as well as the faults to expect to see from many athletes.

Power-Athlete-plyometric-trainingAfter much discussion about the hamstring and hip involvement during plyometrics with our friend down under, Antony “Physio Detective” Lo, we have put together a simple list of beginning assessments every coach needs in their toolbox.  This portion of the series will continue to expand the coach’s eye by introducing basic assessment tools for athletes in 1 on 1 assessment scenarios or group warm up preparation for plyometric training.

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Tex McQuilkin
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Tex McQuilkin

Director of Training at Power Athlete
MS, CSCS, SCCC, CHES
Book a consult with me regarding coaching, training, life, education... anything your heart desires. Click below:
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
Tex McQuilkin
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5 Responses to Plyometric Training: Assessment

  1. @mcquilkin

    great article man! parts 1 and 2 were full of great stuff, but part 3 takes that knowledge and gives us coaches a few extremely digestible tools that I have no shame in stealing and immediately applying to my own athletes.

    Looking forward to parts 4 and 5.

    Nutter

  2. Will part 5 lay out plyo programming and implementation on the larger scale/time frame? annual cycles and beyond?

    Interested to hear your thoughts pertaining to when different aspects of plyo/jump training need to be used in a seasonal athletes annual training program.

    How much adjusting needs to be done to accommodate CNS stress of in-season sports with multiple games a week?

    Not only volume and intensity changes, but movement and exercise selection. If higher stress movements like depth jumps are only done in the “off-season” to keep athletes fresh, can an increase in bio-markers be expected (assuming rest of training/recovery is good) throughout the season? or does it turn into a maintenance type thing? I would be nice to have my guys improve during the year and be at their strongest/fastest towards the end of their season, not spend the season in a steady state of decline. thoughts? or is some drop off in performance inevitable? is it acceptable if on field/court performance doesn’t drop?

    thanks

    Nutter

  3. Or if higher CNS taxing movements are properly manipulated through reps/intensity can they stay in the program all year?

  4. Have to second what @nutter had to say about this one. Love the practical break down of what to look for in basic movements so that you can assess an athlete before getting to dynamic movement. Particularly helpful to get insight into which movement patterns can be attributed to a lack of strength. Will be using lunges and step ups to layer position prior to box jumps the next time they come up in our workouts.

    Awesome article @mcquilkin

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