Plyometrics, commonly used by Westsiders to develop explosive and absolute strength, were invented by Dr. Verkhoshansky. However, Verkhoshansky used the term, “shock training.” Shock training covered many forms of training with resistance.
Before one begins to do depth jumps, the athlete must have a high level of strength and a high degree of G.P.P. (general physical preparedness). For well-conditioned athletes, 4 sets of 10 jumps are optimal, while 3 sets of 8 jumps are better for a less conditioned athlete. To build explosive power, a drop of 30″ to 36″ works best. The amortization phase is short (.2 of a second). To build absolute strength, much higher boxes (42″ to 52″) should be used, which will result in a much longer amortization phase. It’s the same type of situation when completing a reversal phase from eccentric to concentric. As weights grow heavier, the time between switching becomes slower.
There are many forms of plyometrics, such as bounding and jumping down to a surface, then up to a second box. To building generic jumping skills, jump up and down on every height box. To build concentric strength, jump from lower to higher boxes; for eccentric strength, jump from higher to lower boxes. Again, the amortization phase must be short (.2 seconds is recommended).
For the upper body, drop down into pushups, or catch a medicine ball and immediately throw it back to a rebounder or training partner. Bounding over hurdles or a box is a good option, while jumping rope is also a very simple plyometric exercise. Always warm up the muscles used prior to the workout.
Let’s take a look at some additional forms of shock training:
The idea here is that you are lowering a weight that is 20% over your best squat, bench, or pull. Olympic lifters would use slow eccentric to build the squat, because of a regular full squat after catching a clean. They fall into the bottom, and bounce up. For building concentric speed, use weight releasers with a combination of weight on the bar (60% on the bar, and 20% on the weight releasers). After lowering a total of 80% of your 1RM in this combination, the 20% on the weight releasers will come off the bar, leaving you to push up against the remaining 60% as you work explosive strength.
This system utilizes the technique of strong electrical stimulation, which ultimately causes a stronger muscular contraction than an athlete can produce by themselves.
RESTRICTED RANGE MAXIMUM
This is power rack work where one can lift a heavier weigh than in full range movements. High pin lockouts for the bench are very common. Quarter (1/4) squats with more than your best squat, or rack pulls from above the knees, as well as the standing press, can also be utilized. It is recommended that Olympic weightlifters never use more than 5% above their best snatch or clean. Following a similar guideline, never exceed 10% above your best powerlifts. Example: a 600 lb. deadlifter should never pull more that 660 (10% more than you can pull off the floor).
Of course, this is one of my favorites. By using chains, it can make the top of many lifts much heavier than the bottom. Once can use anywhere from 40 lbs. of chain, up to 400 lbs. of chain if desired. Not only can chains cause an over-speed eccentric effect, but by using strong bands, the lifter can experience over-speed eccentrics as well. That’s a strong concentric phase by building a strong reversal effect, by using 25% band tension of your 1RM for speed strength (roughly .8 meters per second). For strength-speed (or slow speed), the tension must exceed the bar weight. Weight releasers fall into this category as well.
Here, one can assist his training partner in helping execute a few more full range lifts than would be possible otherwise.
SUPER MAXIMAL METHOD
Here again, bands can be used to add weight to the bar above your all-time max with just bar weight. So as you can see, there are many shock methods to rotate. They should be used on max effort day, and rotated each week for best results. When training with weight at 90% or higher for 3 weeks, you will have a negative training results. The Westside system for max effort rotates a barbell lift each week; four to eight should be cycled through. Pick ones that work best for making YOU stronger, while always keeping in mind this may not be the one you like best.
Shock training is not for novices. Along with isometrics, here are some helpful tips:
•- use a wide variety of bars, for the bench, squat, deadlift, clean, snatch, and jerk
•- changing the band tension, or the amount of chain weight placed on the bar
•- remember the shock methods are performed on max effort day; 72 hours later, the speed strength or explosive strength must be performed for best results
•- complete 3 or 4 special exercises after, for the muscles with the most potential
I hope you understand the term “shock training method” better now; read Supertraining, by Mel Siff for further information.