Case study from The World Sports Science Training Workbook:
How weight training releases the awesome power of ‘plyometric training’
Have you ever watched a top sprinter and realised just how fast they are running? Kim Collins would get a speeding ticket in built-up areas! And what about the slam-dunk in basketball? How on earth do players like Shaquille O'Neal leave planet earth and attain such height? And what of Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell? Unbridled, these rowers would seem to be able to tear their boat apart!
Wherever you look in the world of top-class sport, power counts; and the following case study from The World Sports Science Training Workbook shows one of the best ways to develop this most precious commodity is through
Plyometric exercises develop fast muscle fibre. It’s based on the understanding that a concentric (shortening) muscular contraction is much stronger if it immediately follows an eccentric (lengthening) contraction of the same muscle. It’s a bit like stretching out a coiled spring to its fullest extent and then letting it go: immense levels of energy are released in a split second as the spring recoils.
Plyometric exercises develop this recoil. Muscle fibre stores more elastic energy and transfers more quickly and powerfully from the eccentric to the concentric phase.
Combining weight training with plyometrics
Weight training, used correctly, has a vital role to play in laying the foundations for generating specific sports-related power. Unlike traditional weight training, plyometric drills can closely mimic both the movement pattern and the speed of execution of actual sports performance.
A larger and stronger muscle built up by weight training will be able to generate greater force plyometrically, and strengthened tendons and muscles will be less prone to strains and pulls. Combining weight training with plyometrics is also used for a heightened fast twitch muscle fibre response.
Power workouts for your sport
The World Sports Science Training Workbook module on power workouts gives you quality plyometric drills that replicate the speed and movement patterns of your chosen sport.
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The four stages of plyometric training
At early stages plyometric drills develop low-level power and general sports-specific movement pattern conditioning, as well as specific endurance. You’ll then move on to the next three stages: the main power conditioning phase, the pre-competition phase and up to competition phase.
Once in the competition stage, in power sports the activity itself acts as the prime conditioner: nothing beats a competitive situation for optimum power expression.
Avoiding the wrong kind of weight training
It has long been accepted that weight training can improve performance. Many athletes and coaches get caught up with this ‘bigger is best’ strategy. But, contrary to popular belief, lifting progressively heavier weights does not in itself lead to improved power and speed. In fact the opposite happens -- it can slow you down.
The World Sports Science Training Workbook module on power workouts reveals why weight training so often fails to live up to its promise. We show how to reach your full potential by strengthening movements rather than muscles.
Get it wrong and you’ll find that increased bulk will give you nothing but an additional load to carry around. Get it right, and weight training releases awesome power.
Read on if you’d like to learn how The World Sports Science Training Workbook can help you move up to a higher competitive level.