Written by, Coach Conan Dje
Benefits of Weights and Plyometrics
Recent research has shown that having athletes combine weights and plyometrics has been shown to improve strength and power that can be transferred into the sport. This is because fast-twitch muscle fibers tend to be more responsive when training explosively with weights and plyometrics. In other words, they are fired up for action on the court, field, or track. There are a few methods to get the best benefits which are listed below
When training it is very important to build strength in movements that you will actually use. For example, weighted cable kickbacks and bounds use movements similar in sprinting and jumping, and they would be great for a track athlete. Squats, depth jumps and box jumps would be great for developing vertical jump for a basketball or volleyball player. And rotational medicine ball throws would be excellent for a tennis players’ serve. When planning your training, aim for lifts and plyometrics with movements related to your specific sport.
Lifting heavier weights help to train strength and force production. Explosively lifting light weights trains muscle power. You need both to perform at your best as an athlete. Strength will help you to produce force, and power will help you to produce that force QUICKLY. When lifting weights, you want to lift explosively as you can with PROPER FORM. I typically prefer to have athletes focus on heavier lifts earlier in the season to develop basic strength, and as the season approaches I would progress to lighter, more explosive lifts. Remember to know your body, consult a professional if you can, and lift safe!!
In order for your body to improve you MUST recover. When training for strength and power, you NEED proper rest between sets. According to NSCA ( National Strength and Conditioning Association), It is best to aim for a 1 to 12 ratio for training maximum power. For example, if you run a 12 second maximum sprint, you should completely rest for at LEAST 144 seconds ( 12x12). This is important so that the fast twitch muscle fibers and the energy system have time to reload. You should be able to give your maximum effort each time when your exercise goal is to gain explosive power. Recovery time also applies to outside of the gym. This includes proper sleep, nutrition, and time between workout sessions. Carefully planning high, medium and low intensity days is crucial to achieving proper recovery time.
Assisted plyometrics have been shown to be extremely effective at increasing the potential to create max force at max speed. This works by introducing the neuromuscular system to move at faster speeds than normal. I would use this with advanced athletes during a specific training phase. Examples of assisted plyometrics include sprints down a hill with a SLIGHT slope, assisted vertical jumps with bounds, and sprints while being towed at a speed faster than normal. This is also known as overspeed training and should be used with advanced athletes in a specific training phase.
As with any exercise program, you should progressively increase the intensity as your body adapts. Any soreness and pain should be monitored and it is best to consult a professional before starting any exercise program. Gradually increasing the intensity is key to keeping you safe and maximizing your results!!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and good luck with your training!!