Monday Motivation (Week 21): Plyometric Progressions
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! We are going to get into plyometric progressions today and a starting point that everyone can begin with. Plyometric work is the quickness and the power that transcends athletes and general population clients to be able to get past plateaus in their exercise programs. With power comes very large force production; we need to be able to control that force production when it’s on its way back aka landing and eccentric strength. I mentioned it previously, we all love to jump but not everyone is good at landing.
Plyometric work can be done every day, just don’t be repeating the same exercises you did the day before. We have the frontal, sagittal and transverse plane to work with; use them all as sports do. With basketball offseason finishing up and the season about to start up, we are going to be focusing a lot on plyometric work and power as the season starts and goes till March. Its all about not losing any strength that the players gained in the offseason and trying to keep what strength they have on them. Not a lot of time put in but power and plyometrics will help conserve that strength.
Phase 1 of plyometric work begins with jumping or hopping up on a box. We don’t have the effects of gravity and it lowers the number of eccentric forces required. The cue I use is to “land like an assassin”. We want to land very soft and quite while also having the strength to stop on a dime and control our body with the landing. We jump forward but we can hop forward, medially and laterally.
Phase 2 of plyometric work we will take away the box and now have them jump over hurdles. With hurdles, we now take gravity into effect as it pulls us down as we are jumping up. This takes more strength in the eccentric landing mechanics. If the quality decreases with the addition of gravity, strength is an issue and we should proceed to go back to phase 1. We need a lot of core stability to help us control these landings. We need to land in place, we can not let our body fall forward when landing, again this shows strength being an issue. When we land and are upper body starts falling forward that is putting our back into flexion where its rounded like a fishing rod. Anti- flexion exercises will help us improve this core stability and stiffness we want when it comes to our core/back functioning during movements.
Phase 3 of plyometric work we will do the same exercises in phase 2 but now add a bounce into the exercises. So one example would be to jump over a hurdle, land properly and then jump up again with a smooth and soft landing. Once we are able to prove we can produce power through the floor, land properly coming back to the floor and then produce that power again quickly with proper landing we are ready to get into the plyometric work that everyone probably sees on Instagram and social media of people doing crazy different jumps and hops in all different directions.
Phase 4 of plyometric work is that of change of direction, acceleration, and deceleration. In regards to basketball, they go from a sprint to stop to sprint almost the whole game. We program their conditioning to mimic those actions. This is where you will see different variations of ladder work to lateral shuffles into sweat jumps and sprints- stopping and changing direction.
The most important part of plyometric work is not advancing in each phase too quickly, its probably the hardest thing as well. We all want to get to the exercises that are fun and super challenging to get through. If we don’t have perfect form though and execute each phase perfectly before advancing, its all for nothing. Especially in the high school level, it’s not about how much weight you can lift, it’s about how good your form is. The person that has better power through their foot on the ground when running will be the faster individual at the end of their high school career. The one that has better squatting form as a freshman but may not be able to lift as much as others with poor form at this moment will be the stronger individual in a couple of years and more importantly will be able to move a hell of a lot better in their respected sport. Focus on your form and that will take you to the promised land.
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In Good Health Always,
Sean Maloney and the ToneUp Club Team.