The week of January 7th started a new jump and acceleration program for all of my athletes that play a spring a sport. I felt that it was time to shake things up from our normal flow of plyometric and speed and agility training. This new system of plyometric and speed training is modified version of the Xtreme Jumpsole program that myself and my business partner used religiously in the early years of my business. I credit that program for getting me the fastest I have ever been in all directions during my years of semi - pro football. However, years of research brought me to the realization that the original program had a few flaws:
1. It had an extreme amount of volume and would take too long in my current training schedule
2. It did not have progressions that were appropriate for beginner and intermediate level athletes.
3. There was not enough rest between sets of very intense jumping exercises.
4. Jumpsoles really were not necessary.
After a few weeks of tinkering and testing the program on myself, I was confident that I had a program that would address some of the concepts that most of my athletes really needed to work on. Here are some highlights of what the program entails:
1. 3 levels, 2 different workouts - Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. This allows us to prescribe the right plyometric progressions for the right levels of athletes. There is also 1 day dedicated to linear plyometrics and acceleration and 1 day dedicated to lateral plyometrics and acceleration.
2. Our Intermediate and Advanced clients would be introduced to transitional plyometrics. These are a combination of very quick hops and explosive tuck jumps. I felt that a lot of our plyometric exercises had gone stale and this was a great way to shake things up. Plus I noticed that a lot of my athletes were not very explosive when asked to jump after some kind of athletic movement.
3. Acceleration -After watching my athletes sprint and push sleds for the last few weeks, I knew that we needed some specific technique work on sprinting and accelerating out of different positions. A lot of my athletes were making one or more of the following errors when sprinting: not picking feet up high enough, poor arm mechanics, not putting enough force into the ground and accelerating at a bad angle. After the plyometric training, the main focus become acceleration drills. On the linear day, the athletes perform drills such as high knees and butt kicks for 5 yards then accelerate into a 10 yard sprint. On the later day, athletes transition from shuffles and crossovers into sprints.
Week 1 flowed very well. The progressions of plyometrics in all 3 levels timed up well so that all athletes were ready for the acceleration portion at the same time. However, there was one aspect of the training that I was not satisfied with at the end of the week. Even though the majority of athletes were doing a great job on the high knees and other form drills, they were not changing their angle of force production when it came time to accelerate. Basically, they were staying in high knees (vertical shin) instead of punching their knees forward and driving back into the ground (shin angled).
Here is a drill that I came up to help my athletes learn the angle of force production that I am looking for when they accelerate. At the start, it might look like something out of a Jane Fonda video, but oh well, it grooves a good pattern if they do it right.
As always, our athletes hit the weights after the speed and plyo portion of the workout.