Plyometric Training: Preparation

Power-Athlete-Plyos-TrainingThe Power Athlete Plyometric Series has been steadily progressing and building a solid foundation for plyometric program implementation.  We have focused on reverse engineering a jump from the landing up and developing the coach’s eye in preparation for athlete assessment into eventual plyo program application.  As we work closer to plyometric program development, we must now introduce the components of plyometric training: classical plyometric exercises, supplementary plyometric exercises and preparatory drills for plyometrics.

Classical plyometric exercises are broken up into functional and non-functional. Functional activities are matched as closely as possible to the specific explosive actions of the particular sport trained for with respect to muscle involvement, movement patterns, direction of motion and timing.  Think of these as a wide receiver jumping to the height or distance of the football after designed routes, or a triple jumper practicing their bound steps of their take off.

Non-functional plyometrics are exercises most of us are familiar with, they offer general training of the explosive qualities required by sport.  Examples of these include consecutive broad jumps or single leg bounds for field sport athletes.

Supplementary and preparatory drills consist of weight training exercises to develop sufficient muscular strength, especially eccentric strength, and connective tissue strength and elasticity to handle the forces involved.  These also include varieties of jumping, throwing and landing drills with longer duration and transition phases many of you are familiar with in the Field Strong program.

Power-Athlete-Plyometric-DrillsUnderstanding these components, we introduce an issue we've seen with the application of plyometric training: Overtraining.

Overtraining is entirely controllable and may be avoided if recognized that it is produced in two ways; overload and overuse.  Overload is the an instant of too great a force or too large a load.  Overuse is the application of too great a volume of an exercise without sufficient recovery.  The imposition of either large masses or large accelerations can lead to rapid failure of any bio-mechanical system in the human body, so overtraining needs to be understood by a strength coach in order to effectively prepare an athlete.

The purpose of this article is to introduce preparatory movements that will correct limiting factors identified in the assessment, prepare muscles for eccentric loading, and introduce connective tissue to lower, more controlled levels of force.  Integration of the following movements into warm ups allows for the necessary application of gradual, progressive stress with competency of execution.

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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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3 Responses to Plyometric Training: Preparation

  1. This Plyo-Series is awesome. I am always hungry for the next article to digest.

    I am going to use these drills to assess my athletes in the first place and not throw them into cold water by making them jump right away. Also I think it is a great way for advanced athletes to reevaluate their own movement patterns.

    Would you recommend doing those step-up drills barefoot like shown in one of the videos?

    Thanks and keep it up!

    • @haenzn,
      Appreciate the feedback! We haven’t found much out there on beginner and developmental plyo programs, so we are building our own.

      If you’re using the Quarter Step Ups as an assessment tool, I recommend going barefoot for two reasons:
      1) This movement needs to be a pull. A barefoot athlete can grip the box and dig there heel into it, pulling their hips over that foot.
      2) You want to assess what their arch is doing, and a barefoot makes it clear what is happening. Go back and check out the Arch Development article for more on this. Strong Arch = Safe Knee.

  2. Pingback: Tuesday, 11.11.14 | Crossfit South Bend Strength & Conditioning

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